"A land at the top of a tree!" said Connie. "I don't believe a word of it."
Jo, Bessie and Fanny are fed up when Connie comes to stay - she's so stuck-up and bossy. But they don't let her stop them having fun with their tree-friends, Silky, Moon-Face and the Saucepan Man. Together they climb through the cloud at the top of the Faraway Tree and visit the wonderful places there, the Land of Secrets and the Land of Treats - and Connie learns to behave herself!
Enid Mary Blyton (1897 - 1968) was an English author of children's books.
Born in South London, Blyton was the eldest of three children, and showed an early interest in music and reading. She was educated at St. Christopher's School, Beckenham, and - having decided not to pursue her music - at Ipswich High School, where she trained as a kindergarten teacher. She taught for five years before her 1924 marriage to editor Hugh Pollock, with whom she had two daughters. This marriage ended in divorce, and Blyton remarried in 1943, to surgeon Kenneth Fraser Darrell Waters. She died in 1968, one year after her second husband.
Blyton was a prolific author of children's books, who penned an estimated 800 books over about 40 years. Her stories were often either children's adventure and mystery stories, or fantasies involving magic. Notable series include: The Famous Five, The Secret Seven, The Five Find-Outers, Noddy, The Wishing Chair, Mallory Towers, and St. Clare's.
According to the Index Translationum, Blyton was the fifth most popular author in the world in 2007, coming after Lenin but ahead of Shakespeare.
Book 3 of The Faraway Tree was a step down from the first book, but it was as good as book 2, and the ratings on Goodreads is pretty high. Very high in fact, considering that it's a half forgotten book.
The person who visits Jo, Bessie, and Fanny is their mother's friend's child. The author loved not only to name stuff naughtily, she liked to write up naughty characters. Connie Haynes is one such example.
The magic lands that visit the top of the Faraway Tree are on thin ice, because obviously there is a limit to what the imagination can do when one is ageing and having experimented with all permutations of storytelling. But the book is really good and I'm giving it 5 stars from the bottom of my heart.
Celyn and I have completed our marathon re-read of the Faraway trilogy. The third book is, like the second, simply a collection of tree-related episodes, each fairly self-contained. This time the new child to be introduced to the tree and improved by the experience is Connie, daughter of a friend of the mother.
Connie's fault is being curious. This is in itself curious. Part of it is the use of the word 'curious' in place of nosy. Though I suppose if that was the extent of it Blyton could have brought in Nosy Nelly. Another element does appear to the the now-anachronistic view that curiosity, particularly in girls, is an undesirable trait. The book is over 70 years old though and even in the 'sanitized' versions some evidence of its age will show through. In the 'grand battle' at the end the girls are all sent up the tree with Silky to wait while the boy, Moonface and male small-folk sort the trolls out.
A variety of magic lands are visited, some of them (the lands of secrets and of knowalls) specifically to show the undesirable nature of nosiness (or curiosity). There's a return to the land of Dame Slap/Snap too.
It's a bit curious that the magic medicine used to cure the children's mother in book 2 isn't mentioned given that Connie's mother is sick for months ... but then again they didn't even bother to cure Rick's sick mother with it in the book where they got it ... even though there was some left over. Here's a quote from book 2: "'We'll put the rest of the bottle of magic medicine away,' she said. 'I don't need it any more but it would be very useful if someone else is ill'" And the only reason Rick is there in book 2 and Connie in book 3 is because their mothers are really ill and unable to look after them...
It's also a bit odd that given access to knowalls and secret tellers who can answer literally any question they children limit themselves to things like 'the secret for growing bigger apples' and 'where I left my second best yo-yo'.
The finale is a threat to the tree itself, which appears to be dying. There's a failed attempt to breach the gem-caves beneath the tree (wherein trolls are damaging the tree's roots) - these 'caves' seem to be ... um ... earth caves as the only thing that stops rabbits burrowing in from underneath is a stone floor. An entrance is eventually effected by using a type of enlarged caterpillar to chew down through the tree and out through the roots into the cave. This seems highly improbable (what about the earth/stones?) is hard to visualize, and makes you wonder why the caterpillars couldn't chew through the cave doors far more easily ... but hey.
