July 25, 2013

Finding God in the Land of Narnia, by Bruner and Ware


Chronicles of Narnia Reading Challenge

The month of July means many things...Independence Day, getting older, family camp, and the Narnia Reading Challenge hosted by Reading to Know.  It's great to have an excuse to get back to Narnia!

Earlier this month my daughter thrilled me when she lamented, "I wish we had the real books." She was holding a picture book of Narnia in her hand.  We have listened to a few of the titles on audio before.  We actually do own the big all the books in one volume book (a gift from my husband when we were engaged), but we have not been able to locate it.  Crazy, huh?  However, when we were at the library she grabbed The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe for her own reading.  Quite honestly, I wonder if it is beyond her comprehending skills for independent reading.  We'll see.  I know she'd love the movie, but I know it's a bit too intense for her still.  There are cartoon versions available, too, but it's not quite the same...

On my wishlist for the family is The Chronicles of Narnia pop-up book by several illustrators, including Matthew Reinhart.  We have the Star Wars version that is amazing, and we would all enjoy this one, I am certain.  (Anyone have it and can agree or disagree?)  I think it may be wise to invest in the individual books, too, as I find them used.

This year, Finding God in the Land of Narnia was the only Narnia-related book I managed to read during the Narnia Challenge.  Yet, reading this book was a bit like diving into the whole series and remembering some of my favorite pieces.  And I must admit, I have only read the entire series once...about ten years ago...and I barely remember some of the books.  However, I have read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe at least three times and listened to it at least another time or two.  I have reread and/or listened to a few other books as well.

Last summer I won the book Finding God in the Land of Narnia from my friend's blog, Bluerose's Heart.  Though it is a short (and smallish) book, I didn't manage to read it during last year's Narnia Challenge.

If you have read the entire series of Narnia, you might agree with me that it is The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe which best represents God's character and His love for us, the children He created.  The scene of the stone table is one that stays with the reader long after the book is closed just as the death and resurrection of Jesus are not to be forgotten by us.  I appreciated how authors Kurt Bruner and Jim Ware reminded readers that all of the books represent God and how we relate to Him in some way.

Within the book you'll find summaries of a book scene, Narnia quotes, reflections and verses from the Bible, C.S. Lewis quotes (and information), and passion for Narnian things! Narnia is a land where animals speak and a Lion redeems.  In this magical land
"Magic promises power, power to influence the course of the cosmos and to have our own will and way.  Faith, by contrast, offers us communion with a wise and loving Father.  Which will you choose?"
These authors also wrote Finding God in the Lord of the Rings.  I don't particularly agree with the beginning of this quote from the introduction (and I discussed it with my husband a bit who has read both series a number of times), but I certainly like the ending : "With the possible exception of J.R.R. Tolkien, no twentieth-century writer  more masterfully married the enchantment of fantasy with the enrichment of faith.  The Narnia stories are like a meal with the nourishment of meat and vegetables but taste of cake and candy."

What do YOU think?  I think Wardrobe, specifically has such strong ties with Jesus I have a hard time looking past it to Rings.  But then again, I have only seen the LotR movies and have not read the books.

Finding God in the Land of Narnia is not exactly unique.  There are many other books that are also about Narnia and faith, though I haven't read them.  (Click that link and scroll down to the "Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought" section.)  I like how this book keeps the focus upon God through the character of Aslan.  Though the target audience may be adults, I would certainly encourage an interested child to read it.  The short chapters are motivating for anyone.

Chronicles of Narnia Reading ChallengeWe also own a fabulous tool that serves a different purpose worth mentioning: ROAR: A Christian Family Guide to the Chronicles of Narnia.  It is a unique resource in that it discusses every book AND every chapter within each of the Narnia books.  It has additional information, quotes, Bible verses, discussion questions, thoughts for parents, and more.  It would be an excellent resource for not only families, but Christian schools, too!  I enjoy skimming it (as it is a book to be used in conjunction with the actual books.)  (If you like the idea of a more in-depth look at each book of Narnia, books are devoted to the discussion of each Narnia title!)

So...have you visited Narnia lately?

~ Annette {This Simple Mom} Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. By purchasing an item through a link, I will earn a small percentage. Thank you!

11 comments:

  1. This was so interesting, Annette! If Finding Narnia is the book I think it is, one or both of the authors are profs at the university my son attends. I do love the quote about vegetable and candy!! How are you doing these summer days? Miss you at FFF!

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    1. Summer has been busy, but August (and down time) are around the corner! I miss FFF too...I stopped because I felt that I couldnt' really take the time to visit and comment to as many as I'd like each week.

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  2. That pop up book is awesome!!!! Gorgeous work!!!! I have a pop up book collection and it puts them all to shame, as much as I still love them all. ;) I've been meaning forever to "review" it on my blog. I may take some pictures and get it up before the month is over. I grabbed my copy at BAM when it was on the bargain shelf for $5.97(with 20% off coupon). I looked at it with the boys just a couple of weeks ago, and tried to keep them from grabbing at it. :) It's definitely a great investment for the Narnia fans!

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    1. I am so excited to know that the pop-up book is awesome. I am adding it to the family gift list!

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  3. I'll have to keep that in mind for next year. I'm about to finish the last of the series, so that looks like a good overview/refresher. I read The Way Into Narnia (reviewed here: http://barbarah.wordpress.com/2011/08/02/book-review-the-way-into-narnia/) the first time I participated in Carrie's challenge, and it really enhanced my reading of the series.

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    1. Thanks so much for linking to that review! It looks great!

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  4. I do hope you can read the LOTR books someday. I finally did (at 50!) and the movies are just a shadow of the beauty/friendship/courage of the books.

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    1. Thanks for your encouragement! I do want to read LotR someday!!

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  5. Hi Annette! I have to admit I haven't read any Narnia books since I read the first and possibly second for elementary school. I keep telling myself that I must get to them. This looks like an interesting book to read along with them.

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  6. My kids are so hard on books, that I don't really buy them pop-up books.

    You might try rereading the series again (really you've only read the entire thing once?) with an eye to how God works in all of them, it's really an interesting way to read.

    I can see God very easily in the Lord of the Rings, it's easier to see it in the books than in the movie.

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  7. Both great books! And I agree with everyone else...take the plunge with LOTR! You'll be glad you did!

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