Sunday, 12 September 2010

Books Remembered #2: The Magic Faraway Tree

This is a new feature that reminiscing about books or even series that I read over and over again. Or even a book read once that changed the way I looked at life. It can be a book from childhood or a modern series I just can’t get enough off. It’s not a review of the book(s) but merely remembering the impact it had on me and how it’s shaped my reading habits and likes –what made that book(s) memorable. Feel free to join in with your own books remembered.

This week on Books Remembered I want to talk (or write as the case is!) about one the first fantasy books I ever read – the Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton. These days Blyton has fallen out of favour for her old fashioned views and outdated treatment of women among other things. In fact, that was all pretty much true when I read these books about 22 years ago. But being seven/eight years old, I never really noticed those things. What fascinated me was this massive tree in the forest where all these strange people lived – all sorts of different people including Moon-face and Silkie the fairy and Wassisname – who no-one could remember his real name. There was the guy who was always snoring and Saucepan Man who wore saucepans. Every day a different land would come to rest at the top the tree, so when the three children who lived near the woods climbed to the top they found themselves having all sorts of fun adventures – from the Rocking land, to the land made of sweets to the school land run by a very strict headmistress. Each day would bring something different – literally a land of possibilities and they never knew what would happen. To a young child starting to use her imagination this was beautiful story telling – fantasy indeed. Even leaving the tree once you got to the top involved a slide down to the bottom again!

There were three books about the Magic Faraway Tree and their adventures and I loved them all. I would get them out from my local library as often as I could and re-read them over and over. It was a literal escape where any world you could think off could happen – at the same time the children learnt about themselves and were punished for being naughty. While it was a very black and white world – it helped shaped my imagination and has certainly impacted my reading habits since. I haven’t read these books in a long time and I don’t really want to – the idea of picking through these books with older, more cynical eyes would somehow ruin the fond memories I have of them. I prefer to remember The Magic Faraway Tree as the first books to show me that books were about more than words – they could contain whole worlds – as sometimes more than one.

1 comment:

  1. Moonface was and still is one of my favorite characters from a book!