Is there a book series you read and re-read over and over as a kid? For me, that series was The Chronicles of Narnia. I was first introduced to the series around age 6, and I recall being absolutely mesmerized by the stories of Aslan, Peter, Prince Caspian, and all the many other characters created by C.S. Lewis. Over the years I re-read the series multiple times, each time discovering something new to love about the tales. No matter how many times I’ve read the stories, I never want the adventure to end. So, imagine my joy when I opened Once Upon a Wardrobe by Patti Callahan! Not only does the adventure begin again, but the story behind the story gives new meaning and perspective to my childhood favorite.
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Once Upon a Wardrobe: Synopsis
Megs Devonshire is desperate to find a way to save her brother, George, though her logical brain knows that’s not possible. With each passing day, his heart weakens, leaving him essentially bed-bound while she is free to experience a life full of health and freedom. Megs wants to give George the world, so she sets out to do the impossible when he asks her to find out the truth about his favorite book, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.
Each time he reads the book, George escapes mentally and emotionally into the world of Narnia. Created by the celebrated author, C.S. Lewis, Narnia is a magical world of mythical and powerful creatures, including the all-powerful Aslan. George’s love for Aslan and the world of Narnia has consumed his days, his thoughts, and his dreams. He asks Megs to find Mr. Lewis, who just so happens that Mr. Lewis teaches at Oxford where Megs happens to study mathematics, to ask if Narnia is a real place. In an attempt to give her dying brother what he wants most, she sets out on a journey of the heart and the mind, into the magical worlds of Jack Lewis: Little Lea, the Kilns, the Bird & the Baby, and, of course, Narnia.
Once Upon a Wardrobe: Musings
Wow. Just wow! Of all the magical places I wanted to revisit, Narnia is the one! The Chronicles of Narnia changed my life as a kid. My mother first read them to me as a young girl, and I later re-read them as a young teen and again as an adult. Each time the stories were memorable, chiefly because these are powerful tales, rich with imaginative detail and adventure. And this origin story is no different.
The love felt between the characters is palpable. Megs’ pain is profound and deep, and George’s bravery is astonishing. Allowing this story to unfold is like watching a flower bloom, with each part of the process revealing another lovely detail that makes the overall image even more beautiful. Understanding, maturation, acceptance, grief, trust, faith, and a whole host of other feelings are woven into the words of this book. There were definitely tears shed at the closing of this powerful read, and I have no doubt it will be the same for any lover of Narnia.
Once Upon a Wardrobe: Rating
Ultimately, Once Upon a Wardrobe conjured up memories of my earliest reading memories, and, for that reason alone, I loved it. This book will live on my shelves forever, as I’m sure I’ll be re-reading the novel many times in the future. If Narnia meant something to you, please do not miss this powerful book new adventure in the land of lions, fawns, and witches. Once Upon a Wardrobe is a wonderful addition to any Narnia lover’s library, so be sure to grab a copy for them, too!
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