In honor of Carrie‘s Chronicles of Narnia Reading Challenge, I am designating this week as Narnia Week here at Hope Is the Word. I have the ideas for several Narnia-related posts running around in my brain, and I hope to get them all out here this week. We’ll see how it goes.
My first introduction to Narnia happened when I was about ten years old. The summer after my third grade year, my father was transferred to St. Louis, Missouri, with his job. It was supposed to be a temporary transfer, so my family just sort of hung out in the St. Louis area for the summer–living in a hotel, swimming in the hotel pool, you know–the good life. 😉 However, this temporary transfer turned into a two-year tenure in St. Louis, so my family eventually moved into an apartment complex in a St. Louis suburb. While we lived there, we had a little neighbor girl named Mandy, and she became friends with my sister and me. Mandy’s mother read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe aloud to us while we were at their apartment playing. I really do not remember my first reaction to the stories, but it must’ve been a positive one because it was while we were living in Missouri that I asked for and received (for Christmas, I think) the boxed set of Narnia books that I still have (and read) today. This set looks a lot like mine (worn places and all), except mine is white:
Since this was the first set of Narnia books I called my own, I will always associate these cover illustrations with the stories:
These cover illustrations are by Roger Hane, a paperback book illustrator. I much prefer Pauline Baynes’ illustrations (and others’, as well–particularly Chris Van Allsburg’s), but these rather eighties-looking covers will always be a part of my imagination.
Mandy’s mother also introduced us to Narnia through music. I remember an album with an illustration of Aslan emblazoned on the front. I’ve tried and tried to locate the titles or lyrics to some of the songs I remember from this album, but I have not been successful. I remember a song (sung by Lucy) that goes something like this: “Edmund, oh Edmund, please tell them the truth! / That you’re not lying, oh Edmund, please tell them the truth!” Another one, sung by Edmund, goes like this: “Turkish Delight! What surprise!/ Just by one bite–hypnotized!” Does anyone recognize this? I would love to be able to put these songs to rest in my mind by hearing (or ast least reading) the rest of the lyrics. 🙂 I assume these songs are from a musical or dramatic production of some kind since the songs are from the characters’ points of view.
It’s really neat to me now to think that a woman whom I knew only briefly introduced me through reading aloud to a world that I later embraced fully in my imagination. (It just goes to show that one never knows the influence of reading aloud to a child.) I’m pretty sure I went on to read a few of the books as a child, but I didn’t make it all the way through the series until I was in college and chose Lewis as the subject of a lengthy research project. Since then, I’ve come to appreciate Lewis and Narnia in ways I couldn’t have as a child. Isn’t that the beauty of Narnia?
I have some fun things planned for Narnia Week, not the least of which is a fantastic giveaway! Of course, it wouldn’t be any fun to just come right out with what the giveaway is, so I’m going to post a teaser each day until Friday. Be sure to come back each day this week and leave a comment on my Narnia posts (marked with Carrie’s beautiful button like at the top of this post). Just tell me something about Narnia–your favorite character, how you were introduced to Narnia, which book you hope to read next, whatever. All of the comments from all of the Narnia posts will be eligible to win the prize, so there will be lots of chances to enter. (Just be sure to always leave your email address or blog where I can contact you.)
Are you ready for your first sneak peek? 🙂
I promise, this giveaway is too good to miss, so come back tomorrow (and every day this week) and let’s go into the wardrobe together!