[#] A positive book review?

What? Has cent gone mad? Posting a books review which does not tell you"wait for this one to go to the bargain table"?

Listen: I don’t want to get the reputation of being the Rex Reed of internet apologists (for so many reasons), so I thought I better get something up here that actually encourages you to buy a book that is good and edifying.

45150: A Family Guide to NarniaThe book in question is Christin Dichfield's A Family Guide to Narnia, and let's get the negatives out of the way first to avoid ending on a sour note. One of the shortcomings of this book is that it is a superficial survey of the biblical themes of Lewis' 7-part chronicles. I say "superficial" because it doesn't seek to demonstrate critically the impact that the allusions to Biblical theology have on the meaning of the story. In the best case, all this book does is demonstrate that those allusions exist. I would also point out that some of the allusions Ms. Ditchfield points out are strained -- and in that, I leave it to the reader to go ahead and exercise good judgment in using this book to discuss the Biblical themes and allusions that are listed.

However, this book offers a LOT more than can be overshadowed by its shortcomings. While it is only a survey, it is not intended to be a Ph.D. thesis on the theology of Lewis' fiction: it is meant to be a discussion guide for parents to use with this series to guide their children back to the Bible.

Let me say, btw, that as a parent, you should read books to your kids (if they are young ones) and with your kids (if they are older ones). Reading to them is extraordinary quality time, and you can see things about their cognitive development and personal interests that you could never see in any other activity. If you have never read to your kids before, this would be a great opportunity to start.

In that encouragement, this book equips you to be a better tour guide for Narnia -- because I am sure many people reading this blog (and I say this in all humility, honestly, because we get letters …) do not think themselves great readers and great Bible scholars and are intimidated away from talking about what they have read or about the Bible because they do not have a Ph.D. In that, some of you might avoid reading to your children or with them because you are afraid you will look stupid.

The first major feature of A Family Guide to Narnia is its accessibility. It is written by a grade-school teacher who loves these books and wants others to love them, too. There are no big words. And the second excellent feature of this book is the introductions to each book -- which generally run about 2-3 pages. If you read these intros and then Lewis' books, your experience will be enriched 5-fold for the first time reader, and perhaps more for the returning reader who is plunging the depths of these excellent works.

The last, important major feature of this book is the chapter-by-chapter outline of Biblical themes and allusions. I would not say that Ms. Ditchfield "got them all", but I would say that she got all of the critical ones -- the ones which bring us from this wonderful fiction back to God's word as Lewis intended. As a tool for opening up a spiritual dialog with your children, this book cannot be beat.

For those of you who take notice of such things, this review comes with a link to buying this book from CBD. I'm not ashamed to tell you that I make a few pennies from each book you buy using that link, but I would also be well-pleased if you went to your local Christian retailer and bought it there -- if they have it on the shelf.

BTW, I am also going to review all 7 books of the chronicles prior to the release of the movie this fall (which will only be about book 2). You should read them before you see the movie -- or even if you don't intend to see the movie. Good Stuff.