A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Kids might learn a bit about British culture and the wartime circumstances that resulted in children being evacuated to the countryside.
If you truly regret mistakes and poor choices, you'll be forgiven and get another chance to prove yourself. Trust those you love, and believe them when they tell you things that might seem unlikely. Trust your own convictions and faith, too. Don't hold grudges.
Positive Role Models
The main characters act valiantly to help save Narnia from the White Witch. Edmund, said by his siblings to be difficult, resents his older brother and initially aids the Witch to spite the other children, but he definitely learns the error of his ways. Aslan is a wise, thoughtful guide and counselor to the children, sometimes resorting to tough love. The gender roles among the children are traditional, as when the girls are told they must avoid getting involved in an impending battle.
Violence & Scariness
Peter kills a wolf that attacks his sisters. There's a large battle in which people and creatures are killed and injured via axes, swords, clubs, and more. Creepy, scary creatures are described. The Witch treats Edmund cruelly. The girls watch as the Witch's minions torment Aslan, who allows himself to be sacrificed. (Spoiler alert!) The Witch kills Aslan with an ancient knife in a very bleak, sad scene, but he comes back to life shortly thereafter.
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A few uses of words like "dratted."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Mr. Beaver has beer with his dinner and smokes a pipe. Edmund's rescuers give him some wine (medicinally).
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is the first book published in C.S. Lewis' classic Chronicles of Narnia series, which children have loved for generations. Lewis, a devout Christian, weaves lots of Christian allegory into the book (and the series as a whole), but the story can be enjoyed on many levels, by all kinds of readers. Expect several violent scenes, including a large battle (axes, clubs, and more are used, and characters are injured and die) and -- spoiler alert! -- the tense, scary, sad death of a major character. Creepy, evil creatures are also described; their leader is the White Witch, who is cruel and shows no mercy. The main characters are clear role models who valiantly help save Narnia from the Witch; even the one who initially falls under her sway learns his lesson, showing the power of repentance and forgiveness. The book was adapted for a movie in 1988 and again for the blockbuster 2005 film The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. An excellent audiobook version is narrated by British actor Michael York.
Is It Any Good?
Anyone who's ever dreamed of living in a world where animals can talk is going to enjoy the Pevensies' Narnian escapades. Originally published in 1950, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is full of storyteller's asides and precious English children, with a mix of adventure and serious battles. Those who know the story is full of Christian allegory (spoiler alert! Aslan sacrifices himself for the wayward Edmund and is resurrected) are likely to spot it everywhere, but some children may simply enjoy the book's fairy-tale aspects. Yes, perhaps the forces of good sometimes seem to have too easy a time vanquishing their foes, and, yes, the writing style is now somewhat dated, but this is still a classic series that young fantasy fans will thoroughly enjoy.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.