Marshmallow reviews The Silver Chair (Book 4 of the Chronicles of Narnia) by C. S. Lewis

The book bunny family has spent several happy hours listening to C. S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia books in the publishing order these last few months. Marshmallow was ahead of us of course, and she had already read them all before we had even begun listening. Below she writes about the fourth book (sixth in the chronological order): The Silver Chair.

Marshmallow reviews The Silver Chair by C. S. Lewis.
Marshmallow reviews The Silver Chair by C. S. Lewis.

Marshmallow’s quick take: If you liked the first three Narnia books (or five, depending on which order you’re reading them in), then this might be the book for you.

Marshmallow’s Summary (with spoilers): While at school, Eustace Scrubb describes to Jill Pole the magical land of Narnia, which he had visited in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (book 3 in the publishing order). When bullies at school start to chase them, Eustace and Jill run into a shed to escape them. They open the shed door and inside the shed there is a beautiful land. They find themselves on the top of a very, very, VERY tall cliff. It is so high that the clouds are way below it. Eustace is scared of being so high up. (I would be scared too.) Jill, though, cannot see the bottom, so she scoffs at Eustace and says that he is a scaredy-rabbit. She then goes to the edge of the cliff to show off that she is not scared and looks down. Eustace tries to pull her away from the edge of the cliff, but she shoves him away and accidentally pushes him off the cliff. Immediately a lion comes and starts blowing at him so Eustace’s flight is smoother. The lion later tells Jill that he has blown him to Narnia.

When the lion leaves, Jill starts crying. Then she realizes that she is very thirsty. She finds a stream, but next to the stream there is a lion again. She is scared that the lion will eat her, but she is very thirsty. The lion then says that if she is thirsty then she should come and drink. She asks if he will promise not to eat her. The lion says that he makes no promises. Then she asks if he will move away while she is drinking from the stream. He says nothing but Jill thinks that he will not. In the end, Jill still decides that she has to drink water and she drinks from the spring. Then the lion explains their quest to Jill.

The lion explains that Prince Rilian of Narnia, the one and only son and heir to the throne of Caspian the Tenth or Caspian the Seafarer, disappeared while hunting for the giant snake that stung and killed his mother, the queen. Their mission is to find the prince and bring him to his father. Can they succeed?

Marshmallow is pointing at Pauline Baynes' illustration of Puddleglum the Marsh-wiggle, a character from The Silver Chair.
Marshmallow is pointing at Pauline Baynes’ illustration of Puddleglum the Marsh-wiggle, a character from The Silver Chair.

Marshmallow’s review: This is my favorite Narnia book. It is an old classic and its age shows a bit. For example, Jill cries a little bit too much; I just didn’t like how she was portrayed. But she at least does know a lot of stuff; I liked her more than Lucy and Susan, the other main female characters in the Narnia books. 

Otherwise, this is a good book overall. The story is well told and well written. The plot is very successful and intriguing. I think someone who has not read any of the other Narnia books might still enjoy reading this book, but of course the back stories of the main characters add to one’s understanding of the whole story.

Marshmallow’s rating: 90%.

Marshmallow rates C. S. Lewis' The Silver Chair 90%.
Marshmallow rates C. S. Lewis’ The Silver Chair 90%.

Marshmallow reviews Half Magic by Edward Eager

This week Marshmallow reviews a 1954 classic, Half Magic by Edward Eager, the first book in his Tales of Magic series.

Marshmallow reviews Half Magic by Edward Eager.
Marshmallow reviews Half Magic by Edward Eager.

Marshmallow’s quick take: If you like books about magical charms, and adventure stories about a handful of siblings, then this might be the book for you.

Marshmallow’s Summary (with spoilers): The four siblings Jane, Mark, Katharine, and Martha are expecting to have a very boring summer. That is until they find the charm. The charm that works by halves. If you made a wish while touching the charm, then half of your wish would come true. So in order to get your whole wish you would have to say it in this fashion. Let’s say you wish is to have a dog appear then you would say that you wanted two dogs to appear because if you wished that one dog would appear then one half of a dog would appear. (You probably wouldn’t want to have half of a dog.)

Wishing for two times some things is a cinch, but other doubled wishes only cause twice as much trouble. What is half of twice a talking cat? Or to be half-again twice not-here? And how do you double your most heartfelt wish, the one you care about so much that it has to be perfect?

