You know those quizzes when they ask you to list the books you've read that have most influenced your life? Probably we start off thinking about the ones that have made us wiser, kinder, more understanding or stimulated to do something incredible.
To kill a Mockingbird
Catcher in The Rye
Of course the list is endless. The influence of a book can be far reaching, thread its way through your life or it can seem like a waste of time or traumatise you. Good or bad the books we read have some sort of effect on us.
Today my Brother told me that at Waterstones in Piccadilly there was a display of my favourite childhood books, The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton. He said it is the seventy-fifth anniversary of these books, so they were written before I was born.
I loved those stories and read them time and again throughout my childhood and beyond.
For those of you who don't know the stories about The Magic Faraway Tree here is a brief summary.
Three children live with their mother in the countryside. At the end of their garden there is a wood. Being children of seventy-five years ago they are allowed to go and play in the wood on their own. They find a very large magic tree called the faraway tree. All sorts of unusual folk live in the tree.
Dame Washalot who is always washing and tips her dirty water down the tree with no warning.
The Saucepan man who has become slightly deaf due to the constant clanging of the pots and pans that hang round him all the time. There are very amusing misunderstandings every time he has a conversation.
Silky the fairy who is kindness itself.
Moon face, the most wonderful wise and kind moon faced person.
At the top of the magic tree there is a ladder leading up into the clouds.
Different lands arrive at the top of the tree and the children and their woodland friends climb up the ladder into the lands. They can only stay there until a bell sounds to warn them that the land is moving on.
Moon face lives at the top of the tree and he has a slippery slip in the middle of his house so everyone can quickly slide to the bottom of the tree.
One day in one of the books the children's cousin Connie comes to stay. At first she is an unpleasant character but under the influence of the children she becomes nice and kind and everyone gets very fond of her. i seem to remember her going to the Land of Spanks before she became nice.
Where Enid Blyton shows her amazing imagination is with the variety of lands that arrive at the top of the tree.
I haven't read the books for a long time but the land I liked best was the land of birthdays where they have a wishing cake and one of them wishes for wings.
I wonder if children today would find the same magic and wonder that we found, I think so, but the names would have to be changed, and maybe there would be a land of computers, mobile phones, flat screen televisions, skateboards, roller blades, electric guitars, it would be interesting to know what Enid Blyton would suggest but I think the Land of Spanks would be banned.
|Could the Magic Farawy tree be here|