Review: Prince Caspian By C.S. Lewis


THE RETURN TO NARNIA

In the hour of greatest need the Pevensie’s are recalled to Narnia to save the day once again.

 
Book CoverPrince Caspian
(The Chronicles Of Narnia, Book 4)

C.S. Lewis

Genre: Children’s, Juvenile Fantasy
Publisher: HarperCollins
Format: Paperback, 224 Pages
Date: 1st February 2009 (First Published 1951)

ISBN-10: 0007323115
ISBN-13: 978-0007323111

 
Purchase From: Amazon | Book Depository
 

Let’s get the trivia out of the way first. Prince Caspian was the second book of The Chronicles Of Narnia to be published, in 1951, though the events narrated therein make it chronologically the fourth story of the series. So being, effectively, the direct sequel to The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe, the book marks the inevitable return to Narnia of the four Pevensie siblings; Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy. After all, once a king (or queen) in Narnia, always a king (or queen) in Narnia.

Prince Caspian’s plot, though not a complete rehash of its predecessor does have one or two obvious parallels and similarities. Narnia is once again a land in peril; so once again, in its hour of greatest need, the Pevensie’s are inexplicably plucked from our world to find themselves back in Narnia. But it is not Narnia as they remember it. Several centuries have elapsed since the golden age of their reign as kings and queens. Narnia is now ruled by the descendants of human invaders from Telmar who have driven the indigenous population of mythological beings and talking animals into hiding.

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Review: The Phantom Tollbooth By Norton Juster


MAKING LITERACY AND NUMERACY COOL FOR KIDS

The strange adventures of a bored schoolboy with too much time on his hands.

 

Book CoverThe Phantom Tollbooth

Norton Juster
 

Genre: Children’s, Fantasy
Publisher: HarperCollins
Format: Paperback, 272 Pages
Date: 3rd March 2008 (First Published 1961)

ISBN-10: 0007263481
ISBN-13: 978-0007263486

 
Purchase From: Amazon | Book Depository
 

The Phantom Tollbooth is one of those children’s books that should be one of the defining reads of every bookworm’s childhood; much like The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe is. I certainly have fond memories of my first reading of it as a young schoolboy. But whereas C.S. Lewis’ classic is a very easy book to categorise and describe (being an age old tale of good triumphing over evil), Norton Juster’s story almost defies conventional categorisation. It is a story that is as unique as it is bizarre, making it all the more memorable. And as an added bonus, it’s hard to think of another book as likely The Phantom Tollbooth to spark an interest in literacy and numeracy in a young child.

Giving a synopsis of what the story is about would not likely engender much enthusiastic interest in the book. But here is a summary of the plot anyway. A bored young schoolboy called Milo, with little interest in school and studying, returns home from school one afternoon to discover that a build-it-yourself toy tollbooth has been delivered to him. After putting together the mysteriously sent gift, Milo gets into his toy pedal car to play, little suspecting that the tollbooth would magically transport him to the Kingdom Of Wisdom. He subsequently embarks on a bizarre road-trip around this fantasy land to complete a mission that will finally bring to an end a period of turmoil brought about by the disappearance of two princesses.

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Quotable: The Box Of Delights, “Christmas Ought To Be…”


THE QUOTABLE QUOTE OF THE DAY

From John Masefield’s classic children’s novel, a memorable quote from the book’s unsung star character.

 

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“Christmas ought to be brought up to date,” Maria said. “It ought to have gangsters, and aeroplanes and a lot of automatic pistols.”

John Masefield
The Box Of Delights

 
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Quotable: The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe, “Once A King In Narnia…”


THE QUOTABLE QUOTE OF THE DAY

A memorable and timeless quote that the child within you will never be able to forget.

 

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“Once a King in Narnia, always a King in Narnia. But don’t go trying to use the same route twice. Indeed, don’t try to get there at all. It’ll happen when you’re not looking for it. And don’t talk too much about it even among yourselves. And don’t mention it to anyone else unless you find that they’ve had adventures of the same sort themselves. What’s that? How will you know? Oh, you’ll know all right. Odd things, they say-even their looks-will let the secret out. Keep your eyes open…”

 
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Review: The Horse And His Boy By C.S. Lewis


THE STAND OUT TALE OF THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA.

A gripping journey of self discovery for two young heroes in a race against time to thwart a terrible conspiracy.

