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Prince Caspian (Chronicles of Narnia, #2) by C.S. LewisI read this aloud to my older boy, age 6.
Its a good book, and he enjoyed it, but didnt ring the bell in the same way Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe did. I think the biggest reason for this, was that it wasnt as accessible to him.
The first issue was the non-linear story. Which has the potential to confuse. Later, Lewis splits the party in a way that divides the action in the story.
But the biggest issue is that the characters lapse into archaic, courtly English when the a bunch of the people are talking at the end of the book. (Because the siblings used to be kings and queens, and theyre talking with the nobility of the Telemarines.)
Its not just unfamiliar language to children. Its unfamiliar and archaic language. (Doubly archaic now, as Lewis wrote these 50 years ago.) My boy couldnt follow it at all, as there were 2-4 unfamiliar terms used in every sentence, and context can only stretch so far.) Because of that, Oot couldnt understand whole sections of the climax of the book, when the Telmarines were talking among themselves, and planning on betraying their king. (A vital plot point he couldnt get because it was only made explicit in this dialogue.)
As a result, I had to skim, skip, or summarize big chunks of the book so he could get it. Maybe in a year or two, he would have been fine. (Also, keep in mind that my boy is extremely vocabulary. Weve been reading to him since he was six months old. Results with your own child may vary.)
Sexism a little more present here, but not oppressive or malicious. Still, you cant deny that the boys go off to duel and do battle stuff, while the girls hang out with Aslan and go wake the trees.
This book had better characters that the first book of the series. Nikabrik is a great example of a good guy gone bad. Trumpkin and Trufflehunter are great as well.
But Reepicheep is the real star here. Perhaps the best character in all of Narnia, excepting Aslan himself.
Lastly, and mostly as a side note, Lewis really knocked it out of the park in terms of names. Nikabrik is a great name for a venomous black dwarf. Glenstorm the proud centaur. Wimbleweather the dim but kind giant.
And Reepicheep, of course. I dont know if a name has ever fit a character better than Reepicheep does....
Readings from Under the Grapevine
Once there were four children whose names were Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy, and it has been told in another book called The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe how they had a remarkable adventure. They had opened the door of a magic wardrobe and found themselves in a quite different world from ours, and in that different world they had become Kings and Queens in a country called Narnia. While they were in Narnia they seemed to reign for years and years; but when they came back through the door and found themselves in England again, it all seemed to have taken no time at all. At any rate, no one noticed that they had ever been away, and they never told anyone except one very wise grown-up. That had all happened a year ago, and now all four of them were sitting on a seat at a railway station with trunks and playboxes piled up round them.
The book begins with an explanation of how Prince Caspian came to be. It will surprise many readers to know that Lewis first began another story that was intended to stand as the second in the series. But this book led to a false start and a story that was left unfinished. After wrestling for some time, Lewis experienced a burst of creativity and, in eighteen months, completed four new works, one of which was Prince Caspian. He lists three areas where he felt the movie improved upon the book and then several ways in which it falls short.
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