So, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is the one that started it all, but in the "new" order, it's the second one we read.
And it was, of course, fantastic.
The Story: I think most people know this story, which is the most famous of all of the Narnia stories. Four children (Susan, Peter, Edmund, and Lucy) are sent to the country to live in an old country house, and discover a passageway into Narnia completely by accident through the back of a wardrobe. The Narnia they find is much different than the idyllic place that found it's beginning in the previous book - it's always winter, and never Christmas. They meet The Witch (who is the Witch from Charn from The Magician's Nephew), and the Lion (of course, Aslan), and find out that they have a very important part to play in the salvation and the future of Narnia.
The Good: What isn't good about it? The characters are rich and deep, and sometimes conflicted (Edmund!) and the writing is wonderful, as expected. Some definite moral decisions are explored, and it was good to talk to Evalina about the issues. The different children each have different things to offer the reader, so everyone can find someone to connect with. Evalina liked Susan, because she was the older sister. The descriptions of the fantastical creatures were grand.
The Bad: There are some scary bits, and the witch is most assuredly evil. Since I had read this one before, I knew when to warn Evalina that something sad or scary might be coming up. As I mentioned in the write up for The Magician's Nephew, there is a lot of religious imagery (much more in this one! It's pretty blatant), but it didn't bother non-religious me, because the morals are solid and universal, so I don't really count that as bad, just something to be aware of.
The Verdict: Amazon lists this as ages 9+. It was great as a read aloud book for not-quite 6 Evalina. We read two chapters a night, at her insistence. She simply adored it. I loved reading it. We finished it in a little over a week, and again, we were also reading one of the Magic Schoolbus books along with it (one about Volcanos). Since I have not read any of the other books in the series, I cannot wait to see what comes next! This book is an absolute classic, and could be a stand alone book, even if you are not ready to commit to the whole series. There are so many reasons that it's a perennial favorite.
Evalina's "Book Report": Coming soon. Still have to upload the others. They are sitting next to my computer.