C. S. Lewis’s first fantasy starts simply enough. Before page one ends, four English children have escaped their 1940s air-raids and arrived in an old country manor. There the youngest girl, Lucy Pevensie, discovers a mysterious wardrobe leading to a frozen fairy-land. Soon her sister and brothers join her adventure to fulfill ancient prophecy and save all Narnia from the White Witch, aided by the messianic great Lion, Aslan. To be sure, spiritual themes more than season this story. Lewis himself said The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is not allegory, but a “supposal” of Christ’s potential actions ruling a world of magic and talking beasts. New and returning readers of all ages would do well to seek deeper magic within this faithful classic.1
Best for: Fans eight and up for personal reading, slightly younger for reading aloud.
Discern: Mythical beasts who serve a Christ-like lion, Faun threatens to kidnap child yet repents, villain turns heroes to stone, child betrays siblings and is imprisoned before his redemption, hero sacrifices himself to villain (with discussion about her being “the Emperor’s hangman”), summaries of evil creatures and battles.