The Faraway Tree – Enid Blyton

The Magic faraway treeThe 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.

faraway tree slippery slip

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.

faraway tree

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.

Our Verdict

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

Damson Lane

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  1. January 23, 2014 / 9:02 AM

    I vaguely remember The Faraway Tree but I was more into Malory Towers and St. Clare’s. I think that’s wonderful the way Nana Whooley encouraged your love of reading :-)

  2. January 23, 2014 / 9:18 AM

    Ah, yes, I remember this one. I loved the St Clare’s books, and my mum’s still kept them, so my daughter can enjoy those when she’s a little older.

  3. January 23, 2014 / 10:02 AM

    I started reading this to my son last year and he loves it. I have fond memories of it as a child. My son even went to school as the Saucepan man for world book day. One of our favourite books!

  4. January 23, 2014 / 10:17 AM

    I absolutely adored these books as a child. I hope my Mum still has them somewhere. Why on earth would they feel the need to rename Fanny though. Madness.

  5. January 23, 2014 / 10:33 AM

    Oh my goodness, your drawings are ADORABLE!!!! So so cute. We have this book, but we SO need to start reading it together!

  6. January 23, 2014 / 10:56 AM

    I have such fond memories of the Magic Faraway Tree and Moon Face. I really must start reading Blyton to Ruby.

  7. January 23, 2014 / 12:47 PM

    I loved reading this with my daughter and I’m feeling guilty that I haven’t done so with my son yet. He would love it, but I struggle with reading books a second time. I need to galvanise myself to read it with him as I remember how lovely it all was first time round for her.

  8. January 23, 2014 / 1:51 PM

    I loved these so much when I was a child, so I was thrilled when my son loved them too. They are brilliant for inspiring a children’s imagination and he got so into them. The funny thing was that we had two of my old ones, but not the third, so we had to buy it, and as you mentioned, in the new one, Fanny had become Franny, and Dick had also become Rick. Even Dame Slap A Lot had been transformed, into Dame Snap A Lot (not quite as scary!). Robert even spent his pocked money on buying an animated DVD of the stories which he also enjoyed.

  9. January 23, 2014 / 1:57 PM

    LOVED The Faraway Tree and we’ve just started reading it in our house too! I remember being slightly horrified at the thought of Dame Washalot pouring water all over me but I love how it transports tiny minds to such a magical place. Mallory Towers was also a huge hit as I got older. Fab post! I’m also big on cuddles and reading with my kids. x

  10. January 23, 2014 / 2:47 PM

    What a treat to have all three books together in one edition. I love the pictures the girls have drawn, the book has really inspired them and it sounds like you have a great project now too! Thank you for joining in with #kidsbookaweek again xx

  11. January 23, 2014 / 3:02 PM

    Oh this brings back memories from when I was a child, I must get this for Roo

  12. January 23, 2014 / 3:23 PM

    Sounds like a really interesting book to read. My almost 5 year old loves being red too and I’m sure she will enjoy reading books by herself too.
    It’s nice when they do.

  13. January 23, 2014 / 3:34 PM

    Best kids books ever in my book (see what I did there) and my chidlren adored them such fab chararcters and adventures

  14. January 23, 2014 / 5:30 PM

    Such brilliant books, I loved reading these, as did my daughter too! Such a shame they changed the names though! xx

  15. January 24, 2014 / 11:30 AM

    I really want to read these. I’ve heard so many great things about them x

  16. January 24, 2014 / 1:27 PM

    These were without doubt my favourite books when I was small! I read them over and over again.

  17. January 24, 2014 / 5:04 PM

    I LOVED Enid Blyton growing up and I hope my son enjoys reading as much as I always have. I haven’t read these, although devoured Mallory Towers when I was at school – must have read them 20 times! I do look forward to discovering new ones and falling in love with Enid all over again x

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