It's neither better or worse than book 2, though the formula could wear thin! Celyn enjoyed it.
Rereading a childhood favourite can sometimes prove hazardous. Often, what so appealed to our younger selves we later find riddled with plot holes, become distanced from the young protagonists, or find them just generally unsuited for an adult readership. For this reason I had stayed away from my once beloved Enid Blyton, for so long.
The Faraway Tree series were particular favourites of mine however, and I had been hankering to revisit them for some time. I knew I was taking the risk of marring my rose-tinted memories of this series but decided to proceed, regardless.
It was with much relief that I found the delight and awe so often felt on early readings, as soon as I opened the very first page. This series is just an absolute joy to behold! Of course there is an element of predictability to the events and the safety of the characters is continually ensured, but the whimsical beauty of the setting, the hilarious anecdotes from the characters, the soaring feats of bravery, the fantastically odd beings, and the wonderful (and sometimes not so) lands visited, all made this an utterly charming read and escape from reality for my my pre-teen, my teenage, and my (now) adult self.
I was seven years old when I was shepherded into Mrs Hazard's class, deemed stupid and unwilling to learn by my teachers of the previous years. I had spent kindergarten a scared, confused child, who couldn't focus on the words on the board in front of me. Year One had been the same; why was everyone else reading and writing and I couldn't grasp it? But here was a gentle woman, who smiled down on us and said that we were going to read a story. I was bored. I knew I wouldn't be able to follow the words, but then she picked up a gorgeous picture book, and started reading. I was hooked.
Around that same time, someone, and I've never been sure who, recommended my parents take me to get my eyes checked. Hallelujah! with those ugly frames I could see, and the dreaded words formed. Within weeks I was writing my own stories, magical stories about funny lands, and especially about animals. By the end of the year, I was no longer thought of as stupid, and school become this marvelous place where you could go and leave with your head full of things you'd never known before.
Of course this book was a Faraway tree novel. Mrs Hazard had been using this book as a tool for years, and used it up until her retirement as far as I know. I'm sure I wasn't the only person enthralled by the Faraway Tree; it took me out of that classroom and into a world that didn't judge whether you were smart, only kind, goodhearted and polite. Years later I was asked to pick three different medias for an imaginative English elective. I choose a poem compulsory for the whole class, Kingdom Hearts, and this series. I spoke for ten minutes about how the imagination grows from an understanding of language; that the roots to the images in our heads is the understanding of that language. Every person, when hearing the sentence 'The Cat sat on the Mat', pictures a different cat, a different mat, according to their own understanding and interpretation. But the language is only the root, the trunk of the tree being the understanding of the roots, and the branches arching up as a reflection of those roots, stretching endlessly toward the sky and reaching ever upwards in understanding. I even spoke of the lands at the top of the tree, and how imaginative they are. Once again, The Faraway Tree helped me improve my grade and impress my teachers.
So this series means a lot to me. Sure, some people see the racism and stereotypes in Enid's work. But go back, and ask that seven year old, and she will see none of these things. She sees magic and understanding. Enid was a turning point in my life, the thing that made me long to tell my own stories and have my own adventures. And there's nothing wrong with that.
🐿️🐇🐛🕷️ Although this book isn't objectively better than the previous one, I enjoy it more. I'm not clear why -- perhaps it just boils down to nostalgia. I still find the first to be the best, though I think a large part of that is because these books follow a formula, which is less magical the more it continues. Even with slightly higher stakes than usual in the last few chapters, nothing feels particularly unexpected. I do love the bonkers yet undeniably fun concept of a magical tree with constantly changing lands at the top, creatures such as fairies living in the trunk and a slide to get back down to the bottom. I still remember discovering this series when I was in primary school and devouring it. I never quite got into The Famous Five or The Secret Seven but I loved these and The Children of Cherry Tree Farm books a great deal.