 

Book CoverThe Horse And His Boy
(The Chronicles Of Narnia, Book 3)

C.S. Lewis

Genre: Children’s, High Fantasy
Publisher: HarperCollins
Format: Kindle Edition, 252 Pages
Date: 6th October 2009 (First Published 1954)

ASIN: B001I45UFM
 

 
Purchase From: Amazon UK | Amazon US
 

If anyone were to ask me which of the seven books of The Chronicles Of Narnia is the best, without hesitation I would reply, The Horse And His Boy; although I would have no argument with anyone who considered Prince Caspian to be the better book. While they are both excellent reads, what elevates the former over the latter, as well as the other Narnia books, is its unique status within the series. It is the only instalment whose premise doesn’t involve young protagonists from our world being transported to the world of Narnia at a time of great need. In fact, though the story takes place during the reign of the Pevensie siblings, and features cameo appearances by them, Narnia only plays a small part in the book’s setting and plot. The story unfolds mostly in the land of Calormen, far to the south, before moving to Archenland and Narnia, much later on.

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Trivia: The Genesis Of The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe


IT ALL BEGAN WITH A PICTURE…

This is how The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe came to be, in C.S. Lewis’ own words.

 

You are no doubt aware that C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe is one of the most beloved and successful children’s fantasy books in history. But have you ever wondered what inspired Lewis to write the story? Well it’s a question that has been answered in the book, Of Other Worlds: Essays And Stories, a posthumously published anthology of essays and unpublished stories by Lewis.

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Quotable: The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz, “You Have Plenty Of Courage…”


THE QUOTABLE QUOTE OF THE DAY.

Words of wisdom from an influential children’s classic whose popularity has endured to this day.

 

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“You have plenty of courage, I am sure,” answered Oz. “All you need is confidence in yourself. There is no living thing that is not afraid when it faces danger. The true courage is in facing danger when you are afraid, and that kind of courage you have in plenty.”

 
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Quotable: The Phantom Tollbooth, “The Most Important Reason…”


THE QUOTABLE QUOTE OF THE DAY.

From a bizarre, but immensely fun, children’s fantasy classic.

 

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The most important reason for going from one place to another is to see what’s in between, and they took great pleasure in doing just that.

Norton Juster
The Phantom Tollbooth

 
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Review: The Lion The Witch And The Wardrobe By C.S. Lewis


THE MOST INFLUENTIAL CHILDREN’S FANTASY STORY EVER TOLD.

C.S. Lewis’ timeless tale of good overcoming evil in a magical land, is a must read book for readers, young and old.

 

Book CoverThe Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe
(The Chronicles Of Narnia, Book 2)

C.S. Lewis

Genre: Children’s, High Fantasy
Publisher: HarperCollins
Format: Kindle Edition, 220 Pages
Date: 6th October 2009 (First Published 1950)

ASIN: B001I45UFC
 

 
Purchase From: Amazon UK | Amazon US
 

To say that C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe has a very special place in my heart would be a major understatement. It was the first novel that I ever read, when I was just seven years old, igniting a lifelong interest in fantasy literature. It is perhaps the most influential children’s fantasy book ever written, and its enduring popularity has ensured that it has never been out of print since it was first published, six decades ago.

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Review: The Box Of Delights By John Masefield


IMMORTALISING THE WORDS, “THE WOLVES ARE RUNNING”, FOR A GENERATION OF 80’S KIDS.

The Box Of Delights may still contain magic for children, but it has faded away for adult readers.

 

Book CoverThe Box Of Delights

John Masefield
 

Genre: Children’s, Fantasy
Publisher: Egmont
Format: Paperback, 400 Pages
Date: 10st March 2014 (First Published 1935)

ISBN-10: 1405275529
ISBN-13: 978-1405275521

 
Purchase From: Amazon | Book Depository
 

Have you ever returned to a book that you loved during your childhood, only to discover that it doesn’t hold up to scrutiny, when read in adulthood? Well, that pretty much sums up my experience with John Masefield’s children’s classic, The Box Of Delights. As a child it was one of my favourite books; one which, along with The Chronicles Of Narnia, proved to be very influential in nurturing my early love of fantasy literature. Yet its numerous flaws, that escaped my notice as an eight year old, are glaringly obvious to me now, as an adult.

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