The Faraway Tree was probably the first collection of books I read by myself and for this I have to thank Nana Whooley who used to buy them off a stall in East Lane Market. My grandmother set me up for life with a passion for reading and I went through a fair portion of Enid Blyton’s books in those early days including The Famous Five, Mallory Towers and the St Claire’s series.
The Faraway Tree is a trilogy and Egmont have put them together in one book which I was given back in the day of the 1930’s Housewife challenge. The book has sat on the shelf waiting to be read ever since and by late November last year I thought I’d give it a go.
The Enchanted Wood
The first book is The Enchanted Wood and we are introduced to Jo, Bessie and Fannie who have since been renamed Joe, Beth and Frannie much to my Bessie’s disappointment when I told her. The family have moved to a new house and it happens to back onto a wood. Further exploration into the woods leads the children to discover an enormous tree whose treetops seemingly reach into the clouds.
The children decide to climb the tree and they discover the magical creatures who live in the tree, the Angry Pixie, Mr Watzisname, Silky, Dame Washalot and Moon Face. They find out that there is a ladder on the topmost branch that leads up into magical lands. The lands frequently change, sometimes they are nice lands like the Land of Birthdays or the Land of Take What You Want but others aren’t so pleasant like the Land of Dame Slap which was later renamed to Dame Snap.
On one journey up the ladder they meet the Old Saucepan man who decides to return to live in the Faraway Tree. He’s a brilliant character as he sometimes goes deaf (selective hearing?) and muddles things up causing great confusion and more adventures than needed.
The Magic Faraway Tree
The second book of the trilogy sees the arrival of Dick whose name was later changed to Rick. He is the children’s cousin and is a bit naughty which leads them into a lot of adventures when they visit the lands at the top.
I was particularly touched in this book when their mother falls ill and cannot get out of bed. Luckily the Land of Magic Medicines is at the top so the children go up to find something to cure their mother only Rick gets into mischief again.
The Folk of The Faraway Tree
The final book sees the arrival of Connie, the daughter of mother’s friend. Connie is a very spoilt child and won’t do as she’s told, when she hears of the Faraway Tree she refuses to believe in such nonsense and only by going along with the children does she discover that it is fact very true. She gets herself into a lot of trouble with her rudeness and slowly she learns to behave more sensibly. By the end of the book, the magical characters say they like her.
Another very exciting part to this final book is when the Faraway Tree is very ill and seems to be dying, the children, the magical characters and all of the inhabitants of the Enchanted Woods have to come up with a plan to save the day.
We LOVED The Magic Faraway Tree, I was taken back in time and I am sure this won’t be the last time the girls read this book. Dad hadn’t read it as a child and if he happened to be late home from work or absent one evening he would ask us to read something else as he didn’t want to miss a bit.
This is a book to set young minds alight with imagination.
We have since started on a huge tree to go in the girl’s bedroom, the girls are making cut out figures of the characters who with blutac can be placed up and down the tree and my very next project will be trying to make some of Moon Faces Google Buns – watch this space, I can’t wait to tackle them
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