Tag Archives: The Magician’s Nephew

Writing Strategies II: Children’s Story Report

Book of Destiny Astrology Reports

Originally uploaded by rnoel1

Children’s Story Reports.

What should you write in your report? Here is my outline. Read it carefully. This will tell you how to write your report.

Your report can be in either English or Japanese (English reports may get more points but they must be comprehensible).

  1. What is the title of your story in English and in Japanese?
  2. Who are the main characters? Don’t just tell us their names. E.g. “The main characters are a family of four London children who go to live with a Professor who lives in a big house in the country. The other characters are a wicked witch, and various talking animals, including a lion called Aslan.”
  3. Where and when does the story take place? E.g., “The story takes place in England during the Second World War. The four children are sent away from London to avoid the war. In the Professor’s house they discover a wardrobe which is a gate to a magical world called Narnia, where a wicked witch rules and it is always winter and never Christmas.”
  4. Give a short summary of the story (main points only). E.g., “A wicked witch rules Narnia where it is always winter. The real ruler of the country, however, is Aslan the lion. There is a prophecy that he will return. Another prophecy says that the witch’s rule will end when four human children sit on the four thrones of the castle in Narnia called Caer Paravel. When the witch hears that a human child has entered Narnia and that that child has 3 brothers and sisters, she decides to catch them and kill them. Some animals help the children. One of the children, Edmund, is tempted to betray his brother and sisters to the witch. But Aslan arrives and stops this. According to the old law, the traitor must be given to the Witch. Aslan and the Witch agree that Aslan shall die instead of Edmund.  Aslan is killed. The next day, however, he returns to life. There is an older magic, he says, which says that death shall be reversed if someone offers their life for another. The four children and their animal friends and Aslan defeat the Witch in battle and she is killed. Winter is over and spring returns to Narnia. The four children become kings and queens of Narnia. Many years later as adults, they go through the door of the wardrobe, and find themselves in England once again as young children.
  5. Compare the story you read with “The Magician’s Nephew”.
    1. Is magic used in your story? How? What kind of magic? Is it good magic or bad magic, or both?
    2. Is there another world in your story, like Narnia? If so, what kind of world is it? How is it different from Narnia? How is it the same?
    3. What other similar points 共通点 are there between your story and “The Magician’s Nephew”?
  6. Did you like the story you chose? Why (or why not)? Which parts did you enjoy? Do you recommend this story to your classmates? Why (or why not)?
  7. (Optional) Add your own illustrations.

Writing Strategies II, Session #10: December 10th, 2010

mountain momiji
Mountain Japanese maple (momiji), by Sheffner

Today, we began working on the Study Guide questions for chapters 10-12. Students worked in pairs or small groups.

In addition, I talked to some of you individually about your work.
  1. Continue reading your children’s story. Presentations and papers are due Friday December 24th. That will the last chance. I will not accept late papers.
  2. Finish the Study Guide questions for the section Chapters 10-12.

Writing Strategies II, Session #8: November 26th, 2010

Momoji, Nagano, Japan, October 2010
Momoji, Nagano, Japan, October 2010
  1. Reports from students who did  not present last time.
  2. What book did you choose from the list? (Many students chose “Robinson Crusoe”. I wonder why? Maybe it is a textbook in some other class…;0)
  3. Reading and translating chapter 8. Today, I used a slightly different technique. I asked questions about the text. These were not just comprehension questions, but questions designed to help students become more familiar with English by hearing many repetitions of the same words and phrases. What did you think of this? Send me an email or leave a comment here on the blog.
  4. Answering the study guide questions for chapters 8-9.
  5. Homework:

    Finish reading and translating chapters 8 and 9.

