There are two different versions of The Chronicles of Narnia books in the market: Adults and Children.

Which one's original (meaning, originally released by the C. S. Lewis)? And, what are the differences between them?

  • 1
    How are you telling the two apart. Is it just the cover art? – DJClayworth Oct 31 '14 at 15:13
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    @DJClayworth Yes, the box set cover. Also, Publisher names are slightly different: "Harper Collins" and "Harper Collins Children's Books".. – user931 Oct 31 '14 at 15:26

An Amazon reviewer has looked into this and reported their findings:

After at least 40 minutes of Googling, I finally found out what the difference between the "adult" version and the regular version is. Apparently the "adult" version includes some essay material about the literature and each book contains a synopsis of information you'd need to know from the other books to read the one you're holding. Other than that, only the packaging is different. The stories all remain the same. I only wish Amazon.com would have provided me this information and saved me the time.

Doing a bit of further digging, it seems that the addition essay is one by C.S Lewis, entitled "On Three Ways of Writing for Children."

Various message boards have discussed this, and the consensus seems to be the same: there is no textual difference between the versions. The "adult" version, however has fewer illustrations and a "plainer" set of covers.

  • Which one's original? – user931 Oct 31 '14 at 15:27
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    If you want to call one "original", it would be the "kids" version as they don't include the essay which was written later. The content of the books, however, are the same. Calling one edition "original" is kind of disingenuous as no actual content was changed. – phantom42 Oct 31 '14 at 15:29
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    Baynes' illustrations were in the original editions and it sounds like there are more of them in today's children's than adults' edition. So that's another point in the children's category, if you're wanting to be truer to the experience of the original readership. – Mr. Bultitude Oct 31 '14 at 18:38
  • I've seen different orderings of the books. I had them in a box set in the order that they were published, and I fancied to order them by internal chronology, but I've since seen them published to be read in that order, and I think it's quite wrong. – Aaron Hall Nov 1 '14 at 10:34
  • @AaronHall are either of the "kids" or "adult" editions ordered/numbered differently? – phantom42 Nov 1 '14 at 13:58

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