So, I had every intention of posting another “childrens book” review today, but after a trip to the bookstore I changed my mind. “Why?” you ask. Good question. While waiting in line to purchase MY books I happened to overhear a conversation between another customer and the sales clerk.
Lady: “Ok, I’m trying to purchase the whole Narnia series for my kid, but I don’t know what the first one is. Can you help?”
Clerk: “Um….” *looks around dumbfounded* “The Lighting Thief?”
Me: *gives clerk horrified look.*
Clerk: *looks around in a panic…pretends to type on computer.*
Lady: “No, I’m pretty sure that’s not C.S. Lewis.”
Me: *sighs* “Ma’am, the book you’re looking for is “The Magician’s Nephew” He actually wrote it AFTER “Wardrobe” but it’s a prequel.”
Lady: “Oh, do you work here?”
Me: “No, but *glares at clerk* I think people that work in a bookstore should at least know THAT answer. Hope your kid likes it.”
Clerk: *glares at me* “I knew that!”
Lady: “Sure you did.”
Anyways…this conversation got me thinking. Maybe I’m 1) being a tad judgmental when it comes to store clerks. 2) there are probably tons more parents in the world that don’t know the order of this wonderful series. So I’ve decided to take it upon myself to introduce you to them. But first… a little about the series.
The Chronicles of Narnia
The Chronicles of Narnia is a series of seven fantasy novels and is considered a classic of children’s literature. Written between 1949 and 1954 and illustrated by Pauline Baynes, the series is Lewis’s most popular work, having sold over 100 million copies in 41 languages. It has been adapted several times, complete or in part, for radio, television, stage and cinema.
The seven books that make up The Chronicles of Narnia are presented here in order of original publication date:
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950)
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe tells the story of four ordinary children: Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie, who have been evacuated to the English countryside from London in 1940 following the outbreak of World War II. They discover a wardrobe in Professor Digory Kirke‘s house that leads to the magical land of Narnia. The Pevensie children help Aslan, a talking lion, save Narnia from the evil White Witch, who has reigned over the land of Narnia for a century of perpetual winter. The children become kings and queens of this new-found land and establish the Golden Age of Narnia, leaving a legacy to be rediscovered in later books.
Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia (1951)
Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia tells the story of the Pevensie children’s second trip to Narnia. They are drawn back by the power of Susan’s horn, blown by Prince Caspian to summon help in his hour of need. Narnia, as they knew it, is no more, as more than 1,000 years have passed and their castle is in ruins, while all Narnians have retreated so far within themselves that only Aslan’s magic can wake them. Caspian has fled into the woods to escape his uncle, Miraz, who has usurped the throne. The children set out once again to save Narnia.
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1952)
The Voyage of the ‘Dawn Treader’ sees Edmund and Lucy Pevensie, along with their priggish cousin, Eustace Scrubb, return to Narnia. Once there, they join Caspian’s voyage on the ship Dawn Treader to find the seven lords who were banished when Miraz took over the throne. This perilous journey brings them face to face with many wonders and dangers as they sail toward Aslan’s country at the edge of the world.
The Silver Chair (1953)
The Silver Chair is the first Narnia book without the Pevensie children. Instead, Aslan calls Eustace back to Narnia together with his classmate Jill Pole.
Eustace and Jill, with the help of Puddleglum the Marsh-wiggle, face danger and betrayal on their quest to find Rilian.There they are given four signs to aid in the search for Prince Rilian, Caspian’s son, who disappeared after setting out ten years earlier to avenge his mother’s death. 50 years have passed in Narnia and Caspian, who was barely an adult in the Voyage of the Dawn Treader, is now an old man, while Eustace is still a child.
The Horse and His Boy (1954)
The Horse and His Boy was published on 6 September 1954. The story takes place during the reign of the Pevensies in Narnia, an era which begins and ends in the last chapter ofThe Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. A talking horse called Bree and a young boy named Shasta, both of whom are in bondage in the country of Calormen, are the protagonists. By chance, they meet and plan their return to Narnia and freedom. Along the way they meet Aravis and her talking horse Hwin who are also fleeing to Narnia.
The Magician’s Nephew (1955)
The prequel The Magician’s Nephew brings the reader back to the origins of Narnia where we learn how Aslan created the world and how evil first entered it. Digory Kirke and his friend Polly Plummer stumble into different worlds by experimenting with magic rings made by Digory’s uncle. They encounter Jadis (The White Witch) in the dying world of Charn, and witness the creation of Narnia. Many long-standing questions about the world are answered as a result. The story was set in 1900, when Digory was a 12-year-old boy. He is a middle-aged professor and host to the Pevensie chidren by the time of the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe 40 years later.
The Last Battle (1956)