We finished our book for the July edition of the Reading to Know bookclub this week … I say “we” because we read The Magician's Nephew as a family in July. It had been years since I had read this one – we’ve listened to The Magician's Nephew Radio Theatre many, many times. I thoroughly enjoyed our return to Narnia with this book, maybe even more so as an adult.
For those that haven’t read this one, it is the tale in the Chronicles of Narnia that shares how it all began … the country, how humans got there, how the animals became talking beasts, and so on. I really don’t want to say much more than that, because when a first time reader discovers some of the connections between this book and others in the series, it is just delightful! We watched N1 do that as we listened to the audio a few years ago on a summer roadtrip, and this year it was N2’s year to make the connections.
My favorite description is the book are when Lewis is describing the creation of Narnia. His humble words give me just a glimpse of what I imagine the creation of our own world might have been like when God created it.
In the darkness something was happening at last. A voice had begun to sing. It was very far away and Digory found it hard to decide from what direction it was coming. Sometimes it seemed to come from all directions at once. Sometimes he almost thought it was coming out of the earth beneath them. Its lower notes were deep enough to be the voice of the earth herself. There were no words. There was hardly even a tune. But it was, beyond comparison, the most beautiful noise he had ever heard. It was so beautiful he could hardly bear it. The horse seemed to like it too; he gave the sort of whinny a horse would give if, after years of being a cab-horse, it found itself back in the old field where it had played as a foal, and saw someone whom it remembered and loved coming across the field to bring it a lump of sugar. (p. 116)
“Glory be!” said the Cabby. “I’d ha’ been a better man all my life if I’d known there were things like this.” (p. 117)
I love this description of Uncle Andrew in the story … so like us as sinners!
When the great moment came and the Beasts spoke, he missed the whole point; for a rather interesting reason. When the Lion had first begun singing, long ago when it was still quite dark, he had realized that the noise was a song. And he had disliked the song very much. It made him think and feel things he did not want to think and feel. Then, when the sun rose and he saw that the singer was a lion (“only a lion,” as he said to himself) he tried his hardest to make believe that it wasn’t singing and never had been singing – only roaring as any lion might in a zoo in our own world. “of course it can’t really have been singing,” he thought, “I must have imagined it. I’ve been letting my nerves get out of order. Who ever heard of a lion singing?” And the longer and more beautiful the Lion sang, the harder Uncle Andrew tried to make himself believe that he could hear nothing but roaring … (p. 149-150)
Hopefully those are enough to whet your appetite to pick this one up. It was immensely enjoyed by all of us!
For more read-aloud favorites, visit Amy at Hope is the Word.