Chronicles of Narnia (The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe) – C.S. Lewis — October 23, 2020

Chronicles of Narnia (The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe) – C.S. Lewis

Goodreads Synopsis – Narnia…. the land beyond the wardrobe door, a secret place frozen in eternal winter, a magical country waiting to be set free.

Lucy is the first to find the secret of the wardrobe in the professor’s mysterious old house. At first her brothers and sister don’t believe her when she tells of her visit to the land of Narnia. But soon Edmund, then Peter and Susan step through the wardrobe themselves. In Narnia they find a country buried under the evil enchantment of the White Witch. When they meet the Lion Aslan, they realize they’ve been called to a great adventure and bravely join the battle to free Narnia from the Witch’s sinister spell.

My Thoughts – I remember reading this book with my dad when I was younger. We read the whole series together. It still has the magic that it did when I first read the series, a timeless classic. I enjoyed re-reading this book, and I often struggle to re-read books as I remember the plot and the excitement and the magic is lost. This book is an easy book to read with a quick pace to hold young readers attention.

Religion is a theme that runs throughout the books. There is a regular mention of Son of Adam and Daughters of Eve, which links directly to the bible story of Adam and Eve.

You can tell which era it was written in by the content throughout. In one scene one of the male characters shows emotion by crying and one of the female characters tells him he should be ashamed of this display of emotion. This is very different from today’s society where men are encouraged to share their feelings and emotions with others.

One thing I would have liked to have read more of is character development. We can read between the lines and see that there is major character development, but I would have liked to have more focus on this as it could have been a major part of the book. However this may not have been as engaging for young readers.

The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett *spoilers* — October 2, 2020

The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett *spoilers*

Goodreads Synopsis – The plot centers round Mary Lennox, a young English girl who returns to England from India, having suffered the immense trauma by losing both her parents in a cholera epidemic. However, her memories of her parents are not pleasant, as they were a selfish, neglectful and pleasure-seeking couple. Mary is given to the care of her uncle Arhibald Craven, whom she has never met. She travels to his home, Misselthwaite Manor located in the gloomy Yorkshire, a vast change from the sunny and warm climate she was used to. When she arrives, she is a rude, stubborn and given to stormy temper tantrums. However, her nature undergoes a gradual transformation when she learns of the tragedies that have befallen her strict and disciplinarian uncle whom she earlier feared and despised. One when he’s away from home, Mary discovers a charming walled garden which is always kept locked. The mystery deepens when she hears the sounds of sobbing from somewhere within her uncle’s vast mansion. The kindly servants ignore her queries or pretend they haven’t heard, spiking Mary’s curiosity.

My Thoughts – I enjoyed reading this book, but I’m going to admit from the start that it is not one of my favourites, it was alright. I think that the first half of the book was a little slow, and I was tempted to DNF it, but I continued and enjoyed the second half of the book much more. I think the ending was very fitting and it was exactly how I expected it to end.

At the start Mary is a very unlikable character, she is very upper class and expects everything to be done for her and she is very unchildlike for her age. As the book goes on, you start to see her change and she becomes much more likable and her childlike innocence is apparent. I had similar feelings towards Colin too, I found him to be unlikable and set in his ways. He has a very negative view of the world when we first meet him and gradually you start to see how he changes as he gets to know Mary and the garden.

There are some subtle racist comments hidden throughout the book, meaning that it is likely that children won’t pick up on this consciously. It makes reference to the colour black being bad and white being good, which may reinforce some racist ideas. But there is direct references to being accepting of other cultures, which goes against the subtle racism.

It is a very timely book to read at the moment as it makes reference to an epidemic and Mary comes to England from India. Overall, it was an enjoyable book, but I won’t be rushing to re-read it again.