Depending on how you look at it, this is either the first or third installment of the Narnia trilogy. It certainly wasn't published or even written first but it does seem to fit as the introductory novel. We learn the secret of Narnia, where the White Witch comes from and even how the lamppost came to be there.
A little girl called Polly and her friend Digory go exploring (as seems customary in Narnia novels) and discover Digory's uncle and his magical rings; the yellow ones remove you from this world, and the green ones bring you back. Digory and Polly are forced to use the rings and end up in The Wood between the Worlds where they dive into a pool that brings them to Charn, a deplorable world, where they encounter the White Witch (from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe). The White Witch ends up returning to our world with Digory and Polly, where she causes all amounts of trouble and enlists Digory's uncle as her servant.
Digory and Polly manage to transport themselves, the Witch, Uncle Andrew, a Cabby and his Horse back into the Wood between the Worlds then on into a pool and to an indistinct land. The Witch brings with her a piece of London lamppost she had removed in our world to cause havoc, this she throws away upon arriving in the indistinct land. In this land all sorts of amazing things are happening, a song can be heard all around and the place begins to materialize. Land appears, then grass, then the sun and eventually life; all in tune with the song around them. The bedazzled group see a lion walking by singing the song which is bringing life to the place they're in.
When the lion gets too close the Witch runs off in fright. The section of lamppost the Witch threw away earlier in the book begins to grow as other things have into a fully fledged lamppost. The others remain and watch the lion as he begins to approach animals and touch nose to nose with two of each species. After this, the animals he has approached along with the Cabby's horse (who can now speak) hold counsel in Narnia.
It is decided the Cabby and his wife should become King and Queen of Narnia. Meanwhile, Digory, Polly and Strawberry (the Cabby’s horse) are on a mission to pluck an apple that will undo Digory’s wrongs in Narnia. Once they have the apple they return to Aslan with it; he tells Digory to throw it as far as he can in a certain direction and it suddenly sprouts into a fully grown tree. During all this Uncle Andrew has been tossed and teased by various animals until he is in a terrible state.
Aslan returns with Polly, Digory and Uncle Andrew to the Wood between the Worlds and shows them the pool that led to Charn. It is all dried up, Aslan uses this to warn the children that humanity must watch out – or it too will end up a dry pool.
Not as thrilling a read as the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe but enchanting still. I’m now onto the fourth book in the series and still loving them all a much as I did ten years ago. I can’t wait to finish the series and I sincerely hope that you too take the time to read these amazing novels, whatever your age.