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The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe Review by Lisa Kjeldgaard

In the Hands of a Child - (Literature Project Pack)
6222 Pierce Street
Coloma, MI 49038

C.S. Lewis's classic, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, is often found in the core body of literature that homeschooling parents wish their children to read. If you're looking for a way to dig into this book with your children, this Literature Project Pack from In The Hands of A Child is worth looking at. The 60-page, hands-on unit gives parents all they need, including reproducibles, to create a folded file folder full of mini books children will make and write in as they explore this title.

The pack includes a sizeable Research Guide that begins with a brief biography of author C.S. Lewis and a two-page summary of the novel. Also included are a list of the book's characters, a brief review of the creatures found in Narnia, and discussions of Christian allegory. For each chapter of the book, the authors present a short summary, a relevant Scripture passage, and the Christian message portrayed in the chapter. The introduction section concludes with a vocabulary list and bibliography listing several websites the authors used in their research.

The activity section of the Project Pack begins with a list of ten concepts the students will cover while completing the activities to put into their file folder. The concepts are secular in nature--ranging from "What is Narnia?" to "Why does Aslan allow himself to be tied up and killed?" In parentheses following each concept is an additional question that extends the thought to include Christian aspects of the novel. For the above questions, the additional queries are, "Why were mythical creatures part of a story that tells a Christian Message?" and "How did the death and resurrection of Aslan compare to that of Jesus?" A reading schedule is provided, detailing the activities that correspond with each chapter. Each activity in the pack begins with an information sheet that outlines the chapters that should be read before beginning the activity, and then it lists the secular and Christian activities. Following this sheet you'll find the reproducibles necessary for that particular activity. Students will make fact books that look like a wardrobe and fill them with details of Lucy discovering Narnia for the first time. They'll create a large wheel with a picture of Aslan; when the wheel is turned, the children's idea of what a king should be like will show through the wheel's opening. Many more activities help student record their responses to thought-provoking questions.

Students completing this unit will have thoroughly examined this wonderful book and should have clear memories of the lessons drawn from their reading. I've read about file folder projects for many years but have yet to complete one with my children; this Project Pack makes the idea less daunting. The authors have created activities I know I wouldn't have come up with on my own, and they give clear directions for folding both the file folder and the mini books. For an additional cost, you can get a kit that includes all the copies you'll need as well as special supplies (such as brads) that may be necessary.

The ease of doing this unit with my children has a price; each of my children's folders will look the same. Done according to the directions, the mini books will all look the same. And the drawings used in the reproducibles are dull. (Using colored paper when making your photocopies will be a big help in livening up the end product.) Nevertheless, for only $12 and a quick download, this Literature Project Pack is definitely worth the cost--if only to finally encourage me to attempt a project that I know my children will love doing.

Product review by Lisa Kjeldgaard, MS, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, March 2007