There are a few small quibbles I have with some aspects of the book, though not enough to fully dampen my fondness for it. The biggest one is Connie constantly being referred to as 'curious' as if curiosity is a negative trait. Most of the time Connie is not what I would call curious, but rather nosy and at times spiteful and self-absorbed. The description on Goodreads calls her 'bossy Connie' which I think works better. I don't think curiosity is a trait to steer children away from, though certainly it is a good idea to try and impart how to ask questions in a respectful way.
Another issue was actually the one illustration that I found odd (I adored all the rest) -- Jack from 'Jack and the Beanstalk' is referred to as being married, but the illustration shows a boy who looks younger than ten. I found that a bit unsettling.
In the last book Saucepan Man got on my nerves a bit. While that joke of him mishearing everything continues here, he ended up being my favourite character this time around due to the comic relief he provided. Saucepan takes a dislike to Connie (understandably, she is a rather unpleasant child for most of the book) and maintains a petty, childish low-level feud with her for much of the story. I don't know if it was meant to be funny, but I laughed every time he interacted with her. The best: (Connie says)'I can speak! My voice is back! Oh, I can talk! 'It's a pity!' said Saucepan. 'I like you better when you don't talk. Still, I needn't listen.'
One thing that I noticed, but cannot decide if it's an error, or just proof of the Faraway Tree's magic, is that, it stops growing fruit, '...not even a raisin.' Raisins don't grow on trees and neither do grapes --- though grape vines can grow up and around a tree. , both the text and the illustrations depict the tree growing pineapples (which also don't grow on trees) and raisins(in the text)/grapes(in the picture). As I said, this might be because of the magic, but it stood out to me because I ended up Googling to check whether or not these fruits did or did not grown on trees.
This time around, none of the gifts from the first book are mentioned, so I do not get any closure about the pony. Perhaps it is living somewhere in the Enchanted Wood?
This was the first of the Faraway Tree books I ever read (though it is the last in the series) and still remains my favourite. Cousin Connie comes to stay with Jo, Bessie, and Fanny and they of course take her to visit the faraway tree folk, among them the friendly Moonface, pretty Silky, and eccentric but loveable Saucepan Man. Despite the children's advice, Connie insists on wearing her best clothes which bear the brunt of the Angry Pixie's ink, Dame Washalot's water, and the slippery slip, which she “uses” without the customary cushion. In time, she learns her lesson (not before getting into her fair share of trouble and losing her voice in the process) and the children have a whole set of adventures visiting some very interesting lands including the land of the stupids where meals are eaten backwards- pudding first, and the land of tea parties with pretty iced cakes. Connie, if I remember right, gets them out of trouble at Dame Slap's school and they make an interesting trip to the land of treats, where we find Connie isn’t entirely “cured” ordering and getting a “sardine icecream” complete with tails, while Mr Saucepan with his hearing troubles orders Jo a “bear” (instead of pear) tart and cream which comes decorated with teddy bears. But before their trip to the land of treats they must rescue the tree from trouble.
I love how imaginative this series is―the whole idea of a magic tree that grows every kind or at least all kinds of fruit, and has houses inhabited by the most interesting of fairy folk, and at the very top is a door to many different worlds, lands that come and go each week. And the lands, Dame Slap’s School, birthday land, tea party land, the land of treats, of the stupids, of secrets and of the know-it-alls, and nursery rhymes―what a marvellous time she must have had creating them, and what fun we had reading about them. A childhood favourite which I still love.
I was lucky enough to read my sisters' copy that wasn't americanized. I hate it that in the newer versions, Dame Slap was scaled down to pracically nothing! They should have left the kids' names alone too. What is wrong with having a girl named Fanny? There ought to be a law against these things.
This is the third book in this series and while you can read them out of order and everything will make sense, I highly recommend you read the titles in the order the author intended.
