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The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (The Chronicles of Narnia, Book 5) Mass Market Paperback – March 5, 2002
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The BBC Radio production of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is a delightful two-hour sail on the most fabulous ship in Narnia. Lucy and Edmund, with their dreadful cousin Eustace, get magically pulled into a painting of a ship at sea. That ship is the Dawn Treader, and on board is Caspian, King of Narnia. He and his companions, including Reepicheep, the valiant warrior mouse, are searching for seven lost lords of Narnia, and their voyage will take them to the edge of the world. Their adventures include being captured by slave traders, a much-too-close encounter with a dragon, and visits to many enchanted islands, including the place where dreams come true. The adaptation is faithful to its source, C.S. Lewis's series of Narnia books, which have provided exciting and uplifting tales for generations of children. BBC Radio does wonders with sound effects--the ship creaks in the wind, the sorrowful dragon roars lugubriously--and musical cues and interludes that keep the pacing dynamic. There's also a splendid cast of plummy British voices, making this far more than a book read onto cassette--it's an audio drama, as enjoyable as a trip to the theater. Grownups who buy this tape for their children will want to borrow it for themselves. (Running time: two hours, two cassettes) --Blaise Selby --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
From School Library Journal
Grade 4-8-In the third book in C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia (but the fifth installment in Focus on the Family's Radio Theatre production), Edmund and Lucy Pevensy along with their bratty cousin, Eustace, are transported through a painting into Narnia where they join Prince Caspian on a voyage to the west. The children are tested on this voyage, and visit strange lands and encounter unusual creatures. Eustace is turned into a dragon, and then helped to return to human form by Aslan, the lion god. This outstanding full-cast dramatization adheres closely to the book's text. Recorded in London, actor Paul Scofield is the storyteller, and other parts are dramatically read by other British actors. The production features sound effects and background music, which sometimes becomes obtrusive. While adults might find the story a little dated at times and the religious elements somewhat heavy handed, children will not notice and will enjoy the story. This is a more complete version of the story than the excellent BBC production available from Bantam Audiobooks (1998).
Louise Sherman, formerly Anna C. Scott School, Leonia, NJ
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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The Last Battle contains much of Lewis's theology of heaven (which he more fully explored in his novel "The Great Divorce" (the "divorce" is the separation between Heaven and Hell)), as well as in some of his stand-alone essays on the subject. We see who (Lewis believed) arrives in heaven and who does not, and why. We see a kind of purgatory, and his view of "the new heaven and new earth" of Scripture. We see what is allowed and not allowed in each (though it is not always explained just why some of the allowances and restrictions exist). He provides some great metaphors for the afterlife (Good and Evil) which are worth meditating on and appreciating.
Many who agree with the rest of Lewis's theology will disagree with some of his theology about heaven. But, as he says in one of his essays about belief in the Satan and demons, these are not crucial to the faith, they are opinions which he believes are the best answers we have at this point, and his faith (and ours) will not be thrown on the rocks if we discover the details to be otherwise.
This is probably one of my least favorite books in the Narnia series, but is a favorite of many. The setting of a voyage on the sea further opens up the world of Narnia, but the structure of the story seems to lend itself to a group of short stories rather than as much of a build to something big.