Once Upon a Wardrobe

Written by Patti Callahan Henry
Review by Bonnie DeMoss

Megs Devonshire loves numbers, equations, and physics.  That is why she is currently majoring in physics at Oxford. She doesn’t think much about fairy tales or magical lands.  But her younger brother, George, does, and he is currently dying from a heart problem.  It is 1950, and there is no cure.  More than anything, George loves the new book, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.  He also wants to know where Narnia came from.  It is up to Megs to find the man who brought Narnia to life and get answers for George before his young life is over.

This is a heartrending journey of a young girl who wants to help her brother by contacting the author C. S. Lewis, who is known as “Jack.”  It is also the story of Jack’s childhood, as he uses anecdotes from his past to try to explain to George, through Megs, how Narnia was born.  In addition, it ties in Jack’s tragic loss of his mother when he was quite young.  Historical events of the time are woven in as well.  Megs visits Jack and his brother Warnie often and brings back tales for George.  When she tells George about the death of Jack’s mother, she breaks down in tears.  The dying George says this: “It’s okay, Megs.  It’s part of the story.  There’s lots of parts to a story.”  This brings home the fact that George’s story is ending, but the story of Megs will continue to grow, just as Jack’s stories blossomed and grew after his mother died.  This beautiful and soul-touching book is about death and dying, but it also reminds us that new chapters remain for those of us who are left behind.