August 27, 2004

Llama-ette Reading Time

Last night, my six year old and I finished reading The Magician's Nephew - the first of C.S. Lewis' Narnia books in terms of Narnian chronology. When she realized that the magic wardrobe in The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe was made out of the wood of the magic tree planted by Digory in The Magician's Nephew and that Digory was none other than the old professor in the big house in LW&W, her face lit up like Times Square on New Year's Eve. Very satisfying to watch the penny drop.

For some reason, I find it hard to read the Narnia books aloud. Perhaps this is because some of Lewis' sentences run a bit long, perhaps it is because I'm so used to reading them to myself. Also, the characters can be tough. I can do a passibly somber voice for Aslan. For the White Witch, I try to imitate Margaret Hamilton's Wicked Witch of the West. The children, especially the girls, tend to be more of a problem. I've yet to hit on a really satisfactory way of conveying their individual personalities. And the animals run a wide gauntlet, from Bree the horse to the wicked cat in The Last Battle.

Getting this right is important to me because I've always believed that certain specific readings and images from one's youth stick in one's brain. I remember my 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Cook, reading Tom Sawyer to the class. She was an elderly lady with lots of silver hair. To me, she was the very embodiment of Aunt Polly. Still is, too. If I'm going to make the same kind of impression on my girls, I want it to be a good one.

UPDATE: I should have been more clear about the Witch. I use Hamilton's voice for her shriller moments, but I try for something more imperious when she is coming it the Queen Jadis. What was the name of the eviiiil Queen from Sleeping Beauty? Sort of a cross between that, Glenn Close and Kate Hepburn.

Posted by Robert at August 27, 2004 09:49 AM | TrackBack

"Ours is a high and lonely destiny." I think I got that quote right. It's been a long time since I read the books.

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