This book has always been my least favourite of the original three books in this series, though that said, it is still very much a five star read.
I used to read this series over and over again as a child and I can see why. I couldn't stop listening to this audiobook and I loved Kate's impression of Connie. Connie, is a friend of the family who needs to spend time living with the children as her mother is taken sick. At the beginning of the story she is an insufferable little brat who has clearly been spoiled rotten. The children, along with all our favourite characters from the Faraway Tree soon manage to bring out Connie's good side though. She learns to believe in all the magic that happens in the Enchanted Wood and it is so fun to see Connie change and develop as a character.
I highly recommend this series for people of all ages. Children can learn a lot about discipline from these books, along with having their imaginations filled with wonderful images. Meanwhile adults can enjoy the story too for the wonderful adventures, and it will bring out the child in anyone.
This is one of my most favourite/cherished books of all time. My dad read this to me when he tucked me into bed. Fortunately my Dad is from England so I don't have the lousy American version. I couldn't find the cover of it on here! How sad! Anyway, this book is full of enchantment and wonders. It's about this village that exists in a tree and all of the weird creatures that live there. Some near by children befriend them and join them on their many adventures. I always thought that was the coolest thing ever to have an entire village up in a tree!!! If you ever get the chance to read this amazing book I suggest you do! You must keep in mind though, that this book is all about adventure and getting away from the world. So don't be expecting some hidden meaning or something. It's just a children's book that is for fun!!! No analyzing allowed!!!
“You see, the Enchanted Wood is quite near here. And in the middle of it is the biggest, tallest tree in the world - very magic. It’s called the Faraway Tree"
Nostalgia is in itself, magic. The stories that we loved as children live on in us. Sometimes those stories fade over time, lose a little of their definition. But should you revisit fond childhood stories? That’s the question I asked myself as I began to re-read The Folk of the Faraway Tree, one of my most beloved childhood stories.
"It’s called the Faraway Tree, because its top is so far away, and always sticks up into some strange magic land there - a different one every week.”
I read about Curious Connie and the Faraway Tree, for what felt like both the first and the millionth time; re-discovered the children Joe, Beth and Frannie, Silky the fairy, Saucepan man, Dame Washalot, Mister Whatzisname, and of course, Moon-face who lives at the very top of the Faraway Tree. I fell into spellbinding lands: The Land of Marvels, The Land of Secrets and the Land of Enchantments, the ladder-that-never-ends and Hot-Cold Goodies. I remembered what had fuelled my imagination; sent it soaring to enchanted lands.
”Two books for a book-worm, Two butts for a goat, Two winks for a winkle Who can’t sing a note!”
However, in re-reading with a fresh perspective, I stumbled on an uncomfortable truth. This book, like many of Enid Blyton’s works, contains problematic content. This 2007 reprint amended the most problematic and outdated references; “slapping” is now “snapping”, “Fanny” is instead “Frannie”, but the echo of the original remained.
It had lost some of its magic, for me, after all.
“It wasn’t only a tree, it was a home for lots of little people and the path to strange adventures far above.”
My answer to “should you revisit fond childhood stories?” is this: read what makes you happy. Read what fills you with joy. For those interested in diving into the Enchanted Wood series for the first time, I would advise reading the reprint.
Good times. I just finished reading this to my boys. I can't count how many times we laughed out loud. We love the characters, and they have wormed their way into our everyday language - like if someone doesn't hear something right, we call them Saucepan Man. I can see why the Faraway Tree is so loved. I want to try pop cakes and google buns, I want to ride down the slippery slip on a cushy pillow and I want to knit the red squirrel a sweater. Fun book.
This is the third book in The Magic Faraway Tree trilogy. This series was my favourite when I was young and I was so excited to share it with my children for the first time, but not for the last. We will definitely read them all again.
**Interviews with my 4 and 6 year old kids**
Me: What did you think of the story? Mr 6: It was awesome and not a bit stupid. It was just awesome and no stupid at all. Miss 4: I like it.