The children decide that they will take turns to use the charm. It turns out that other people have knowledge of the charm that grants wishes and they happen to want the charm. In a desert, which they travel to on Mark’s wish — he wants a desert island but the charmed coin takes them to a desert –. a man tries to abduct Jane, Mark, Katharine, and Martha. When he realizes that they have the charm, he says that they stole it from his people. 

On Katharine’s turn to make a wish, they travel into the story of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. They help stop Morgan Le Fay, an evil sorceress in this retelling of the myth, from kidnapping and killing the Knights of the Round Table.

Marshmallow is pointing toward one of her favorite parts of the book, where Jane makes a foolish decision. Here Jane is wishing that she belonged to a different family.
Marshmallow is pointing toward one of her favorite parts of the book, where Jane makes a foolish decision. Here Jane is wishing that she belonged to a different family.

They have some problems though, before they figure out how to use the charm. For instance, Martha wishes that she was not at the place she was and since she didn’t say it the way you need to, she became half there and half not there. The children eventually learn how to use it, and in the end, they have a very exciting summer, not at all the one they thought lay ahead.

Marshmallow’s Review: Half Magic is a classic and I think a great read for all ages. Written in 1954, it successfully entertained children for many years and probably will do the same for many to come. I enjoyed Half Magic very much and look forward to reading more about these characters in Edward Eager’s other novels.

Marshmallow’s rating: 100% 

Marshmallow rates Half Magic by Edward Eager 100%. And she adds: "May the Fourth Be With You!"
Marshmallow rates Half Magic by Edward Eager 100%. And she adds: “May the Fourth Be With You!”

Marshmallow reviews Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren

Marshmallow reviews an old favorite: Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren.

Marshmallow reviews Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren.
Marshmallow reviews Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren.

Marshmallow’s quick take: If you like books about kids with extraordinary life styles, then this might be the book for you.

Marshmallow’s summary (with spoilers): Pippi Longstocking lives in a small house called Villa Villekulla with her horse and her monkey Mr. Nilsson. The town that Villa Villekulla is in has an extraordinary time with Pippi living there. Pippi has many adventures including going to the circus and saving two boys’ lives.

Soon after she moves in to her new home, Pippi makes two new friends, Tommy and Annika. They go to picnics and tea parties together (with Mr. Nilsson the monkey). While at a picnic, Pippi attempts to fly and fails miserably. At a circus, Pippi angers the people performing and beats the “strongest” man in the world. (Pippi is the strongest girl in the world and therefore beats him in a fight that the owner of the circus challenges the audience to. (The circus chapter is my favorite besides the one where Pippi goes to school.)

Pippi is not always welcomed with open arms. A boy named Bengt tries to taunt Pippi and pays the price. No one messes with Pippilotta Delicatessa Windowshade Mackrelmint  Efraim’s Daughter Longstocking, Daughter of Captain Efraim Longstocking, formerly the Terror of the Sea (in Swedish, according to Wikipedia: Pippilotta Viktualia Rullgardina Krusmynta Efraimsdotter Långstrump).

The people who live in the town think that a child should not be living alone, so they send two police men to go and escort Pippi to a Children’s Home. (If violence is necessary they will use it.) Later that afternoon the policemen come rushing out and tell the people that she is not fit for an orphanage.   

Pippi is always happy and is almost never mad. She has a good sense of humor but desperately lacks an education. She does not know what the letter “i” is.  She also lies a lot and makes up a lot of stories.

Marshmallow’s Review:  I think that if you read this book then you will soon like Pippi. She is a very likable character but is not always very smart. She also lies a lot so she is probably not a very good role model. But she is strong and independent and always sees the good side of things.

The first Pippi book was written in 1945, and there were quite a few times I noticed it was an old book. But I could move beyond these reminders of past times and expectations and still enjoy the book. Pippi can be really silly and very entertaining.  She always means well but she is pretty wild. So her adventures are really fun to read. But do not copy what she does! (Her pancake making, for instance, is very unusual.)

The author Astrid Lindgren wrote several other books about Pippi. (And I have seen a movie version, but I was a baby bunny back then, and I was quite scared by all the action. But that was a long time ago and I don’t remember much, so maybe I should just watch it again.)

Overall Pippi Longstocking is a very good book. I know I will read it again.  

Marshmallow’s rating: 100%

Marshmallow rates Pippi Longstocking 100%.
Marshmallow rates Pippi Longstocking 100%.