My mom read the entire Chronicles of Narnia as bedtime stories when I was about 8. Of course at the time I perceived none of the allegorical "depth," but did have Turkish Delight fantasies galore. After the movie release hoopla about CS Lewis last year, I decided to re-read at least one of the books. Often I come back to childhood favorites and they're like comfort food; I could read them again and again. However, I was not so taken with Narnia on my return visit. The storytelling is not that amazing, and the characters are frustratingly transparent vehicles for Lewis's real objective, which is the retelling of the Passion of the Christ. Plus there's an excessive and annoying degree of anthropomorphizing (OK, so the animals must be able to talk in order for the story to go forward, but must the beavers wear snowboots and Aslan the lion stand on two feet?).
The central question for me, however, is how useful such an imaginative allegory can possibly be. I guess CS Lewis can thumb his nose at me for this question, though, since people are still reading the Chronicles of Narnia and still making movies not only about Aslan but also human versions of the Passion of Christ.