Me: Which bit did you like the best? Mr 6: I liked it when they saved the Faraway Tree. Miss 4: Um when they, when they, I don't know. I don't know Mum.
Me: Who was your favourite character? Mr 6: Joe, Moonface and saucepan. And of course Whatsiname. What is Whatsiname's name? Actually, it's too hard to remember. Miss 4: Silky
Me: Which land would you like to go to? Mr 6: I would like to go to the land of get something for your Mummy. That wasn't in the book, but I would like to go to that land if it comes. Actually, I would like to go to that land where you buy things for other people so i could buy roses for you. *Kisses my forehead* I love you Mum. Miss 4: Land of the tree.
At least now I know what Enid Blyton's writing is like. I'm still not clear why she's so popular. Sure she is imaginative and fun, but there are so many other writers who I think execute imagination and excellent prose at the same time.
This has always been my favourite of the trilogy. I always really liked Curious Connie. Even though she was rude, spoilt and sulky in the beginning? But then she didn't really seem that spoilt? Who wouldn't want to make a good first impression on meeting new people and wearing a nice dress? And who wouldn't be sulky after getting stained with ink and dumped with washing water. Sure she deserved the first one, she was told not to peek in on the Angry Pixie but I don't know. It feels like she was unfairly demonised for being a bit nosy.
But moving around to the illustrations there's a couple of weird ones here, for some reasons I was always sure that Beth was the one with the brown hair and Frannie with the blonde but when they are in the Land of Enchantments it's the blonde haired child that's drawn stuck in the fairy ring though the story says that Beth was the one that got stuck. This could just be a me thing though. I have been known to get confused with children's books.
This book follows pretty much the same formula as the previous two. Visit a land, something goes wrong, someone needs to be rescued, the children manage to escape, swear they are going to not go on any adventures for awhile and yet the do. But we always end on a nice note with a nice land to visit and this time it's the Land of Treats after the gang saves the Faraway Tree from near death. (Is there an allegory in there about mining being bad? Maybe? Who knows.)
This might be my favourite of the trilogy because it was the one I read first.
Al treilea volum al seriei mi-a plăcut mult mai mult decât al doilea. Alături de cei trei frați o găsim pe o Connie ,fetița răsfățată a unei prietene. Bineinteles ca si acest volum e plin de peripetii, Connie pierdandu-se intr-un tărâm, copii ajung la Jack pt a folosi vrejul de fasole pt a urma in Taramul Uriasulor de acolo sa treaca in Tărâmul Minunatiilor ca sa o poata recupera . Mama lui Mos Cratiță este bucatareasa Madamei Răsteala ,dar planurile de acasa nu coincid cu cele de acolo si iar au loc peripetii. Cred ca cel mai frumos capitol ,a fost încercarea copiilor de a scăpa copacul de trolii care îl făceau sa moară, asa de termina acest volum ,cand copacul revine la viață...si Connie total schimbată este pregătită să se întoarcă acasă...
The third and final book of The Faraway Tree series, The Folk of the Faraway Tree has a new guest staying with the three children - their cousin, Connie. Connie is curious about everything and this obviously leads to several adventures. The girl also obviously disbelieves the tales about the magic wood and the tree, which annoy the others. But really, who would believe such things without first experiencing them?!
This book has several interesting lands like the Land of Nursery Rhymes and the Land of Know-Alls. But the adventures the children go on don't have much to do with the lands themselves. Instead, they have to go to Dame Slap's school again voluntarily to have tea with Saucepan's mother. This leads to chaos again. And when the Faraway Tree appears to be dying, they all have to find out how to rescue the tree and cure it so that they could save the homes of the folk of the faraway tree and keep their pathway to future adventures intact.
The book is slightly dated, especially when the males send the females away from danger situations. I mean, Jo isn't that old himself! It's also interesting that Connie is kept being told off for being entirely normal. All children can't be sickly sweet all the time, can they now?
