For those of you paying attention to our Chronicles of Narnia book reviews, you may have noticed that I am going out of order in the way the Narnia books are often organized. If you own at set of books, you will see that book one is The Magician’s Nephew. Meanwhile, I began with The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe and then Prince Caspian. The reason behind this is that I am reviewing them in the order in which they were released by C.S. Lewis.
To that end, the next book in the series is The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. For those of you who did not see the movie rendition when it was released in 2010, do yourself a favor and rent it on Netflix tonight. Of the books turned movie, this was perhaps the most well-done, at least from a Christian parent’s perspective.
A borrowed summary reads, “Lucy and Edmund Pevensie return to Narnia with their cousin Eustace where they meet up with Prince Caspian for a trip across the sea aboard the royal ship the Dawn Treader. Along the way they encounter dragons, dwarves, merfolk, and a band of lost warriors before reaching the edge of the world.”
The movie does not entirely follow the book, but there are some thrilling scenes to behold, and the Christian references in the movie are the most explicit. Without ruining the plot, there is a powerful allegory comparison made between Aslan and Christ himself that children will understand.
The Dawn Treader book is crucial to the whole Narnia series in several ways, one of which is the introduction of the character Eustace Scrubb, who appears in other books in the Chronicles. The opening line of the book says, “There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.”
The transformation of Eustace from a snobby, cowardly, childish, annoying little boy to a redeemed one is remarkable. It involves the assistance of Reepicheep the mouse, one of C.S. Lewis most endearing characters in all of Narnia.
In the book, as with the movie, there are some suspenseful moments that may frighten the youngest readers and viewers. With that caution aside, this sea-faring adventure of a book is one of the most delightful in all of the Narnia series. It will entertain, uplift and challenge us all to live a more virtuous life, by the grace of God.