The Voyage of the Dawn Treader: The Chronicles of Narnia, Book 3 Book Poster Image

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader: The Chronicles of Narnia, Book 3



Thrilling, thoughtful Narnian quest.
Parents recommend

What parents need to know

Educational value

Readers who enjoy this series will stretch their imaginations as they follow the characters through a number of adventures. The book gives readers a lot of questions to ponder, such as, what do you make of the book's Christian themes? Parents may want to explore some of the other ideas in the "Families Can Talk About" section.

Positive messages

The idea of redemption resounds: Edmund, of course, betrayed his friends in his first visit to Narnia but has matured into a stalwart friend. Eustace enters as a selfish, hateful boy, but spending some time stuck in the form of a dragon proves a sobering experience, and he emerges humbled and wiser. Themes of loyalty and doing what’s morally right – rather than easy – also run through the story. Characters who are tempted to make a poor choice always take the better path, with guidance but no judgment from their supportive fellow-travelers.

Positive role models

The characters are the strength of this book. Lucy is a strong heroine, and both Eustace and Edmund demonstrate the possibility of redemption. Among the Narnians, Prince Caspian and the mouse Reepicheep are classic heroes in heart and action. 

Violence & scariness

On several occasions it appears violence may be imminent, but the situations are resolved without anyone coming to blows. The children are captured by slave traders early on, and they repeatedly find themselves in very dangerous situations.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this high-seas journey into the great unknown is a satisfying fantasy that can be appreciated on its own or as part of the seven-book Chronicles of Narnia series. Originally the third book in the series, it's the fifth book in editions that are ordered along the chronology in the stories. There are perilous moments, including encounters with a sea serpent and a terrifying Island of Dreams, but it all serves the story, and drawn weapons are put away without being used. The Christian theme that runs through the series is very clear here: The adventurers seek the country belonging to Aslan, a Christ-like figure who rules over Narnia in the form of a lion (though he also takes the shape of a lamb here). Aslan tells the children they must learn to know him by another name in their own country. That said, the book can easily be enjoyed as a fantasy without a Christian interpretation.

What's the story?

Edmund and Lucy are visiting their disagreeable cousin Eustace when they find themselves falling into a painting of a great ship: The siblings have returned to the magical country of Narnia, reuniting with Prince Caspian, and Eustace is along for the ride. The children join Caspian and his shipmates on an epic journey into the unknown Eastern Seas. They are seeking seven Narnian lords who had been banished by Caspian’s usurping uncle years ago – and perhaps, even, the land of Aslan, the mystical lion who watches over Narnia. The adventurers encounter enchanted islands, strange merfolk, a fearsome sea serpent, and more, testing their character and their loyalties time and again.

Is it any good?


This fantasy is a classic for good reason. The characters are true and heroic, and their epic adventure sees them escape one danger after another through cleverness, wisdom, sheer bravery, luck, and divine intervention. Even the least appealing characters – the miserable Eustace, later the wearying Dufflepuds – are treated, ultimately, with kindness and affection. C.S. Lewis draws out the good in his characters as they are challenged, and without fail the diverse companions prove their worth and mature further with each stage of the adventure. Throw in strange creatures, curious enchantments, and mysterious, magical islands, and you have an irresistible yarn. Young American readers will find it a bit dated: Originally published in 1952, it’s very British in tone. But kids who are up for the adventure probably will be charmed by those quirks.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about this series. While the Narnia series stands on its own as a fantasy adventure, it also is appreciated as an exploration of Christian themes. How do you see Christian ideas represented here? Do you think Lewis wanted his book to speak specifically to Christians, or do you think he wanted his stories to strike a spiritual chord with readers of other religious faiths?

  • Do you plan on seeing the movie based on this book? Do you think that movies are ever as good as the books they are based on? If you were going to make this movie, is there anything that you would leave out -- or put in?

Book details

Author:C.S. Lewis
Illustrator:Pauline Baynes
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:HarperCollins Children's Books
Publication date:September 15, 1952
Number of pages:256
Publisher's recommended age(s):8 - 12

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Parent of a 3, 4, and 7 year old Written byJessReplanted November 12, 2010

great book!

I have always loved this book, and I have really enjoyed reading it with my son (in anticipation of the movie being released!). When reading the book we focused on the Christian themes, and also learned about sailing ships.
Teen, 13 years old Written byAwalkeratCSM December 21, 2010

Not a better analogy for the young eyes than this!

Years ago, when I read this enchanting read by C.S. Lewis, its religious analogies and likable characters have engrossed my imagination. "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" is a novel I would readily recommend to a young person for its appropriate content, backed by historical, though in fictional setting, details, positive messages, and (parents smiling) good role models. A fascinating voyage from home-sweet-home Narnia across the uncharted seas to Aslan's homeland, this book will hook your young reader, as it has millions before, and promise the parents their child's safety though encountering perilous islands, cunning slave traders, and countless unknown dangers ahead. There isn't much to look out for in this book, except for occasional, but mild, violence and suspense. This is a "safe tale", as you could say, which honors me to give a 9+. For those searching for proper religious analogies for their child, you've hit the bulls-eye. There is rarely a better series for Christian analogies in the bookstore than this one. Perfect for young children and a perfect occupation for those anxious to see the film-version of this legendary piece of work. Enjoy the read and, eventually or not, the movie!
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 10 years old November 15, 2010

Trust me

i think it will be awesome! (Movie) I saw the prewviews and trailor it might be a little vilont thats the only thing i am worried about but other than that go for it!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great messages