C. S. LEWIS' LETTERS TO CHILDREN by Marjorie Lamp Mead


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This small selection of letters from Lewis to child-readers of the Narnian tales is slight in inself--mainly gratitude for their responsiveness, explanations of the books' order, bits of nature-observation, personal congratulations and regrets--but it is also expressive throughout of his identification with childhood thoughts and feelings, and his sense of literary and religious vocation. "It is so interesting to hear exactly what people do like and don't like, which is what grown-up readers never really tell." Children always know who Asian is, Lewis writes, while adults never do--but he also cautions against assuming that "everything in the books 'represents' something." To another, similar inquiry: "I'm not exactly 'representing' the real (Christian) story in symbols. I'm more saying 'Suppose there were a world like Narnia and it needed rescuing and the Son of God (or the 'Great Emperor oversea') went to redeem it, as He came to redeem ours, what might it, in that world, all have been like?'" (Other topics: varieties of reality/fantasy mix, the distinction between allegory and romance.) One poignant letter is addressed to the mother of a boy concerned that he loved Aslan more than Jesus. The same child--an American like many of Lewis' young correspondents--later wondered why the children in The Last Battle didn't know about resurrection after death. Lewis' grave, cheery, heartfelt replies may be a special treat to the reading-and-writing child, as well as to the adult Lewis flock.
Pub Date: April 11th, 1985
ISBN: 0684823721
Page count: 132pp
Publisher: Macmillan
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1985