ABSTRACT

C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia are among the most successful of a long line of books for children which use the device of transporting children into a world outside our everyday world of experience. 1 In such worlds, we can encounter different kinds of tiny creatures, different historical moments and landscapes, and child heroes can have adult-scale adventures. The child reader can bear the terrors of moral choices in which the death of goodness is at stake, in the knowledge that the children facing these also have a secure place back home in the ordinary world of family life and school, where adults are of human dimensions, and children’s responsibilities are limited. Lewis described the books as ‘fairy tales’, and drew attention to the implicit appeal to both adults and children of this genre and his writing, and the series is one which can be read at multiple levels of sophistication. The popularity of the Narnia books is in part based on the satisfaction available to adult and child in a shared reading, and the possibility for a child to re-read old favourites at changing levels of understanding.