• The Attic

  • The Filing Cabinet

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 46 other subscribers

And the winner is. . . (Narnia Giveaway)

We have been slow moving this Monday morning, but I’m finally up and about to post the winner of the Narnia giveaway!  I used random.org to help me pick a winner, and it turns out that Stephanie @ {Olive Tree} had the winning comment with comment #4, way back on the first entry of Narnia Week.  This is what Stephanie had to say:

I have that same box set (in white) that you mentioned. The pages are falling out of several of the books and I know I’m going to have to replace before my girls read them. When T & I got married, he had not read the Narnia books as of yet, so we read them to each other over the honeymoon – actually I read them while he drove. We drove from TN out to Yellowstone Nat’l Park and over the course of the trip made it through the first three books. It was a LOT of driving.

I really enjoyed reading all of the Narnia-related comments!  I hope you all had a great week and enjoyed it half as much as I did!

Stephanie, I’ll be in touch with you shortly!


Have a marvelous Monday, everyone!  🙂


Book Giveaway: The Chronicles of Narnia Pop-up by Robert Sabuda

chronicles-of-narniaCan you believe the week is already gone?  I’ve had a great time blogging about Narnia this week here at Hope Is the Word, and while I’m pretty sure that committing to a daily post is a little more than my beleagured brain can handle again for a while, I’m glad I did it.  It has been great to re-immerse myself in all things Narnia, but best of all, I got my children hooked on it, too.  (Lulu is  listening to Michael York read  The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe even now.)  I hope you, my faithful readers, have enjoyed it as much as we have!

Several months ago I was shopping at my local Tuesday Morning where I came across this week’s prize–The Chronicles of Narnia Pop-up by Robert Sabuda.  In the back of my mind I knew that Carrie would host another Narnia Reading Challenge some time, and I had a vague memory of seeing this particular paper engineer’s work somewhere, so I snatched up two copies:  one for our collection here at the House of Hope and one to give away to a Hope Is the Word reader.  It turns out that I first saw Sabuda’s work on the Pioneer Woman’s blog.  She sang Sabuda’s praises and captured my attention with her wonderful photographs of his amazing work.  (Now that I have looked at all of the pop-ups Sabuda and his partner, Matthew Reinhart, have created, I realized that we already owned one–Cinderella.  My dear mother-in-law purchased everything Cinderella she could get her hands on when Lulu was a wee babe, and we were the recipients of that lovely book.)  Y’all, these books are something to see.  I wish I had the photography skills to take pictures that would do the book justice, but just believe me when I say that this is a treasure.  (You could go back and look at my previous sneak peeks of the book here and here and here, but PW’s pictures are much better!)  The Chronicles of Narnia Pop-up Book has a two-page spread for each of the books in the series, with a summary of the book, the amazing 3-D illustrations, and additional flaps to open for more fun.  It is truly amazing!

So how do you enter this giveaway?  Just post a Narnia-related comment on any or all of this week’s posts at Hope Is the Word which feature Carrie’s cool Narnia Challenge button.  The comments will be open until midnight CST on Sunday, July 19, and I will post the winner bright and early Monday morning.

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.)

The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis

chronicles-of-narniaI decided to re-read The Magician’s Nephew for the Chronicles of Narnia Reading Challenge at Reading to Know because I thought it would be fun to go back and refresh my memory about how Narnia came to be.  Until now, The Magician’s Nephew wouldn’t have ranked very high on my list if I were to rank the chronicles according to how well I like them.  Unlike some of the other books, none of the characters from this book really stood out in my memory.   Now that I have re-read it, I have a better appreciation for the whole series, especially when it comes to seeing these stories spiritually.  

I also happened to be reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe aloud to the girls (more on this tomorrow for Read Aloud Thursday) at the same time that I was reading The Magician’s Nephew for my own enjoyment.  I think this really enhanced my enjoyment of both books since the two are so closely linked.  I can’t articulate very well how I felt while reading about Aslan “way back then” and Aslan “now.” (‘As a side note, is it odd that I think about it this way–that I “live” in the “present” Narnia of the Pevensie children, while the Narnia of Digory and Polly is the “old” Narnia?)  Reading it this way just made me happy inside.  🙂

The phrase that kept playing over and over in my brain while I was finishing up The Magician’s Nephew this afternoon is “fulness of time.”  The idea that everything that happens in Narnia happens at just the right time is a pervasive theme in this book.  I like that.  I like this even more:

Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:  But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,  to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.  And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.  Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.  (Galatians 4:3-7 KJV)

I’m glad I chose this book as the one I read again.  I knew I wouldn’t have time to re-read the whole series this week, but this was a good one to pair with my read-aloud with the girls.  I don’t feel like there are “holes” that I need to fill in, and while Wardrobe definitely closes with the promise of more, there are no cliffhangers, so I don’t feel compelled to read the rest right now.  That’s okay–I’ll get back to Narnia some day when the spirit moves me. 

