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Read Aloud Thursday–Narnia Edition


It’s Narnia Week here at Hope Is the Word, and in honor of this and Carrie‘s Chronicles of Narnia Reading Challenge, I put my misgivings aside and introduced my girls, ages 5 and 3 2/3, to Narnia over the past week and a half.  We completed The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe on Tuesday of this week.  I had put off starting this particular book as a read-aloud because of the scary elements in it:  a witch; all kinds of mythical creatures, some of which I can’t even identify; Aslan’s death; battle scenes; etc.  I wasn’t sure how I would explain much of it (or even if I should), and Lulu has been known to reject even picture books outright (as in pushing them out of my hands in the middle of reading) if she finds them too intense.  Yes, we have some sensitivity issues.  🙂  It turns out that my worries were completely unnecessary.  My girls LOVED Narnia.  In fact, Laura and Mary have been replaced here at the House of Hope by Susan and Lucy.  🙂

One of the reasons we were able to read The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe without abridging it or abandoning it altogether is because the girls had already been exposed to it through a few books excerpted from The World of Narnia Collection  that we got from Chic-Fil-A kids’ meals.  Lulu even said as much.  We were reading about Edmund and the White Witch one day when she said, “I’m not afraid of this chapter because we read that picture book about it.”  Score! This really laid to rest my hesitation about “dumbing down” stories by using abridgements and really confirmed that same concept which is espoused in The Well-Trained Mind.  Carrie highlighted The World of Narnia Collection in this Read Aloud Thursday post a couple of weeks ago, and she also includes a few pictures of the book covers (which I have been unable to do thanks to my cantankerous computer).  This also gives me the courage to go forward with our reading aloud of heftier titles.   I have really been stymied when it comes to finding stories that aren’t “too” something–scary, intense, etc.  Now I know that my girls can handle it, at least with a little preparation.  I came across a quote in Roar!:  A Christian Family Guide to the Chronicles of Narnia (read my thoughts on this resource here) that sums up this whole dilemma very nicely.  The quote, which follows, is from his essay entitled “On Three Ways of Writing for Children”:

Those who say that children must not be frightened mean two things.  They may mean (1) that we must not do anything likely to give the child those haunting, disabling, pathological fears against which ordinary courage is helpless. . . Or they may mean (2) that we must try to keep out of his mind the knowledge that he is born into a world of death, violence, wounds, adventure, heroism and cowardice, good and evil.  If they mean the first I agree with them, but not if they mean the second.

Wise man, that Jack Lewis.

Putting aside all this child psychology, I just have to say that reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe aloud to my children brought me more joy than any other book we’ve read together thus far.  I do love this story, and to see the enraptured look on Lulu’s face (I think Louise’s attention span is still a little short for her to be completely enraptured by a story 😉 ) as she listened was simply beautiful.  I kept thinking to myself as we read, “I wouldn’t give ANY amount of money for this experience!”  🙂  That’s a happy mama moment, for sure.  My girls have begged over and over again to watch the Steven Curtis Chapman video that Carrie posted on her blog a few weeks ago, and of course, I’ve complied.  It’s so sweet to hear their little voices shout, “It’s Aslan!” when they see him at the end of the video like he’s the best thing they’ve seen all day.  Of course, He is!  🙂  In honor of them, I want to publicly thank Carrie for introducing me to SCC via YouTube and put that video on my blog here where we can easily find it.  🙂

While we won’t be watching the movie any time soon, this little video shows just enough to both satisfy and whet the appetite, doesn’t it?

I have a feeling we’re not through with Narnia.  Lulu saw The Magician’s Nephew on my nightstand a few days ago and asked me about it.  When I told her it is one of the Chronicles of Narnia, she said in a voice full of excitement, “Narnia?!?!?”  Yes, Lulu, Narnia.  I’m so glad you enjoyed your inaugural visit. 

“Higher up and further in!”


Oh, excuse me–this is Read Aloud Thursday, isn’t it?  I just about got carried away.  Do share with us what you’ve been enjoying together as a family, Narnia-related or not.  😉  Leave a comment or a blog link so we can all add new read aloud titles to our TBR lists!  And don’t forget that all comments on posts featuring the Narnia Challenge button will be eligible to win a beautiful Narnia resource which I shall reveal on Friday!  (For a sneak peek, go here.)


