The Children’s Book Blog Christmas Countdown: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
For December I’ve decided to turn the children’s book blog into a sort of literary advent calendar. Every day of the month I’ll be posting a short recommendation of a wintry or Christmassy children’s book to warm your cockles or, in some cases, chill the blood. There’ll be something for readers of all ages, from picture books all the way up to YA. My choice for December 13th is C.S. Lewis’s ‘The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe’.
This is the most famous of the Narnia books, and the most Christmassy, too – even if technically it is always winter and never Christmas in Narnia when the story begins. Four siblings, Peter (the smug), Susan (the drippy), Edmund (the spiteful) and Lucy (the awesome, unless you’re watching the BBC TV adaptation from the Eighties, in which case replace ‘awesome’ with ‘gormless’), are evacuated from London and sent to live in an old country house.
Here, they discover a wardrobe which leads into a strange world where animals can talk and a wicked queen has cast a spell covering the entire land in snow and ice. With a little help from the god-lion Aslan, a host of mythical creatures and some slightly irritating beavers, the children set about defeating the queen – well, all except Edmund, whose grudging nature and love of Turkish delight lead him down a rather darker path.
Although The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe isn’t the first book in the series in terms of Narnian chronology – that would be The Magician’s Nephew – it is the first that Lewis wrote. This has no doubt aided its enduring popularity, but one of the things that had me coming back to it again and again as a child was the gorgeous wintery setting and the cosy little places the children have to find in which to shelter from it (including a dam belonging to the aforementioned beavers). The bit when Father Christmas finally shows up was another personal highlight, especially back in the days when I still dreamt of meeting him myself.
Check back tomorrow to see which book is lurking behind the ‘calendar door’ for December 14th and catch up on my previous recommendations here
Rebecca Davies is a journalist and children’s author. She is currently working on a Young Adult fantasy novel set in Hackney. You can follow her on Twitter as @TheStoryMonsterTagged in: children's literature, christmas books, christmas children's books, CS Lewis, Narnia
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