I did enjoy this series, and I like the fact that the Faraway Tree is the last of my reviewed books of 2018. Here's hoping 2019 will bring more adventures my way through our very own beloved Faraway Tree - books!
Read this book 35+ years ago, then found it at moms house recently, so read it to my daughter (5) as a bedtime story over last few weeks. Gosh it took me back. It’s an old 70s copy so lacking in political correctness at times, and all original names. Have found the trilogy in modern binding today with the updated names (who are Beth and Frannie?!) so looking forward to cracking them open with Little Miss soon!!
I really love the folk who live in the Faraway tree and all the adventures in the lands above. I love all the characters and this is just a fun book that child or adult can love. My one problem with it is that the girls had to stay safe and not be allowed to go on one adventure even though they are often the ones who come up with the ideas on how to fix things.
Three siblings and their friend, Connie, visit the wood behind their cottage, and at the center of the forest is the Faraway Tree. It is the largest tree in the world; so large that the top reaches the clouds, and at the very top the Faraway Tree connects to a magical land. But the magical connection changes every week, so that you never know which land will be at the top of the tree. It might be the Land of Birthdays where everyone gets a free birthday party. Or it might be the land of evil goblins. It might be a land that rolls and jumps with constant earthquakes. Whatever land there is, the three children and their fairy friends are sure to have a wild adventure!
At first, Connie insists that she doesn't believe in magic trees or magical people, but once she climbs up the Faraway Tree, she quickly changes her mind. She is selfish and rude in the beginning, but she learns to be more polite and kind as the children encounter difficult adventures.
This writing is similar in style to the Wizard of Oz books, and very enjoyable! I like how imaginative each different land is; you never know what will happen next!
There are quite a lot of different fairyland characters. Goblins, pixies, brownies, talking animals, and others who defy description. Even the trees can talk in this magical forest!
The third one felt a little slapdash in the admittedly erratic plotting style established. Rick/Dick is gone, instead we have Connie, a spoilt girl who is constantly (and increasingly unfairly) picked on and chastised by the others and reminded what a horrid little girl she is. Even at the end, when she's pretty much redeemed herself. Harsh. In fact, one of her biggest 'sins' is her curiosity. Apparently a negative personality trait in the female form! Sadly, I'm not sure much has changed.
Still, it meant we had some interesting conversations with my 4 yr old boy about gender roles and the idiocy of perpetuating the same.
These books certainly don't stand up as well as some other childhood favourites but I have fond memories of them and my son really enjoyed them. He wants to get back to the BFG now so we might read that next.
If anyone have read the series of the 'Magic Faraway Tree' you could read it even a trillion times, that amazing this series are. Especially the characters Saucepan Man, Silky, Moon-Face, Joe, Fannie and Beth. These characters are funny, brave, helpful, rapturous, angry, grumpy, sad, exited, every behavior people have in the world. The first book of this series is 'The Enchanted Wood' the second one is 'The Magic Faraway Tree' and this book is the last one. I love the series of the 'Magic Faraway Tree'. all the ages will love this book if you find this series in the library, to read online or to buy, you should read this series and enjoy all the adventures! They also helped a tree can you find it?
It’s taken years to read this trilogy to my children and tonight we have finished the final volume. They loved the adventures of the children and the Folk of the Faraway Tree. Given that my father read it to his children, and now I’ve read it to mine, I can safely say that it’s stood the test of time!
Some of the vocabulary is a little outdated but it hasn’t been a problem. If nothing else, it has helped my children to learn new words. The characters are quite static and predictable, and most chapters have their own narrative arc and finished fully resolved—making it the perfect bedtime story, and suitable to reading over a long period of time.
Compared to the first two in the series, this was a bit of a dud. Well, a real dud, to be totally honest. It lacked the charm & whimsy of the first two, and the (yeah, yeah, for it's time) rampant sexism was blatantly obvious, even to the Spider. Neither of us enjoyed it very much - no wonder it took us so long to get through it.