Reading/Interest Level: Primary, Intermediate
Author: C.S. Lewis
Illustrator: Pauline Baynes
Publisher: Harper Trophy
Two children, Polly and Digory, live in conjoined houses and play in the tunnel space that joins the two. One day, they accidentally take the wrong door in the tunnel, and end up in Digory’s uncle’s study. Uncle Andrew is a greedy, selfish man who tricks Polly into traveling into another land as part of his experiment in magic. Digory follows to save her and they discover the Wood Between Worlds. In this place, the many pools lead to other worlds, and they decide to explore. In their first world, Digory makes the mistake of freeing the evil Jadis from a spell. Jadis follows them back to London, where she decides to become queen. Knowing they have to save the world, Polly and Digory decide to send her back to the Wood Between Worlds. Trying to take Jadis back to her world, they end up in a black nothing world. Almost as soon as they arrive, they hear a song, singing the world into existence. It is Aslan, creating Narnia.
The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis is the prequel to The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. This story is interesting because it is Lewis’s take on the creation story. It also explains how the wardrobe from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe came into existence and how the White Witch became an eternal being of evil in Narnia. Following Lewis’s M.O., this story is about children who are learning about their place in the world. As always, Lewis offers many religious parallels in the story which offer an even more enchanting tone. The religious overtones give a deeper meaning to the battle of good and evil and show how someone as young as Digory and Polly can make a difference. While this is a prequel, certain elements do not add up if The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is read immediately after, such as the Deep Magic which is not discussed in this novel. This is a minor plot hole, however, and does not distract from the overall story of the creation of Narnia. Overall, this story is an excellent prequel to the famous classic.