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As a child I loved Enid Blyton's Faraway tree stories, so when I spotted a copy of the Folk of the Faraway tree at my local car boot sale I was very excited! I happily paid my 20p and hurried home to start reading the story to my 5-year-old son.
Joe, Beth and Frannie move to the country when their father gets a new job. Exploring their new area they discover an enchanted wood right on their doorstep. The wood is home to wonderful, Magical characters such as elves and talking rabbits.
In the wood they find the faraway tree, so called because at the top, through the clouds the children discover lots of different faraway lands. The lands change on a regular basis, so the children never know which land they will find. There is the land of Nursery Rhymes, where many well know Nursery Rhyme characters live, the land of do-as you please and the land of giants. Each land provides the children with an exciting adventure.
The children meet and befriend the folk who live in the faraway tree who share their adventures. There is silky the lovely fairy. Moon-face and saucepan-man, who makes the children laugh as he constantly miss-hears what is said. Saucepan -man curiously has a selection of pots and pans tied to his clothing. Then there is a talking red squirrel, dame washalot, who regularly throws her washing water down the tree and the angry pixie, who is to be avoided!
The folk of the faraway tree follows on from the enchanted wood and the faraway tree, although it can be read alone. At the start of the folk of the faraway tree we meet Connie, the children's spoilt cousin who has come to stay. Connie is included in the adventures and adds another dimension to the story. Initially Connie is impossible to live with and upsets all the other characters. There is a chapter entitled Connie gets into trouble, but you will have to read to find out more...! My son loved the land of treats and in the land of Dame Snap, the scary schoolteacher!
This book is pure magic! Each chapter has an exciting heading and my son couldn't wait to find out what would happen next! Just as when I was a child I loved the magical characters but as an adult can appreciate the skill of Enid Blyton to have created this fantasy.
There are few illustrations in the copy I have, which is a real shame. The few that exist are simple line drawings and not very imaginative. However the descriptions of all the characters is excellent. Each chapter is fairly short, making this an ideal book to read at bedtime.
In places, such as when the children interact with their parents, the book can seem a little old fashioned. However I find this endearing and my son doesn't seem to notice.
I would highly recommend this book along with the other in the series I have mentioned. It is wonderful to encourage your Child's imagination!
The book is available from Amazon and Waterstones and no doubt many other book retailers. Amazon has it on sale for £5.99.
The far away tree series is arguably one of the best children's books ever written. (As you'll see from my other reviews) I can't praise Blyton highly enough!
This isn't the first book in the series, but that doesn't matter - as a 5 year old I was able to get into it very quickly, and it wasn't long before i was completely absorbed by the adventure.
The book follows the adventure of Joe, Bess, and Fanny (In modern versions Joe, Beth and Frannie) who live near the Enchanted wood, where a huge tree stretches so high into the sky that it touches the clouds, and a new magical land appears up there every once in a while, just waiting to be explored. Along with their friends who live in the tree, the children try to teach their spoiled cousin, Connie, how wonderful it can be to live in the country and believe in magic, and hopefully teach her not to be so selfish and spoilt along the way.
This book is a lovely read for boys and girls in primary school (and I still like to come back and read it if I'm bored). Your kids will absolutely love it, and they'll soon be part of the adventure!