Writing Strategies II, Session #7: November 12th, 2010

In today’s session:

  1. Student presentations on the following topics:
    1. Story structure
    2. Character study
    3. Theme: how we treat other people
    4. Theme: curiosity
  2. Some comments or questions raised about the presentations:
    • Why does the Christian church say magic is bad?
    • Digory is a protagonist, but doesn’t he also do some things which cause problems for himself and the other protagonists?
    • Why is Aslan “kind”? What does he value?
    • Why do Polly and Digory and Uncle Andrew change?
      • Because they recognize that there is a higher power than themselves.
      • For Digory, that is first his mother, then Aslan (Aslan and Aslan’s wish is more important than Digory’s mother; Digory accepts this).
      • For Polly, she also realizes that Aslan and what he represents is more important than her own desires or fears.
      • Uncle Andrew does not understand what Aslan is but he realizes that Aslan’s power is much greater than his own and that he cannot compete against it. He is devastated by the unforeseen consequences of his actions and his interest in magic. He gives it up and becomes a more humble person.
      • Queen Jadis understands what Aslan is, but she rejects him. She never changes. She chooses power rather than accept Aslan’s superiority, even though it means death not life.
    • The Golden Rule is “Do as you would be done by”: do to others as you would have them do to you. This is aChristian precept, but it is also found in many other cultures and religions. That is why it is called the “Golden” rule. It is a moral principle.
    • Aslan uses magic. So what is the difference between Aslan’s magic and the magic of Jadis and Uncle Andrew?
    • Values. C.S. Lewis understood that values are very important. Science without clear moral values can become a terrible evil.
    • Two important values expressed in C.S. Lewis’ books are
      • recognition of and love (respect) for life
      • recognition of and love (respect) for God, the Creator of all things.
  3. Study Guide, Chapters 6-7, questions 1-5. We checked the answers to these questions.
  4. Homework.  For November 26th.
    1. Read chapters 8 and 9.
    2. Answer the study guide questions for chapters 8 and 9.
    3. Choose a book to read from the list of English children’s books which I gave out in class today (the list is also on the class blog). The books listed (with 2 exceptions) are books that C.S. Lewis had read.
      1. tell me the title as soon as possible and by Nov. 26th at the latest.
      2. You will make an oral and written report about this book on December 17th.
      3. You can read the book in English or in Japanese.
      4. Your oral report can be in English or in Japanese. (Reports in English will get up to 10% more points).
      5. You can choose a book not on the list, for example a book by one of the others listed. If you choose a book not on the list, please ask me first.
      6. You can choose a book by an author not on the list, but please check with me first.

Children’s books list

The Psammead
Image via Wikipedia

Here is a list of suggested readings. This list is not yet complete. It will grow over the next few weeks as I add more titles. Please feel free to add titles in the comments. Click on the titles to read more about the book on Amazon Japan, and click on the author’s name to read more on Wikipedia.

  1. A Little Princess (Puffin Classics) by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  2. The Secret Garden 100th Anniversary by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  3. Five Children and It (Puffin Classics) by E. Nesbit
  4. Phoenix and the Carpet (Wordsworth Children’s Classics) by E. Nesbit
  5. The Wind in the Willows (Penguin Classics) by Kenneth Grahame
  6. Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Caroll
  7. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glassby Lewis Caroll
  8. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
  9. Treasure Island (Puffin Classics) by Robert Louis Stevenson
  10. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
  11. Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome
  12. Elidor (Collins Modern Classics) by Alan Garner
  13. The Weirdstone of Brisingamen: A Tale of Alderley by Alan Garner
  14. The Princess and the Goblin (Puffin Classics) by George MacDonald
  15. Phantastes by George MacDonald
  16. Gulliver’s Travels by  Jonathan Swift
  17. Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne
  18. Around the World in Eighty Days (Puffin Classics) by Jules Verne
  19. The War of the Worlds (Penguin Classics) by H.G. Wells
  20. The Invisible Man (Signet Classics) by H.G. Wells
  21. The Jungle Books (Penguin Classics) by Rudyard Kipling
  22. Plain Tales from the Hills (Penguin Classics) by Rudyard Kipling
  23. King Solomon’s Mines (Penguin Classics) by Rider Haggard
  24. She (Oxford World’s Classics) by Rider Haggard
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Writing Strategies II, Session #5: October 29th, 2010

