Book Bingo 9

Author: Debra Found

Date Published: Jan 5th 2017, 2:37pm

The 9th square in my book bingo challenge is to read a book that you loved as a child. For this I chose The Faraway Collection by Enid Blyton. This contains three of the Faraway Tree books - The Enchanted Wood, The Folk of the Faraway Tree & the Magic Faraway Tree.

I was an Enid Blyton addict as a child. I grew up with the Naughtiest Girl in the school, Mr Galliano's Circus, St Clares, Malory Towers, The Secret Seven, The Five Finder-Outers, The Famous name it, I read it. I would have happily have chosen any of these books as part of my challenge but I spotted a combined copy of these three Faraway Tree books in a charity shop so decided to buy & read that.

I am always a bit dubious about re-reading books that were my favourite when I was younger. Sometimes you need to be in the right place, at the right time and at the right age for a book to speak to you in a certain way. It is for this reason I have never re-read "The Lord of the Flies" as I feel that I was exactly right for the book at the time. So I was a bit dubious but gave the Faraway Tree a go.

Although it has been around 40 years since I last read this I can understand why they held magic for me as a child. The same magic isn't there for me now but I haven't ruined my childhood memories by reading these again. I was so pleased to be reunited with the old gang - Moon-Face, Silky, Saucepan Man and all of the magical creatures. They are part of a make believe world that a little bit of me still wishes existed. The whole idea of going into different lands for different experiences was very exciting. I have a feeling that books like this helped to provide the grounding for my enjoyment of fantasy books throughout my life.

It did amuse me to find that the children's names have been slightly changed to fit better in modern society. Jo is now the more usual male spelling of Joe. Bessie has become Beth & Fanny has become Frannie.

As an adult the books should fill me with parental concerns - climbing out of the window to go to the woods in the middle of the night, befriending strange men, accepting food and gifts from strangers...horror! Then there is the terrible gender discrimination - Dad digs the garden with Joe whilst the girls help Mother in the house! Silky is pretty so she is a nice fairy and the goblins are obviously bad because they are ugly. Interestingly despite being fed these and other similar generalisations through 1960s & 70s children's books it doesn't seem to have left me scarred! We all survived these politically incorrect books of our childhood!

I am quite surprised at how much I enjoyed going back and re-reading these childhood favourites. I was quite suprised at how short these books were though. When I was 7 or 8 these seemed to be very long books.......