19 March (1954): C.S. Lewis to Eight American Children

Here, C.S. Lewis writes to a family of American children, responding to their letters featuring stories and illustrations of Lewis’ characters. This letter is one of Lewis’ many correspondences with young readers, on topics ranging from editorial advice to spiritual guidance.


March 19th, 1954


You have sent me such a lot of treasures I don’t know where to begin. Your story, Martin, is good and keeps one right to the end guessing what is really happening. I am a little bit surprised that the Policeman did not feel at all afraid of such a strange hostess. Or did he, and you didn’t tell us? I think just a word about how he felt, and a name for him, are the only improvements I can suggest. The one place where you do tell us what it felt like for him (“He thought a moment”) does a bit of good to the story. In Hugh’s picture of the Dufflepuds what I like best (though the D’s themselves are quite good) is the ship, just the right sort of ship, and the shadow of the ship, and the windiness of the sky. I mean, I like a picture of out-of-door things to look as if it was really out of doors—as this does. But you all seem able to do that. Nicky’s Reepicheep shows the sunlight splendidly by the shadows of the trees. But what I like best of all is the “spirit of a tree”. It is so beautifully wavy and graceful and is moving so. Bravo!

The typescript of your book went off to the publisher last week, though it will not be out till next year. It is called The Magician’s Nephew. You must have often wondered how the old Professor in The Lion, W, W could have believed all the children told him about Narnia. The reason was that he had been there himself as a little boy. This book tells you how he went there, and (of course that was ages and ages ago by Narnian times) how he saw Aslan creating Narnia, and how the White Witch first got into that world and why there was a lamp-post in the middle of that forest. The one before yours (The Horse and His Boy) is also dedicated to two Americans and will be out “this Autumn” (Fall, as you say). It is still cold here but the snowdrops, crocuses, primroses and daffodils are up and the thrushes are building nests. Love to all,

                           Yours ever,
                           C.S. Lewis

From C.S. Lewis Letters to Children. Lewis, C.S., Lyle W. Dorsett, Marjorie Lamp Mead, and Douglas H. Gresham. New York: Macmillan, 1985.