Welcome once again to Raych Reads Children’s Classics for Class Credit. H’ok, so The Princess and the Goblin is one of those obscure books that we happened to have in our house as children but that, like, five other people have read, and Little Women is a book we all need to have read because that’s what we do, we Read Books, and we don’t like other books referencing Jo’s tomboy ways if we don’t know what they’re talking about, right? But even if it wasn’t a classic and part of a dream-like series and the subject of a wicked 1988 BBC tv series and a so-bad-it’s-good 1979 animated film and also that enormous summer hullabaloo of 2005, I’d still urge you to read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. It’s THAT fabulous.
But since it has been all those things, and odds are you’ve seen one of the movies if you haven’t read the book, you probably know about li’l Lucy wandering into the wardrobe and finding the secret land of Narnia. And about her siblings’ eventual discovery of the same, and about the White Witch who holds sway over the land of Narnia so that it’s always winter and never Christmas, and about the arrival of the mysterious Aslan, whose name sends shivers of delight or horror (depending on whether you are good, sensible Susan or bastardy, treacherous Edmund) down the spine.
The whole time I was reading this to myself, I was reading it to my future children in my mind. Do you do this, oh ye without kids? Did you do this in your child-free years? Every time I got to the end of a chapter, I’d be all like, And then what happened? And then I’d tell myself that I’d find out tomorrow, and then I’d beg and plead for just one more chapter, and eventually I’d give in, because I don’t have seventeen days to read this little nugget.
But I fully intend to read this to my babies before I let them watch the movies, and ditto with The Lord of the Rings and various other blockbuster-come-latelys. Dear reader, does it sadden you that your kids will never get to read any of the classics ‘for the first time,’ because their ‘first time’ will almost inevitably be on film? This is where I get all elitist and snarky, all ‘I loved LOTR back when it was subversive and nerdy and I have impeccable, foresighted taste, and anyone who saw the movies first is no-wise a true fan.’ This is also where I get all fist-shaking senior citizen on the world, all ‘Things were better in my day, when children read dabbles of INK on pieces of BARK, and we had to MAKE UP what the words were saying, because there was no written language at the time.’
I tell you, if I had me the time, I’d sit down and read right through to The Last Battle (which, incidentally, I hardly ever read because endings are SO SAD, even when they’re happy endings), but I don’t. But YOU do! Do it, do it! Read it to your babies!