22nd May '17
This beautifully illustrated and robust hardback is one I have thoroughly enjoyed reading just as much as the children because it invokes memories of my childhood which were always full of imagination, fantasy and enchanted worlds. I’ve not read the prequel to this but have been told by some of my class that it is definitely one to read and after enjoying this book more than I expected I’ll definitely take them up on their recommendation. The pictures are stunning, although few are printed into the actual book they are awash with colour and jam-packed, featuring tiny drawings of creatures, plants and flowers and much bigger drawings of the characters and settings. It is the perfect accompaniment to such a wonderful book. The children actually gasped and said “Wow!” when I showed them the first picture. It was quite a breath taking moment for them as some of them have copies of the earlier published versions and the pictures aren’t anywhere near as animated and colourful, so I’m told. The story is all about siblings who visit different lands at the top of The Magic Faraway tree and have friendships and special bonds with the creatures and things that inhabit the tree such as an angry pixie, fairies and an owl etc. The children adore these characters and tell everyone about them so when their mother’s friend asks if they can take care of her young daughter while she goes away to hospital the children cannot wait to convince young ‘Curious Connie’ that the animals, creatures and the enchanted wood are all in fact real and totally enchanted. From the beginning Connie is a non-believer and shoos away their comments about the different friends they have living in the enchanted wood. She only starts to believe when things start to happen that cannot be explained except by enchantment and magic. She was the children’s least favourite character because she was quite rude and spoilt and looked down at everyone else for believing in such ‘nonsense’, or so she thought. They loved imagining the settings and characters using the clearly descriptive language that the book uses but most importantly they loved the magic and fantasy of the story. The book is perfect for the age group I teach, 6-7 year olds, and even the boys were besotted with the story and found it inspiring and amusing, much to my surprise as they generally prefer stories like Horrid Henry. The story has underlying themes about lying, being rude and unkindness running throughout, which are themes that we have been focusing on in our PSHE lessons recently so it was interesting to hear the children’s thoughts on how Enid Blyton conquered such issues; when you hear someone else’s business you’d get a spell to take away your voice if you lived in the Land of Enchantment which happened to Connie when she was being nosey and interfering in someone else’s business. It has been a pleasure to read such a beautiful book – it reminds me of many much loved children’s books from my own childhood, Harry Potter – with the invisibility cloaks which can be bought in a particular Land, Charlie and the Chocolate factory with the wonderful treats the children eat at their friend Moon-Face’s house inside the Faraway Tree, Alice in wonderland when they visit the Land of Tea Parties and many more. All full of magic and wonder and all allowing children’s minds to wonder into new realms. I am so glad I chose to read this book with them as I was hooked myself – it’s endearing visiting a new world through the pages of a book. I found it enchanting and it gave me feelings of wanderlust!
KB aged 7: I like it because the author and the illustrator had brilliant ideas. I want to go there!
GO aged 6: I LOVE the tree the best because it is magical and I love magic!
KC aged 7: I loved the book, it’s the best we’ve read so far!
AD aged 7: I thought it was really good. I’d love to go there, especially at the end for the land of treats, you could just have anything you like. When I was little I always had a whinge when I couldn’t press buttons, so I’d love to do that too. I didn’t think I’d like it but in the end I loved it. I loved the names, they were funny. I like their plans too, they had really good plans.
KB aged 7: I thought this book was going to be for girls but I really liked it too. I loved the pictures the best. They were so colourful! I wish I could draw like that.
IS aged 7: I liked the Faraway tree and all the different lands, especially the land of treats and in most of the lands there was nice people and I’d really like to go there.
AL aged 7: I liked the goblins best because they kept on getting scared by caterpillars because they thought they were snakes. That was really funny.
IP aged 6: I'm glad Connie turned out nice, I didn't like her in the beginning, she was mean like Horrid Henry. But in the end she was a bit more kind and she believed in the Faraway Tree even though she never wanted to.