I first read The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis when I was in either third or fourth grade. I had missed the family visit to the library because I was sick, and my mother picked this one up for me. I doubt that I would have picked it up on my own because I thought the title sounded boring. But I was bored so I read it.
And fell in love with Narnia and Aslan and the possibility that a different world was just around the corner.
I quickly read thru the rest of the books, in the original order. (Which is the ONLY way to read them. Ignore those silly numbers on the recently published books!) I was bored by The Horse and His Boy, didn't get The Last Battle (tho after reading it again in High School, FB has turned into one of my favorites), and liked the explanations found in The Magician's Nephew. But aside from that, I loved, loved, loved the series.
I recently reread LWW. I read it with a bit of fear: would I still love, love, love it? Would I be reading it with an adult eye, wincing at flaws? Would I say, what was I thinking? I have reread favorites from childhood and have been let down by the experience, so much so that each reread is entered into with equal parts fear and hope: fear that it won't be what it was, hope that it will stand up.
LWW stands up.
I had forgotten that the narrator speaks to the reader, in a way similar to The Tale of Despereaux and Lemony Snicket. And I still felt the excitement as coats made way for trees. I was surprised at the violence and how well Lewis described the battle without going overboard. No matter what anyone else says, I still think of Turkish Delight as fudge. I love that the children grow up in Narnia and return home accidentally.
And while I'm aware now of the Christian symbolism, I wasn't when I read it as a child; and it was much less than I thought it would be. (And by the way, I disagree with Philip Pullman about Narnia, Lewis & Christianity.)
The movie based on the book is coming out in December.