My family and I so enjoyed listening to these audiobooks! My kiddos who are 10, 9, and 7 were all entranced by them and my huby and I also loved them. Highly recommend the entire set!
Growing up, my family had the Horse & His Boy cassette tapes and we loved them on family vacations. I am saving up to own all of these, for they are a high quality program.
The Chronicles of Narnia is one of the first series I remember reading as a child. I know I read other secular series, like Boxcar Children, Goosebumps, etc. However, none of them stuck with me the way this series has. Perhaps, it was because I played Edmund in a school production of it. Yes, I'm always typecast as the jerk. :) Perhaps, it was because the allegory of Aslan being Jesus hit me over the head and was something I at my young age could grasp. I'm not really sure the reason. I just know I still love this series. I love it so much that my paperbacks have cracked spines. If you know me, cracked spines are not something I love (unlike my lovely wife). Therefore, I have been investigating different editions (both text and audio) of this wonderful series.
The first one I tried was the audio version edition produced by Focus on the Family's Radio Theatre. When I received this product, I didn't realize that it was the dramatized version. That means that the text is more or less the same. There is a narrator, but more often than not, the character will exclaim something rather than have the narrator tell what the character is feeling or doing. For example, when Lucy was walking through the wardrobe and was crunching on snow, instead of having the narrator describe to us what she was thinking, Lucy directly tells us what she is thinking. If you want just the books, you will probably hate that it is dramatized, if it is not a deal breaker then it is the best dramatization I have heard, even better than the BBC one. What makes the dramatization so good? I attribute it to the cast of characters. When you have that many voices in a story, it helps to have a whole cast of people instead of one person trying to do every voice. There are also music and background noises that add to the story. I must admit that these can be a bit overpowering at times. If you listen to the first five to ten minutes of The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe it drowns out the four children's conversation a bit.
What really impressed me about this CD set is the packaging. For starters, it is in a nice study tin with Aslan front and center on it. Next, there are seven separate sleeves for each of the books. Each sleeve gives the date of publication and the order in the series, which the book is to be read following the chronological approach. With each book being on separate sleeves, you can choose to listen to the books in the original publication order, and expose your children to Narnia the way you were originally exposed to it. Also on the sleeves are a shield representing some facet of the particular book, like a lamppost for The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. The CDs themselves also look like works of art, and each one is unique looking. Lastly, there is a folded up map of Narnia included in this package. So if you are looking for an audiobook version of The Chronicles of Narnia and don't mind that it is dramatized, this is a beautiful edition to own. If you are looking for an unabridged audiobook version, then you'll have to buy Harper Collins' edition.