We took a little while longer than normal to read The Horse and His Boy, because life got in the way, but we really enjoyed it.
The Story: In a land to the South of Narnia called Calormen, which seems kind of "arabian" in culture, a young boy named Shasta meets a Talking Horse named Bree, and learns that he, like Bree, is from Narnia, and not Calormene at all. He escapes with Bree from his "home," where he was little better than a slave, and sets out to return to their homeland of Narnia in the North. Along the way, they meet another kidnapped Narnian Horse, Hwin, and her rider, Aravis, who has run away from a forced marriage. They go through much adventure on their way to Narnia, even running across the path of the "children" from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, now Kings and Queens of Narnia. Can Shasta, Bree, Aravis, and Hwin get to the safety of Narnia, and maybe thwart a Calormene invasion of the kingdom neighboring Narnia, Archenland, in the process? And who is Shasta, actually? How did he get to Calormen? It's a mystery waiting to be solved.
The Good: The adventure is very exciting, and Evalina really loved the talking horses. Shasta and Aravis (and Bree, for that matter) have a great deal of character growth througout the book. And of course, Aslan is always a hit when he makes an appearance. Evalina also liked seeing the "kids" from the previous book, in their royal splendor.
The Bad: This book has some dealings with slavery and war, and I don't know if Evalina was really ready for those parts. She knows that slavery is wrong, and didn't seem to understand why the Calormenes took it all in stride. She also didn't understand why people war. Join the club, girl.
The Verdict: I had never read this book before, and I enjoyed it quite a lot. It even had a surprise twist at the end! (Well, kind of a surprise. You could probably figure it out if you were paying attention). The adventure was fun, and Evalina definately enjoyed it. As with the other Narnia books, Amazon list this one for ages 9-12. At age 6, Evalina loved it. I'm sure some of it went over her head, but not too much. This one is a winner, and has an added bonus of giving you stepping stones to discuss some moral questions with your kids.
Evalina's "Book Report": I still haven't uploaded her pictures from the previous book. Oops. She said her favorite parts in this one were when Shasta and Bree met, when Aravis was being chased by a lion, and when they escape from Tashbaan, the city in Calormen. Hopefully, I'll get some pictures up soon.