I cannot think of a better Christmas gift to give the young reader in your family than The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe—included on Time magazine’s list of the 100 Best Young-Adult Books of all time. Set in the fantasy land of Narnia, it is a classic battle of good versus evil, a place where it is always winter and never Christmas. For 100 years Narnia has been in the icy grip of the White Witch, a deadly antagonist who waves her wand and turns subjects into stone. One of the most memorable characters in all of children’s literature is Aslan, the majestic lion who is king of Narnia and on a noble mission to regain his rightful kingdom.
C.S. Lewis brilliantly weaves a thrilling adventure story with Christian themes. Although this was his first children’s book (he had no children of his own), he intuitively knew that you grab a young reader’s attention by making children the heroes. His protagonists are the four Pevensie children, evacuated from their home during the German blitz bombing of London during World War II. They are sent to live in a country estate owned by a kindly professor. One rainy day, the children play hide and seek. Lucy, the youngest, hides in a wardrobe closet that magically opens up to the strange world of Narnia—a world of talking beavers, mythological creatures, and murderous dwarves.
I have always been intrigued by Lucy’s brother Edmund whose actions exemplify the slippery slope of sin. His small lies turn to big lies and ultimately into outright betrayal of his siblings, putting them in grave danger at the hands of the White Witch. His obsession with the sweet confection Turkish Delight, supplied by the witch, accurately portrays the allurement of sin.
I was fascinated with C.S. Lewis’ description of the writing process.
At first, I had very little idea how the story would go. But then Aslan came bounding into it…I don’t know where the Lion came from or why he came. But once he was there, he pulled the whole story together.
How grateful we are that Aslan bounded into the imagination of a gifted writer. Aslan, who gave his life to ransom Edmund the betrayer, is stabbed to death by the White Witch and resurrects the next morning, ultimately leading the epic battle against the forces of evil. Aslan is the most powerful Christ-figure in all of children’s literature.
Definitely add The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe to your bookshelf. I also recommend the movie version entitled Narnia (2005). Filmed in New Zealand, it accurately presents the story, complete with dramatic scenes of towering cliffs, snowy woods, and ice-covered rivers—all adding to this classic story.