(Pssssssst–Don’t forget about my Narnia giveaway!  Commenting on this post and all other posts this week with the Narnia Challenge button will enter you for a chance to win a neat Narnia resource which I’ll reveal on Friday!)

Narnia Giveaway Sneak Peek #3


In honor of Carrie‘s Chronicles of Narnia Reading Challenge, it’s Narnia Week here at Hope Is the Word.  As a part of Narnia Week, I’m hosting my own little giveaway, and each day until Friday I’m posting a little sneak peek of the prize.  To be eligible for a chance to win this awesome prize, post comments on any (or all!) posts with Carrie’s nifty Narnia Challenge button.  I’ll reveal what the prize is on Friday, and the giveaway winner will be announced Monday morning.  And now, for today’s peek:

Narnia sneak peek 3

Narnia Giveaway Sneak Peak #2

chronicles-of-narniaIn case you’ve missed the announcement, I’m blogging about Narnia this week in honor of Carrie‘s Chronicles of Narnia Challenge.  Several months ago, even before I knew Carrie was going to host this challenge in the middle of the summer, I picked up an awesome Narnia resource to share with one lucky blog reader o’ mine.  However, instead of just letting you in on the excitement all at once, I decided to dole it out little by little.  🙂  I’m posting a sneak peek of this awesome prize every day, and on Friday I’ll reveal what it is.  Ready?  Here goes:

Narnia sneak peek 2

So how do you enter for a chance to win this to-be-revealed-but-already-obviously-wonderful prize?  Simple.  You post a comment on every post of mine this week that features Carrie’s lovely Narnia Challenge button.  (Just tell me something about Narnia–anything at all!)  That means you’ll need to come back every day this week to have the best chance to win!  At any rate, be sure to come back on Friday for the big reveal of the prize.  🙂

Roar! by Heather Kopp with David Kopp

chronicles-of-narniaSteady Eddie and I have been to three different homeschooling conferences in three different states this summer.  Crazy, huh?  Hands down the best part of any curriculum fair is the used book sale!  🙂  (You knew there was more to this than just a plug for homeschooling conferences, didn’t you?)  Even if I weren’t a homeschooling parent, I would love to attend the conferences just for a chance to buy great used books for a fraction of their original prices!  I picked up Roar!:  A Christian Family Guide to the Chronicles of Narnia by Heather Kopp and David Kopp at one of the conference’s used book sales for a mere $3.00, and it was $3.00 well spent.

Roar! is not really a book meant to be read from cover to cover.  Instead, it is best enjoyed in small snippets.  It is divided into five sections:

  •   Section one introduces the concept of the book itself and gives a short biography of C.S. Lewis.  My favorite parts of this section, though, are the “You Know You’re a Narniac Quiz” and “The Narniac’s Creed.”  (I can’t resist sharing just one. . . “You know you’re a Narniac when. . . someone says Lucy, you think Edmund or Susan, not Charlie or Snoopy.”  🙂 ) 
  • Section two is the longest section at roughly 250 pages.  The simplest way to explain this section is to say that it gives an overview of each one of the chronicles.  However, this doesn’t do Roar! justice at all; it is far, far more than a simple Cliff’s Notes version of the Chronicles of Narnia.  Each two page chapter summary actually contains several different section.  For example, there is a section entitled “Grown-up  Thoughts” which includes broader spiritual implications found within the books, related Bible verses, and all sorts of literary observations.  Also included is a glossary of terms for each chapter which defines words that aren’t much used in America today.  There are quizzes, historical notes, quotations, and fantastic illustrations.  This is a Narnia treasure trove!
  • Part three contains a Narniac Final Exam and a Narniac Final Exam for Little Ones.   This is serious fun, folks, and far more thought provoking than most tests I’ve ever given.  My favorite part in this section is the riddles.  Here’s one to test your knowledge of Narnia:

Who. . .

_could be a good friend to Winnie-the-Pooh?

_would make a terrible weather man (Rainy and cloudy again?!)?

_could help you see the worst in a bad situation?

_might turn into a prince if you kissed him?

(Hint:  He’s my favorite character!)

  • Part four is entitled “Leading the Way into Narnia,” and it contains all the stuff we English nerds like.  😉  Actually, it’s subititled “Help and Inspiration for Parents,” and it contains ten articles about various Narnia-related topics.  Some of the articles include “What C.S. Lewis Really Believed” and “The Meaning of Magic in Narnia” by Marcus Brotherton; “The Literary Bloke” by J.I. Packer; and “Mercy!  How the Wine Doth Flow in Narnia!” by Laurie Winslow Sargent and David Kopp.  Any imaginative story worth its salt is bound to stir up some sort of controversy, and this section is designed to help parents navigate the often murky waters of good literature. 
  • Part five is where all the miscellaenous leftovers are found:  chronologies, a more complete glossary, character and place identification, etc. 