Castle in the Sky
Image via Wikipedia

Today in class:

  1. There is no class next week, November 5th. There will be a makeup class in December, either 4th or 18th (Saturdays). Please tell me when you are and are not available on those two days. Next class will be November 12th.
    Update: Saturday Dec. 18th, 2nd period (11-12:30) was the most popular time.
  2. Write the details of our textbook, using the MLA format.
  3. Study Guide, p. 15, question 9: what does it mean to be narrow-minded? Uncle Andrew believes there are no absolutes, that there is no absolute right and wrong. This goes against the Christian view. Christians believe that there are absolutes; in particular, there is an absolute right and wrong. Christians are not the only ones who believe this. When we say “case by case”, we are saying there are no absolutes. When we say, “it depends” 場合によって we are saying there are no absolutes. What do you think?
  4. Textbook page 20: “The moment I picked up that box I could tell by the pricking in my fingers that I held some great secret in my hands.” See also these famous lines from Shakespeare’s “Macbeth“: “By the pricking of my thumbs, Something wicked this way comes.” [Macbeth Act 4, scene 1, 44–49].
  5. Study Guide pages 20-21. We answered questions 5-11, and translated the Bible passages in questions 12, 14.
  6. Study Guide pages 24-5: we checked the meaning of the sentences that use Cockney dialect.
  7. Some points that came up in today’s class:
    1. the Deplorable Word is similar to a word of destruction used by the children in Miyazaki Hayao‘s movie “Castle in the Sky”.


  1. Read chapters 6-7.
  2. Study Guide page 45-7, Summary Questions.  Choose a topic for a presentation November 12th. Tell me your choice by email as soon as possible (deadline 締め切り Friday Nov. 5th, 23:59).
    1. Story Structure (questions 1-4, p. 45)
    2. Characterization (questions 5-7, p. 46)
    3. Theme – how we treat other people (question 8, p. 47)
    4. Theme – curiosity (question 9, p. 47)
    5. Theme – the Deplorable Word (question 10, p. 48)
  3. Study Guide page 25-6, questions 1-9.

Cultural background.

Here are some photos of things that appear in “The Magician’s Nephew“. Click on the photos to see a bigger image. (All photos courtesy of Flickr.)

  1. dungeons
  2. torture chambers
    Torture Chamber
  3. banqueting hall
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Writing Strategies II, Session #4: October 22nd, 2010

Today in class:

  1. Study Guide p. 5 questions 10 & 11 (about curiosity): translate the questions and write your answers.
  2. Vocabulary – study guide pages 16-18. I won’t test you on the vocabulary, but I expect you to know these words.
  3. Study Guide page 19-20, questions 1-4:  translate the questions and write your answers on looseleaf paper.
  4. We read most of chapter 3 in class today.


  1. Study Guide page 45-7, Summary Questions: translate all the questions (1-10).
  2. Study Guide page 20-22: answer questions 5 – 14 (but NOT question 10) on separate paper (not on the Study Guide).

Cultural background.

Here are some photos of things that appear in “The Magician’s Nephew“.

A row of town houses in London. Digory and Polly may have lived in one of these. Can you imagine the tunnel under the roof, connecting all the houses in a row?
Case Side Half Open
Perhaps Digory’s penknife looked like this. He used his penknife to cut a mark in the grass so that they could remember which pool to take to go home.

Flickr has 5,976 results for a search for “wood between the worlds”. This phrase has obviously captured the imagination of a lot of people around the world. Which one do you like? This one?
The wood between the worlds.
Or perhaps this one?
wood between the worlds

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<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/timmenzies/263806788/” title=”The wood between the worlds. by timmenzies, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm1.static.flickr.com/79/263806788_394cf6dd3a.jpg” width=”500″ height=”375″ alt=”The wood between the worlds.” /></a>