The Magician's Nephew, C S Lewis, HarperCollins Inc, 1955, 221p
The next-to-last of The Chronicles of Narnia, per the original order, The Magician's Nephew is one of the few in the series which I had not read before. It is the tale of how Aslan created a world in which Narnia was a country. It is the weakest writing of all the books and I found it predictable, not exciting and really rather a flop.
Digory is the nephew of a dilettante magician and the son of an ill and dying mother. His friend Polly lives next door. Digory is bored and worried about his mother so he pursues the uncle's magic for something to do and with a vague hope of finding a cure for his mum. Polly comes along for the adventure.
Naturally they end up in the magical worlds, meet Aslan, as well as the wicked woman who will become the Witch in Narnia. Digory is not all that bright but being the boy, he gets to lead all the adventures while Polly is the level-headed and compassionate one.
Well, I suppose I can see why the creator of a fantasy world would want to explain its creation but I think the Narnia chronicles could have gotten along fine without this volume. I am also concerned that since the release of the movie version of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, this book is now sold as the first in the series. It would have put me off the whole thing while The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe hooked me into reading almost all of them as a child.
(The Magician's Nephew is available in paperback in the fantasy section of Once Upon A Time Bookstore.)