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I want to climb the Magic Faraway Tree again!
The Magic Faraway Tree - Enid Blyton
Member Name: ladybracknell
The Magic Faraway Tree - Enid Blyton
Advantages: Wonderful stories to fire your children's imagination
Disadvantages: There's only three in the series
Although Enid Blyton has become less fashionable of late and some of her characters are rather un-PC, she was undeniably the doyenne of children's fiction for several decades and some of her books are as relevant to twenty-first century children as they were to their parents and grandparents, and possibly even great-grandparents.
The Magic Faraway Tree is just such a book. This is the second in Blyton's wonderful trilogy about this magical tree.
Back story: Jo, Bessie and Fanny move with their parents to a house on the edge of a wood. Whilst exploring the woods where the trees whisper "wisha, wisha, wisha" the children find right in the middle, a huge tree known locally as the Faraway Tree, the top of which seems to reach into the clouds. They begin to climb and as they do, discover that the tree has houses within the trunk in which live many different magical people. At the top of the tree is a ladder which reaches into the clouds. And at the top of the ladder is a magical land which only remains their for a while before whirling on to be replaced by another.
Synopsis of The Magic Faraway Tree: Jo, Bessie and Fanny are joined by their cousin Dick who has come to stay. Dick, of course, is rather skeptical about the stories his cousins tell him of their adventures up the Faraway Tree, but he soon discovers that everything he has been told is true. And so begins another series of magical adventures.
The three books of the series are:
1. The Enchanted Wood
2. The Magic Faraway Tree
3. The Folk of the Faraway Tree
It isn't essential to read these books in order, although I guarantee that if you read one of these to your children, they will want to read the other two! And chronologically it helps because the first book introduces the main characters who live in the tree. These magical folk are very appealing, even to an adult. There is the Angry Pixie (self-explanatory), Dame Washalot, who disposes of her washing water quite frequently, leaving various people soaking wet. And there is the Saucepan Man, who my children loved. The clanging of his saucepans has made him slightly deaf so he often hilariously misinterprets what is said.
But the main characters are Moonface (another self-explanatory character) and Silky (the beautiful fairy) who guide the children through this wonderful fantasy world.
This book, plus the other two in the series, would appeal to any child aged approximately 5 upwards. The language is simple enough for them to understand and the storylines are great for stimulating young imaginations. And for the adults who read them aloud, there is the delight of revisiting childhood fantasy and seeing the pleasure these stories will bring to new fans.
It must be 50 years at least since my mother read these books to me and since then I've read them to my children and grandchildren, always with the same results. Sheer unadulterated pleasure.
My copies of these books date back to the 1950s and I understand that names have been changed in more recent editions and that one of the characters, Dame Slap, is no longer allowed to mete out corporal punishment! But that won't make any difference to the sheer enjoyment you and your young audience will get from this delightful book.
And if your children enjoy these books, they will also love Enid Blyton's two Wishing Chair adventures.
Summary: One of the reasons why Enid Blyton will always be in lists of top writers of children's fiction
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