(Warning: Narnia spoilers in this post!)
Years ago Hans and I purchased a copy of The Complete Chronicles of Narnia. I had some knowledge of this C.S. Lewis classic but had never read it. It sat on our bookshelves until a few months ago when I read a few chapters in "The Magician's Nephew" (the first book in the series) to Jack. He thought it was too scary and we put it aside "until I am 5."
It became a joke between us; when selecting a book at bedtime I would sometimes offer Narnia and he would laugh and remind me he was not yet 5. Jack's birthday is months away and I'm bored with Fantastic Mr. Fox and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the Dragons of Blueland and Winnie the Pooh. In fact very especially bored with Winnie the Pooh; I'm so jaded that "the Enchanted Place" no longer has the power to make me cry. So when Hans went out of the town for the weekend recently and I had bedtime duty 3 nights in a row, I bribed Jack into reading Narnia. I offered him 5 extra minutes of Toki Tori play time for each chapter of Narnia. He went for it!
At first he complained about how much he didn't like it; that he was only listening for Toki Tori time. But then we drew near the end of "Magician's Nephew" and a curious thing happened. He started asking questions about the story. "Why is Jadis so evil?" "Why did eating the apple make her pale?" "How did Aslan die and come back to life?" And more. This is the first book we've ever read together to prompt so much thought and discourse. I'm not even sure how to answer most of the the questions, but we talk about it together and it's been a rich conversation. Sometime we will sit and read a few chapters in the middle of the day without any talk of Toki Tori time. And Aslan has been popping up in Jack's roller coaster drawings, which is a compliment of the highest order.
We've now finished the first book and started "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe." Narnia continues to prompt conversations and enchant both of us. I love the wry humor and Lewis's lovely descriptive writing. The queen is super scary! And Aslan is so powerful! I think I've found the children's book for me.