I listened to the version that was read by Kenneth Branaugh… such a fantastic voice for this!
I’m listening with new ears now that I’m writing my own chapter readers for the same age group. Action-packed, whimsical, and while the characters are good for the age range, they’re not the central focus. This is the true origin story of Narnia, a retelling of Creation in Genesis–but not a perfect retelling. God is Aslan, the lion who later represents Jesus in the rest of the stories. I felt like I truly understood God as a kid when I read Aslan: C.S. Lewis managed to capture the character of Jesus from the gospels so, so well. Just incredibly beautiful and compelling. He sings creation into being, rather than speaking it, and then all creation as it is formed sings with him. The serpent is played by Jadis, who later becomes the White Witch in “The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe.” The two main characters, Diggory and Polly, bring her into Narnia right at its inception, because Diggory broke the spell that bound her in a dying world out of sheer curiosity and spite. There is an apple that serves as both good and evil (as in Genesis it’s called the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil), and sort of a garden, but not exactly. There’s just enough that’s different that it doesn’t feel like a straight retelling.
It’s up there with my favorites in the series, might be my favorite! (Technically it was book 6 of 7 but it’s a prequel so I read it first this time around.)
My rating: *****
Language: none (though he says ‘dem’ in lieu of damn a number of times)
Sexual content: none
Political content: none (it’s a classic)