Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy are sent to live with their uncle in the country during the war because of the air raids in London. During their exploratory adventures in the old house, they find a passage through a large wardrobe into the secret country of Narnia. Lucy finds the secret first, but soon all four siblings encounter a lamp post in the wood, the hospitable Beavers, a dangerous witch, and the great and terrible Lion Aslan.

Most likely, the synopsis above isn’t necessary because you probably know the basic outline of this children’s classic, even if you’ve been living under a rock. And if you’re like me, you developed a nosy habit of peeking into other people’s closets as a child. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is the most famous of the Chronicles of Narnia for a reason. The book is extremely short, but through it’s tight writing it thrills with magical descriptions, gripping action, and memorable characters. I did put a few blinders in acknowledgment of the era on when confronted with the sporadic sexism, but at least I’m acknowledging the blinders.

During this read, I particularly enjoy the voice of the narrator, who speaks to the readers as if he’s letting them in a special story, even if it’s one in which grownups will not be particularly interested. I am also surprised that a good third of the book takes places in the real world, before all the siblings embark on their adventure. I love their uncle, particularly for his logical assessment of why Peter and Susan should trust Lucy. (What do they teach children at these schools?) Even though I was expecting it, Aslan’s sacrifice on the stone table is an unforgettable scene, and I am surprised how few details are in the book, and how well my own imagination preserved them.

Recommended for anyone still waiting for their Hogwarts letter!

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”