13 Responses

  1. I wondered how old the girls needed to be to make it through Narnia but I may add it to our school reading for this year. 🙂 (Maybe around Christmas time??)

    I’m probably not going to have to time to do a post today – I have two extra munchkins for the day and my husband comes home tomorrow!!! But, we are still plugging away through On the Banks of Plum Creek and I’m trying to figure out what we’ll read next … I figure about the time we finish this it will be time for us to offically start school and maybe a book tied in with our school learning. 🙂

  2. Well, I did Winnie-the-Pooh this week, as you know! SO fun.


    Now as for your post:


    1. I’m extremely envious of those Chick fil A stories for a myriad of reasons.

    2. I have had thoughts about abridged versions rolling around in my head for awhile but I’ve never really heard any GOOD reason against them. I was searching online for some pro/con arguments a few weeks back and couldn’t find anything. I’m really curious to read The Well-Trained Mind now! But I’m definitely falling into the anti-abridgement camp.

    3. HAHAHA on your girls yelling out “It’s Aslan!!” after watching that video. THat is EXACTLY what my son does which is why I happily play it for him over and over. =) It’s so cool and so exciting to me to see him jazzed up about seeing Aslan. It’s a short enough/fast moving enough clip to be perfect for young eyes.

    Loved hearing all your thoughts!

    • On the abridged/unabridged argument, I’ve never liked abridged children’s versions, but now I see that if the children are later exposed to the real thing, it’s okay to use the abridgement because then they will be prepared for it. That’s the WTM argument, too.

  3. I use to be in the camp of unabridged version only…

    Lately, as I read more and as my children grow I am thinking… abridged is not so bad. There are times when an abridged version is better, it brings the reader into the story, it allows the reader to experience the story. I have come to a decision that if an unabridged book is cumbersome than we try an abridged version…if it works then great because either I or my children at least were able to experience the story.
    Two cases comes in mind:
    Les Miserables (for me the unabridged version was horrid. I could not make it through it. The abridged audiobook allowed me to know the essence of the story).
    The Magician’s Nephew (we were not getting through the book. We listened to an abridged audiobook and WOW! The story came alive).

    Bottom line for me: unabridged – great. Abridged – Great.

    Loved your quote from Roar in regards to scary stuff. I so agree with what C.S. Lewis had to say.

    • Yes, I now too see that some L–O–N–G novels like Les Miserables really don’t suffer much for the abridgement. 😉 My failure to finish that project is testimony to that.

  4. […] Buttons « Read Aloud Thursday–Narnia Edition […]

  5. The husband has promised me he has all these books at his parents house. I desire to have them so badly for my children

  6. We love all things Narnia around here. We even name our pets after Narnia characters (Mr. Tumnus, Lucy, Bree)!

  7. I listened to this on audiobook while I read along and loved it. Mr. Tumnus will always be my favorite character.

  8. […] I’m starting off this week’s Read Aloud Thursday with what I consider a real dark horse candidate:  Rikki Tikki Tavi.  I never expected my girls to like this book, perhaps because I’ve never been a particular fan of Rudyard Kipling myself, excepting a successful recitation of “If” way back in the ninth grade.  I checked it out simply because I knew that Jerry Pinkney’s illustrations never disappoint.   My girls obviously agree since we have read this rather lengthy (for a picture book) adaptation no fewer than three or four times since we’ve had it from the library.  It turns out that not only does Pinkney paint a pretty picture with watercolors, he also communicates this old tale convincingly to a young audience.  (I also think it has something to do with my girls’  intensely human, albeit morbid, fascination with snakes.)  This story of the brave little mongoose that saves the lives of his human family is just exciting enough for my girls.  My hope is that exposure to these adaptations will leave them open to hearing or reading more when they’re a little older, which has happened before.  […]

  9. […] Nicola (A Head Full of Notions: A Story About Robert Fulton)34. Nicola (The Fire Cat)35. Amy (Narnia read-alouds)36. Amy @ Hope Is the Word (Chronicles of Narnia Pop-up)37. Amy @ Hope Is the Word (The Lion, the […]

  10. […] Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.  This read-aloud brought me as much joy as any I’ve shared with them yet, and that’s saying a mouthful for sure.  The fact that Lulu […]

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