|Cover artist Georgina Hargreaves|
No. of books 4
Originally published 1992
Illustrator Georgina Hargreaves
|Country United Kingdom|
Number of books 4
Genre Fantasy Fiction
|Books The Enchanted Wood, The Magic Faraway Tree, The Folk of the Faraway, Up the far away tree|
Similar Enid Blyton books, Other books
The Faraway Tree is a series of popular novels for children by British author Enid Blyton. The titles in the series are The Enchanted Wood (1939), The Magic Faraway Tree (1943), The Folk of the Faraway Tree (1946) and Up the Faraway Tree (1951).
- The Enchanted Wood
- The Magic Faraway Tree
- The Folk of the Faraway Tree
- Up the Faraway Tree
The stories take place in an enchanted forest in which a gigantic magical tree grows – the eponymous "Faraway Tree". The tree is so tall that its topmost branches reach into the clouds and it is wide enough to contain small houses carved into its trunk. The forest and the tree are discovered by three children named Joe, Beth and Frannie, who move into a house nearby. It is then that they embark on adventures to the top of the tree.
The first title of the main trilogy, The Enchanted Wood, was published in 1939, although the Faraway Tree and Moon-Face had already made a brief appearance in 1936 in The Yellow Fairy Book. A picture-strip book, Up the Faraway Tree, was published in 1951. Over the years, the Faraway Tree stories have been illustrated by various artists including Dorothy Wheeler, Rene Cloke, Janet and Anne Grahame Johnstone, and Georgina Hargreaves.
The Enchanted Wood
In the first novel in the series, Jo, Bessie and Fanny move to live near a large wood. One day, they go for a walk in the wood and discover an enormous tree whose branches seem to reach into the clouds. This is the Faraway Tree.
When the children climb the Faraway Tree they discover it is inhabited by different magical creatures, including Moon-Face, Silky the fairy, The Saucepan Man, Dame Washalot, Mr. Watzisname and the Angry Pixie. They befriend some of these creatures, in particular Moon-face and Silky. At the very top of the tree they discover a ladder which leads them to a magical land. This land is different on each visit, because each place moves on from the top of the tree to make way for a new land. The children are free to come and go, but they must leave before the land moves on, or they will be stuck there until that same land returns to the Faraway Tree. In various chapters, one of the children gets stuck in the land.
The lands at the top are sometimes extremely unpleasant – for example the Land of Dame Slap, an aggressive school teacher; and sometimes fantastically enjoyable - notably the Land of Birthdays, the Land of Goodies, the Land of Take-What-You-Want and the Land of Do-As-You-Please.
The first land the three children visit is the Roundabout Land, where they give some cake to two rabbits, and the rabbits dig a hole for themselves and the three children. The last land they visit in this book is the Land of Birthdays, where the brownies and the inhabitants of the Faraway Tree celebrate Bessie's birthday.
The Magic Faraway Tree
Dick, the cousin of Jo, Bessie and Fanny comes to stay, and he joins the secret adventures in the lands of the Faraway Tree. Dick is not interested at first but later on he becomes interested, and gets into mischief.
The Folk of the Faraway Tree
Connie, a mischievous girl, comes to enjoy a few days with the children while her mother, Lizzie, is sick. At first Connie refuses to believe in the Faraway Tree or the magical folk who live in it, even when the Angry Pixie throws ink at her and when Dame Washalot soaks her. Jo, Bessie and Fanny take her to the lands at the top of the tree and Connie gets a few surprises! The Saucepan Man's mother decides to live in the tree, leaving her job as a baker in Dame Slap's land. She sets up a surprising cake shop in the tree.
Up the Faraway Tree
Jo, Bessie and Fanny are joined by Robin and Joy, two children who have read all about the magic Faraway Tree and the Enchanted Wood. Along come more exciting adventures in the various types of lands at the top of the Tree. All the children are captured by the devious and sinister Enchanter Red-Cloak, they have exciting times in the Land of Wishes, and give a delicious tea-party when the Land of Cakes arrives.
The main characters are Jo, Bessie and Fanny, three siblings. Fanny is the youngest, Bessie is next in age and Jo is their big brother. They live near the Enchanted Wood and are friends of the residents of the Faraway Tree. Other characters include:
In modern reprints, the names of some of the characters have been changed. Jo has been changed to Joe, the more common spelling for males, and Bessie is now Beth, the former name having fallen out of usage as a nickname for Elizabeth. Fanny and Dick, whose names now carry unfortunate connotations, have been renamed Frannie and Rick. Dame Slap has become Dame Snap, and no longer practises corporal punishment but instead reprimands her students by shouting at them.
Entire passages of the original have been rewritten to remove references to fighting. For instance, when the tree is taken over by Goblins in The Enchanted Wood, the Goblins were originally fought off, with descriptions of Mr. Whatzisname 'pummelling them as if he were beating carpets' and the Saucepan Man throwing his saucepans at them. These have been replaced with cursory references to 'chasing'.
In October 2014, it was announced that the books will be adapted for the cinema for the first time and are being developed for a live action film version by Sam Mendes' production company, Neal Street Productions.
In 1997, stories from the novels were adapted into ten-minute episodes for the TV series Enid Blyton's Enchanted Lands.