Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Enchanted Wood by Edith Blyton, 1939

Joe, Beth and Franny move to the country and find an Enchanted Wood right on their doorstep. In the magic Faraway Tree live the magical characters that soon become their new friends – Moon-Face, Silky the fairy, and Saucepan Man. Together they visit the strange lands (the Roundabout Land, the Land of Ice and Snow, Toyland and the Land of Take What You Want) atop the tree and have the most exciting adventures – and narrow escapes.

The Enchanted Wood was absolutely one of my favorite books when I was younger. I haven't read it in a while, but I just noticed it on my shelf and thought I'd go for it and review them. Who wouldn't want to find a magic tree that has a magic land at the top which switches periodically? I could practically quote large sections of this book from memory, and I have to say that to this day, if I could pick anywhere to have a birthday party, I would pick Birthday Land. No question.

When I was at the prime age for reading the Faraway Tree series we couldn't get any of the sequals (turns out that outside of Switzerland - where my parents bought our copy of Enchanted Wood - they're pretty hard to get!), and I didn't get them until one memorable Christmas a few years later when I received not only the two other Faraway Tree books, but the Magical Rocking Chair (or whatever it's called), too! I remember enjoying seeing the kids again, but it was the first book that won my heart. Faraway Tree is full of fairies, mean old ladies, giants, and more. But the children are at the heart of the story, those delightful little kids who found the tree on a picnic and had lots of adventures while their parents smiled and waved them off from behind (yes, it's that kind of book). But they also did their chores, even getting held back from going to the tree because they have to work in the garden, etc. At one point they go to a great big market with almost everything, and besides a few more quirky purchases they obtain a new garden spade and a goat for their mother. They aren't the generic Mary Sue, but they are sweet, dutiful children who made me secretly yearn to live in a little cottage near a big forest.

And Moon Face. Who can forget Moon Face? Or Sylvia? I loved the characters so much when I was younger, and I'm just now thinking about them for the first time in years. These books probably fed my love of reading more than almost any other book (besides Narnia, my first love). Give them to your daughters, your sons, your nieces and nephews. As soon as they can read, offer this book to them. Please.

And read it yourself while you're at it!

P.S. Sorry about the low quality cover pic, it was the only one I could find of the copy I own. The other covers are a little too tacky-looking for my taste.

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