All the Things

A blog by Holly Papa.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis Illustrated by Pauline Baynes

by | Nov 15, 2008 | Blog | 5 comments

lionthewitchthewardrobeI have fond memories as a child reading this book. It was one of my favorites when I was kid and I wanted to share it with my children. I saw the Disney movie version when it came out in theaters in 2005 and really liked the movie. The special effects were so much better than an older movie version. It liked it a lot. So I had my daughter watch the movie and then to my horror I realized that she saw the movie before reading the book. Yikes! In my mind books are way better than movies. I didn’t want to ruin the book for her. Great!

So I got the book from the library and I read a chapter a day outloud to her. She really liked reading the book outloud, but she also knew the movie plot well and couldn’t wait until Aslan came to save day. (She yelled GO ASLAN during the movie and the book. Thank goodness we were at home.) It was interesting for me to read outloud because I kept hearing the child actors voices in my head with English accents and I kept seeing their faces as as the characters in the book. Kind of weirded my out.

I tend to like fantasy a lot and I like this one. Yeah there is some inherant sexism in the book and probably some other problems, but on the whole its a great story. I do keep in mind the C.S. Lewis was a product of his time just as much as we are of ours. I love that it is 4 children who journey to Narnia, a world of talking beasts and magic to defeat the evil White Witch who has made it always winter and never Christmas. I think it’s a wonderful Christian Fantasy book.

So did I ruin the experience for my daughter by having her watch the movie first? I’m not so sure. I think watching the movie helped pique her interest in the book. Afterall the book is a  little long for four year old. On the other hand I don’t think movies are necessarily the best way to motivate children to read. We are reading Prince Caspian right now so that she can watch the movie. Reading to me is so much more satisfying than watching a movie.

What do you think? How do movies based on books help or hinder reading? What has been your experience with books made into movies?


  1. Clare Bell

    I don’t think you did your daughter any harm by letting her see the Narnia movie. It was made by people who genuinely loved The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. I have read and re-read the Chronicles of Narnia for years, and I was absolutely enthralled by the movie, especially the portrayal of Aslan.

    I think it is a good idea, though, to have her read Prince Caspian first, so she can get her own ideas about the characters before she sees the movie. Actually, I think the Caspian movie combines Prince Caspian and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. And maybe some of The Silver Chair – I’m not sure.

  2. Bookie Woogie

    While reading JM Barrie’s Peter Pan as an adult I became mad – literally felt anger as I read – that I had ever been exposed to other versions prior. I LOVED the book – head over heals. I wished I could be experiencing all the characters and plot points for the first time via Barrie’s words. That’s strongest I’ve ever felt one way or the other.
    Movie versions serve a good purpose for me in motivating me to finally read the books before the films come out. I had always wanted to read Lord of the Rings, but probably never would have if not for the impending movies. I made sure I’d read it before they came out.

  3. caribookscoops

    Clare Bell – That’s good to know about the recent movie. I think people who have a love for the books will automatically make better movies from them. They want to see it portrayed more accurately. She really is enjoying listening while I read Prince Caspian outloud. It will be interesting to she her reaction to the movie and see if she notices differences between the two.

    Bookie Woogie – I agree. There is something special about reading a book before watching the movie. You can visiualize the characters the way you want and they sound the way you want. I’ve found that after watching movies made from books, the book characters suddenly look and sound like the movies. I’m not sure I liked it. I have found that movies can often motivate me to read the book before I see it.

  4. hollybookscoops

    Reading the book first is always the best option, imho. I was talking to a bunch of 9-12yo girls recently about Pride & Prejudice. Most loved the movies, and one (a book aficionado) looked at the ground, sighed and said, “I really wish I’d read the book before I watched the movie.” She hadn’t known there was a book before the movie, and had just barely finished the book. Luckily P&P is a timeless classic, so she still gets the book. But boy do I remember the first time I ever read the book. Gasp! SHock! WHat? He loves her? Oh what a beautiful moment. . .

    Which brings me to another point. Anyone going to see Twilight this weekend? I’ve read the book and decided to wait. I just am not up for hyperventiliating teenagers (not to mention middle aged women) while I watch a movie I’m excited to see, but not that desperate for. I have lots of friends going though- so I hope they have lots of fun and don’t think I’m a party pooper. I promise I’ll watch it some day and I’ll probably say I wish I’d gone when all my friends went. I saw the previews though, and must I say, the movie industry definitely didn’t use my version of the characters to pick the cast from.

    Okay, I’m done now. Sorry for rambling.

  5. caribookscoops

    hollybookscoops – well I agree. The book is better read first then the movie, which is why I will not be seeing Twilight for a while. I have not read them. I hear so many mixed things about the series. I guess I will have to read and see. Interesting that your little friend was disappointed about finding out that P & P movie came after the book. I think I would feel the same way.

    We are almost done with Prince Caspian and have the movie on hold at the library. So we will be watching it soon! I do a post about our experience with the movie and the book. Should be fun.


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