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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Book Review: The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis

TITLE: The Magician's Nephew 

SERIES: Chronicles of Narnia, Book #1
AUTHOR: C.S. Lewis
PUBLISHER: Fontana Lions
DATE OF PUBLICATION: 1980 (first published 1950)
FORMAT: Paperback, 171 pages
GENRE: Fantasy, Classics, Young Adult/Childrens Fiction


The whole adventure begins when Digory and Polly find themselves in eccentric Uncle Andrew's secret study. But when Uncle Andrew tricks Polly into touching the magic ring, she vanishes into the Other World. Digory is aghast, and determines immediately to go in search of her. Not only does he find Polly but together they listen to Aslan's song as he creates the enchanted world of Narnia, full of sun, trees, flowers, grass and animals.


I read this book aloud to my children. It is a re-read for me, but I was only nine years old when I first read it. I never did finish the entire Chronicles of Narnia, so now I am reading the series with my children.

I am tickled pink to report that the book still hasn’t lost its magic some 30+ years later! Although I have only read the first two books in the series, it was The Magician’s Nephew that was my favourite rather than the more popular second in the series, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

The book is about a boy named Digory, whose uncle is somewhat of a magician. He creates these rings (one yellow and one green) that, when touched, will transport someone to an in-between world that is tranquil and calm but filled with numerous pools all leading to different worlds! Uncle Andrew tricks Digory’s friend, Polly, into touching one of the rings, and she is whisked away before Digory’s eyes. The only problem is that Polly does not possess the green or “home” ring to bring her back. And therein lies the rub. Digory has no choice but to follow Polly into the great unknown with two green rings so that they can both return home. It turns out that the rings do not quite work in the way that Uncle Andrew believed that they did, but I will let you discover how they work on your own!

Narnia fans debate on how to read the series: One is in the order of publication, and the other is chronologically. The Magician’s Nephew was actually the sixth book in the series to be published, and it was The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe that was published first. In my opinion, by not reading The Magician’s Nephew first, you will miss out on pertinent information, such as: How Narnia was created, the significance of the light post in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the identity of the Professor and the White Witch in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and how the wardrobe was made. Lewis himself expressed a preference for the chronological order and wrote to an American boy named Laurence in 1957 the following:

“I think I agree with your order {i.e. chronological} for reading the books more than with your mother’s. The series was not planned beforehand as she thinks. When I wrote The Lion I did not know I was going to write any more. Then I wrote P. Caspian as a sequel and still didn’t think there would be any more, and when I had done The Voyage I felt quite sure it would be the last. But I found as I was wrong. So perhaps it does not matter very much in which order anyone read them. I’m not even sure that all the others were written in the same order in which they were published.”

Re-reading this book as an adult, I now see the Biblical parallels in The Magician’s Nephew that I never noticed as a child. It is certainly a book that is meant to be read again and again, and it does not lose its lustre! I love the book even more now as an adult than I did as a child, if that is even possible!!

My children loved the book as well and cannot believe that they are reading Mommy’s original box set from 1980. 



 5 stars!! Highly recommended for young and old alike! If you haven’t read the series since you were a child, you should read it again! You will discover new things that you didn’t notice previously.


  1. Even though I usually am all for chronological reading I chose to do it by publication order this time. So this book will come much later for me than for you. I am glad you enjoyed it even thirty years later.

  2. I love this one in the series! It is probably my favorite as well. In the great debate, I argue reading them chronologically :) We just finished The Magicians Nephew last month with my kids, and I'm excited to get into the next one. We have to space our chapter book reading though, or they get too bored, sigh :(

  3. I loved all the books in this series but I haven't read them since I was a child. I may have to re-read this one now.

  4. I love the Chronicles of Narnia. That's awesome that you're reading them to your kids. It is fun to decide if one is going to read chronologically or as they were released.


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