Guest / Limited Access /

If you go to Amazon.com to purchase Harper Collins's recently released picture book, The Giant Surprise, you will find that C. S. Lewis gets first billing under the "About the Author" header. That's accurate only insofar as God, having created the world, can said to be the author of Julian Barnes's A History of the World in 10 ½ Chapters. For this "Narnia story," "inspired by the stories of C. S. Lewis," is Harper Collins's first sally into Narnia spin-off picture books. The author of The Giant Surprise is Hiawyn Oram, whose books include In the Attic (about a boy who climbs a ladder and discovers an attic full of wonderful creatures—shades of a certain wardrobe here). The jacket copy bills The Giant Surprise as a "brand new story," and the adjectival "brand" is fitting indeed. For The Giant Surprise is not really an exercise in children's literature; it is an exercise in branding.

In The Giant Surprise, we are plunged straight into the marsh-wiggle corner of Narnia. Puddleglum is fishing, and his niece Lally is playing nearby, when some nearby mice alert them to a "terrible roaring" and "sloshing and galoshing." Who's behind the roars and sloshes? Giants! The giants swoop up the friendly mice and run off, with Puddleglum and Lally in fierce pursuit. When the marsh-wiggles arrive at the giants' gorge, their little mice friends are nowhere in sight. So Lally entertains the giants with a game—making rock sandwiches—while Puddleglum searches for, and of course rescues, the missing mice. The end of the picture book sets us up for subsequent Narnia adventures: "Nothing like adventure to remind us life isn't all fishing and mud-winkle stew," sighs Puddleglum. "So what's next, I wonder. Ogres? Dragons?"

Who is ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssueJimmy Carter: Pursuing an Arc of Reconciliation
Subscriber Access Only
Jimmy Carter: Pursuing an Arc of Reconciliation
The former president has a new hope for racial justice— starting with the church.
RecommendedStop Snacking on ‘Scripture McNuggets’
Stop Snacking on ‘Scripture McNuggets’
A Bible expert diagnoses the bad habits that keep us from feasting on God’s Word.
TrendingResearch Says: Young People Don't Want Hip Pastors
Research Says: Young People Don't Want Hip Pastors
A study of 250 congregations suggests that youth and young adults want substance rather than style.
Editor's PickOld Hollywood’s Abortion Secret
Old Hollywood’s Abortion Secret
What a culture of death tells us about a culture of life.
Christianity Today
A Narnia Without Lewis or Aslan
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

December 2005

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.