This is one fun book for the Narnia lover.  I haven’t written much about the illustrations yet because they are secondary to the content of this great resource, but they really add to the very energetic feel of this book.  (Be sure to notice the cover above to see what I mean.)  Martin French really conveyed a love of Narnia through his colorful artwork.  You can see more of his art here on his website.

There are lots of Narnia resources out there now, especially with the Disney’s updating of the movies.  I haven’t seen them all, but I do think that Roar! manages to be a resource that can be used by the whole family, adults and children alike.  This one gets a “highly recommended” from me!

In case you missed it yesterday, I’m blogging my way through Narnia this week in honor of Carrie‘s Chronicles of Narnia Challenge which ends on Friday. (Go here to read my first Narnia Week post.)   Be sure to visit Hope Is the Word frequently because I’m hosting on an awesome giveaway as a part of my Narnia Week, and you can “earn” one entry in the giveaway simply by leaving a comment on this post and every post which features Carrie’s Narnia Challenge button.  Tell me something about Narnia–do you have a favorite Narnia resource you’d like to share with me?  Who’s your favorite character?  (By the way, mine’s Puddleglum, in case you couldn’t figure out the riddle.)  Just say something in the comments.  🙂 

Oh, and I plan to have the next sneak peek of the giveaway I”m doing up around noon CST today!  (You can see the first sneak peek at the bottom of this post.)


Into the Wardrobe

chronicles-of-narniaIn honor of Carrie‘s Chronicles of Narnia Reading Challenge, I am designating this week as Narnia Week here at Hope Is the Word.  I have the ideas for several Narnia-related posts running around in my brain, and I hope to get them all out here this week.  We’ll see how it goes. 

My first introduction to Narnia happened when I was about ten years old.  The summer after my third grade year, my father was transferred to St. Louis, Missouri, with his job.  It was supposed to be a temporary transfer, so my family just sort of hung out in the St. Louis area for the summer–living in a hotel, swimming in the hotel pool, you know–the good life.  😉  However, this temporary transfer turned into a two-year tenure in St. Louis, so my family eventually moved into an apartment complex in a St. Louis suburb.  While we lived there, we had a little neighbor girl named Mandy, and she became friends with my sister and me.  Mandy’s mother read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe aloud to us while we were at their apartment playing.  I really do not remember my first reaction to the stories, but it must’ve been a positive one because it was while we were living in Missouri that I asked for and received (for Christmas, I think) the boxed set of Narnia books that I still have (and read) today.  This set looks a lot like mine (worn places and all), except mine is white:narnia side view

Since this was the first set of Narnia books I called my own, I will always associate these cover illustrations with the stories:

the lion the witch adn the wardrobe

dawn treader


last battle

These cover illustrations are by Roger Hane, a paperback book illustrator.  I much prefer Pauline Baynes’ illustrations (and others’, as well–particularly Chris Van Allsburg’s), but these rather eighties-looking covers will always be a part of my imagination.

Mandy’s mother also introduced us to Narnia through music.  I remember an album with an illustration of Aslan emblazoned on the front.  I’ve tried and tried to locate the titles or lyrics to some of the songs I remember from this album, but I have not been successful.  I remember a song (sung by Lucy) that goes something like this:  “Edmund, oh Edmund, please tell them the truth! / That you’re not lying, oh Edmund, please tell them the truth!” Another one, sung by Edmund, goes like this:  “Turkish Delight!  What surprise!/ Just by one bite–hypnotized!”  Does anyone recognize this?  I would love to be able to put these songs to rest in my mind by hearing (or ast least reading) the rest of the lyrics.  🙂 I assume these songs are from a musical or dramatic production of some kind since the songs are from the characters’ points of view. 

It’s really neat to me now to think that a woman whom I knew only briefly introduced me through reading aloud to a world that I later embraced fully in my imagination.  (It just goes to show that one never knows the influence of reading aloud to a child.)  I’m pretty sure I went on to read a few of the books as a child, but I didn’t make it all the way through the series until I was in college and chose Lewis as the subject of a lengthy research project.  Since then, I’ve come to appreciate Lewis and Narnia in ways I couldn’t have as a child.  Isn’t that the beauty of Narnia? 

I have some fun things planned for Narnia Week, not the least of which is a fantastic giveaway!  Of course, it wouldn’t be any fun to just come right out with what the giveaway is, so I’m going to post a teaser each day until Friday.  Be sure to come back each day this week and leave a comment on my Narnia posts (marked with Carrie’s beautiful button like at the top of this post).  Just tell me something about Narnia–your favorite character, how you were introduced to Narnia, which book you hope to read next, whatever.  All of the comments from all of the Narnia posts will be eligible to win the prize, so there will be lots of chances to enter.  (Just be sure to always leave your email address or blog where I can contact you.) 

Are you ready for your first sneak peek?  🙂

Here goes:

Narnia sneak peek 1


I promise, this giveaway is too good to miss, so come back tomorrow (and every day this week) and let’s go into the wardrobe together!