The next story, called The Dawn Treader, involves the two youngest Pevensie children, Edmund and Lucy, and their cousin Eustace. Eustace is an odd child who goes to a school called the Experiment House, and he calls his mom and dad by their first names. He’s rather obnoxious and he proves to be even more of a nuisance when he and his cousins are pulled into Narnia where he’s exposed to talking beasts for the first time. They find themselves thrown in the ocean, and rescued by King Caspian and his crew on the Dawn Treader.
Caspian is on a quest to find the missing Lords that were friends of his murdered father. Reepicheep, the warrior mouse, is on a quest to find the end of the world or perhaps Aslan’s land to the utter east. And the children find themselves along for the high sea adventures in store for them all.
I love sea adventure stories, so I enjoyed this book. However, I did find the motive for the Dawn Treader’s journey to be a bit lacking, and all the stops on different islands seemed to drag the story on. But there were elements that made the story worth reading, such as Eustace’s journey to becoming a nice kid. His journal entries while on ship give a taste of just how beastly he was:
“A horrible day. Woke up in the night knowing I was feverish and must have a drink of water. Any doctor would have said so. Heaven knows I’m the last person to try to get any unfair advatage but I never dreamed that this water-rationing would be meant to apply to a sick man.” He goes on to explain how he tiptoed so as to not wake Caspian and Edmund, and dip his cup in the barrel. “All was going beautifully, but before I’d drawn a cupful show should catch me but that little spy, Reep. I tried to explain that I was going on deck for a breath of air…and he asked me why I had a cup. He made such a noise that the whole ship was roused. They treated me scandalously. I asked, as I think anyone would have, why Reepicheep was sneaking about the water cask in the middle of the night. He said that as he was too small to be any use on deck, he did sentry over the water every night so that one more man could go to sleep. Now comes their rotten unfairness: they all believed him. Can you beat it?”
There was also one part of the story that tickled my funny bone worth quoting:
“[Lucy] spent a good deal of time sitting on the little bench in the stern playing chess with Reepicheep. It was amusing to see him lifting the pieces which were far too big for him, with both paws and standing on tiptoe if he made a move near the centre of the board. He was a good player and when he remembered what he was doing he usually won. But every now and then Lucy won because the Mouse did something quite ridiculous like sending a knight into the danger of a queen and castle combined. This happened because he had momentarily forgotten it was a game of chess and was thinking of a real battle and making the knight do what he would certainly have done in its place. For his mind was full of forlorn hopes, death-or-glory charges, and last stands.”