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Editorial Reviews

If you've only seen the movie, you haven't really experienced the full power of The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe.Four siblings enter a wardrobe and find themselves in Narnia, a magical, but dark wintry land ruled by the evil White Witch. In many ways darker and deeper than the Harry Potter series, the story takes on a life of its own in the reverential and spirited voice of Michael York. The beauty of the story owes much to the real world background of England during World War II. The four young heroes and Aslan the lion are lovingly created and detailed, and audio brings them to brighter life in one's imagination than any movie or visual recording can.Michael York's reading of this treasure is as enchanting as the story. His British accent is fitting, all intonations are perfect, and he adds just the right amount of drama in all the right places. Have your family gather around your favorite speakers for this one, or save it for yourself -- a perfect antidote to a rainy day.

Publisher's Summary

Narnia...the land beyond the wardrobe door, a secret place frozen in eternal winter, a magical country waiting to be set free.

Lucy is the first to find the secret of the wardrobe in the professor's mysterious old house. At first her brothers and sister don't believe her when she tells of her visit to the land of Narnia. But soon Edmund, then Peter and Susan step through the wardrobe themselves. In Narnia they find a country buried under the evil enchantment of the White Witch. When they meet the Lion Aslan, they realize they've been called to a great adventure and bravely join the battle to free Narnia from the Witch's sinister spell.

This was the first book written in The Chronicles of Narnia. It now stands as the second book in the series, preceded by The Magician's Nephew.

Don't miss any of the books in C.S. Lewis' classic Chronicles of Narnia series.
©1950, 1978 C.S. Lewis Pte. Ltd (P)2000 HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"The only thing better than exploring Narnia with your children is having Michael York do it with you. With his precise, but lively, British accent, he eases listeners into the mysterious world hidden behind the wardrobe." (AudioFile) "This classic tale celebrates its 50th anniversary with a delightful audio rendition. Actor Michael York's reading is a perfect match for this story." (School Library Journal)

What members say

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  • Overall
  • Valerie
  • Boalsburg, PA, USA
  • 08-05-05

Sound level a small problem

There ARE no lovelier fantasy tales for readers (and listeners) of all ages than the Narnia books. I greatly enjoyed this version. However, I found the variations in the volume in this audiobook to be problematic. They added to the dramatic effect, but Aslan's roars were often painfully loud, while narrative and dialogue were sometimes too soft. I couldn't seem to find a volume level that worked with either (1) my ears or (2) my MP3's players ability to equalize it.

49 of 50 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Phebe
  • Joppa, MD, United States
  • 01-09-12

Suitable for children

Michael York read this classic, and I doubt he read and loved it as a child. He reads it as if to a child --- the same is true of Derek Jacobi's reading of "Voyage of the Dawn Treader." So if you want this audio book for a child, that's fine. If you want it for you, it lacks depth. More could have been gotten out of it.

The best reading of C.S. Lewis I have found so far is Kenneth Branagh reading "The Magician's Nephew," the first in the Narnia storyline. In my opinion, it's a labor of love: he loved it as a child and really knows the book and how to read it.

44 of 45 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Caitlin
  • Petersburg, IL, USA
  • 06-01-05

Great audiobook!

This is only my second foray into the land of audiobooks (after my first with Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein") and I am again pleased that I decided to use my commute time wisely! "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" has always been one of my favorite stories and I have not read it in almost 10 years. I'm so bogged down with other books I'm reading at the moment, so I decided to "read" it while in the car. The best part about this book, other than the lovely story, beautiful imagery, and wonderful characters, is Michael York's interpretation of the story. Other reviewers found him annoying, but I appreciated how he differentiated the characters. His enthusiasm during Lucy's discovery of Narnia is particularly wonderful. I enjoyed listening to this book very much and I highly recommend both the book and this particular audio version as well. Happy listening!

60 of 65 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Good story, but the volume was all over the place

The difference between narration and diologue volume was a bit much. I had to constantly adjust the volume as I was listening because the narrator would speak rather softly, then as soon as someone said anything with any amount of emphasis, I'd have to turn the volume down to keep the audio at the same level.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Not bad...

I liked actually reading this better. As much as I've liked some of Michael York's screen acting, I didn't quite appreciate his reading. It was a bit slow, and his voice didn't change much between characters.
The story itself is excellent, as always, but seemed to progress a bit slower than when I actually read it. Children would be able to follow along easily, though.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Classic comes alive

What made the experience of listening to The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe the most enjoyable?

The story is wonderful and not just for children. Michael York's reading made it come alive.

What did you like best about this story?

The reader can suspend disbelief and truly go through the magical wardrobe.

Which character – as performed by Michael York – was your favorite?

I enjoyed hearing Edmund's voice as he goes through all too human failings.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

It was great to listen to the book a bit at a time and let the magic sink in.

Any additional comments?

CS Lewis' Christian message seems a bit heavy handed to the 21st century reader, but still powerful and poignant.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Tom
  • USA
  • 11-14-05

Bring on the movie!

My son has gotten so many good books in audio lately and this is one of the better ones. My wife and I enjoyed listening to this. For anyone expecting another Lord of the Rings, this isn't it. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is a children's story of old, and like all children's stories of old it has a certain refreshing simplicity.

14 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Great series!

I highly recommend the whole series. The audio quality is great and the the narrators use entertaining voices for the different characters. Plus, it's cool to hear famous people like Kenneth Branaugh and Patrick Stewart reading. All the narrators in the series do a great job.

If you're a Christian, I also recommend reading some of C.S. Lewis's theology before reading the series because you see many of his theological ideas surface throughout the series and I think it adds richness to the experience.

If you're not a Christian, I still think the books are enormously entertaining and I remember enjoying them as a child before I knew that C.S. Lewis was a Christian and long before I was a Christian myself.

12 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Classic story, poorly performed

What did you love best about The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe?

Fantastic story, as good as when I first read it as a kid.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

The narrator (and sound engineer) really messed up this audio book in two ways. First, the narrator's choice of voices for one of the characters was so irritating that it made us (me, wife, 2 kids) want to stop listening. Fortunately, that was mostly just at the beginning.

The sound engineer let the volume vary so much between the dialogue (LOUD!) and narration (quiet) that you could not just passively listen to the story while, say, on a long road trip. You had to constantly monitor and adjust the volume because otherwise you were going to either miss parts the story or blow your speakers (which, when combined with one of the irritating voices mentioned above, was like an ice pick in the head).

This is a classic tale, it should have been a cake walk.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?


Any additional comments?

Still worth listening to but if an alternative version was available, I'd suggest going for that one.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

A magical beginning

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is a classic children's story if there ever was one. The upcoming movie promises to be equally as brilliant and original as this when it was first published some 50 years ago.

In case you who don't know, the first dramatization of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was done in 1988 by the BBC. The movie has a distinctive British flair and is well done. It's out on DVD and VHS with a few nice extras.

Unlike the previous reviewer, I thought this audio edition was well done. It shows it's age a bit, I think the original recording was done several years ago to celebrate the 50th anniversary.

47 of 58 people found this review helpful