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The Faraway Tree (series)

The Faraway Tree series is a series of popular novels for children by Enid Blyton. The titles in the series are:

  1. The Enchanted Wood (1939)
  2. The Magic Faraway Tree (1943)
  3. The Folk of the Faraway Tree (1946)
  4. Up the Faraway Tree (1951)

The stories revolve around an enchanted wood where grows a gigantic magical tree, called the "Faraway Tree." It is discovered by three children, Jo, Bessie, and Fannie, who live nearby. At the top of the tree is a ladder which leads the children to a magic land. It is a different place every time they visit, because the land can "move on" from the top of the tree and make way for a new land. The children are free to come and go, but they have to leave before the land "moves on" or they will be stuck there until the hole comes back and they can get down the ladder at the top of the tree.

The Faraway Tree is inhabited by characters, especially Moonface, Silky (a fairy), The Saucepan Man, Dame Washalot, Mr. Watzisname and the Angry Pixie. The lands at the top were sometimes extremely unpleasant (the Land of Dame Slap) or sometimes fantastically enjoyable (the Land of Birthdays, the Land of Take-What-You-Want). In The Folk of the Faraway Tree, the Saucepan man's mother decides to live in the tree, after leaving the post of cook in Dame Slap's land. She sets up a cake shop in the tree. In The Magic Faraway Tree, Jo, Bessie and Fanny's cousin Dick, joins the adventure by visiting. Connie Haynes, a stuck up girl also comes to visit, while her mother, Lizzie Haynes, a friend of the children's mother is ill. At first she does not believe in the Faraway Tree or the people in it, even when the Angry Pixie throws ink at her.

Updates

  • In modern reprints, the names of the children have been changed:
    • Jo is changed to Joe, because the character is a boy;
    • Bessie is changed to Beth, because the former is seldom used nowadays as a nickname for Elizabeth;
    • Fanny is changed to Frannie, because the former is slang for vulva in the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand (see fanny). A similar reason explains why Cousin Dick, who appears in "The Magic Faraway Tree", has been changed to "Rick".
  • In modern reprints, the character of Dame Slap has been re-named to Dame Snap and she no longer practises corporal punishment but instead reprimands her students by yelling at them very loudly.

Characters

  • The first house the reader encounters is that of the Angry Pixie. It is a house with a tiny window. You might feel curious to look inside, but you dare not unless you want a bucket of ink or water thrown at you.
  • The owl, who lives in the home after the Angry Pixie's and before Silky's, is a normal nocturnal owl. He is a friend of Silky's.
  • The next house belongs to Silky, the fairy. It has a small yellow colored door, a tiny knocker with a shiny bell. She is called Silky because of her long, silky, golden hair.
  • You can always hear Mr.Whatzisname snoring all the time, he sounds like an aeroplane.
  • The next eccentric neighbour is Dame Washalot. She spends her time washing her clothes and throwing the dirty wash water down the tree.
  • The last house,which is round, belongs to Moonface. There is a slippery-slip in his house, a slide which runs down to the bottom of the tree. You will always have to slide down on a cushion; you don't want to get your clothes worn out.
  • The Saucepan Man lives with Mr. Watzisname. He is tied down with all his saucepans and kettles. Sometimes, he cannot understand what his friends are saying because of all the noise from the pans tied to his body.
  • The Saucepan Man's mother lives with Dame Washalot. She runs a cake shop.
  • The main characters are Jo, Bessie and Fanny. Fanny is the youngest, Bessie is the elder and Jo is their big brother. They live near the Enchanted Wood and are friends of the residents of the Faraway Tree.

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