Follow TV Tropes


Literature / The Faraway Tree

Go To

"Up the Faraway Tree. Jo, Bessie and me!"
Fanny, singing about climbing the Faraway Tree.

The Faraway Tree is a series of five novels by British children's author Enid Blyton.

The series follows the adventures of Jo, Bessie and Fanny (renamed Joe, Beth and Frannie in later reprints), three siblings who have just moved to the countryside with their parents. While out exploring, they discover an enchanted forest, where the eponymous Faraway Tree grows. It's easily the biggest tree in the entire forest, and is home to various fairy folk who live inside the trunk.

The topmost branches of the Faraway Tree reach up into the clouds, and are used to access various magical 'lands' that appear amongst the clouds. The lands themselves vary from nice lands, like 'The Land of Birthdays' or 'The Land of Take-What-You-Want', to not so nice lands like 'The Land of Punishments' or 'The Land of Tempers'. Each land moves away from the tree to make way for the next one, the length of time a land will stay seems to vary. Some lands will only stay for an hour or so, but other lands will stay for days.


If you aren't quick enough to climb back down the Faraway Tree before the land moves on, you will be stuck there until the land happens to move back to the top of the tree. This happens to the protagonists more often than not, but they find various ways to get back to the tree by travelling through other lands to get back to the enchanted forest, or by using magic.

In 1997, The Faraway Tree was adapted into the first season of Enid Blyton's Enchanted Lands, an animated series created for the BBC by Cosgrove Hall.


The Faraway Tropes:

  • Berserk Button: The Angry Pixie hates it when people look in his window when they're climbing up the Faraway Tree.
  • Big Eater: The three main children eat quite a lot, but their cousin Dick is noted for being especially greedy.
  • Bowdlerise: Fanny and Dick were renamed Frannie and Rick in later reprints. Dame Slap was also renamed Dame Snap, and instead of slapping people, she would shout at them instead. In a 3-in-1 reprint, all references to slapping were removed which makes a couple of passages odd (such as Moon-Face announcing that he had "such a scolding") and a number of food items were updated to make it more accessible to the children (such as Pop Biscuits being renamed "Pop Cakes" and so on)
  • British Weather: Averted, the children seem to be blessed with mostly sunny and beautiful weather. Maybe because they live near an enchanted forest?.
  • Character Development: Jo, Bess and Fanny change very little throughout the books, but their cousin Dick learns not to be quite so greedy, and their spoilt friend Connie becomes less of a brat.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The Angry Pixie is a pixie with a Hair-Trigger Temper, Dame Washalot is a woman who enjoys washing clothes to the point that she'll clean the leaves of the Faraway Tree if she has nothing else to wash, and Moon-Face is a man with a round, moon-like face.
  • Food Porn: The Land of Birthdays and the Land of Goodies (along with the Land of Treats to a minor extent) is very heavy handed on the Food Porn, but there's also magical treats that Moon-Face and Silky hand out to the children whenever they visit such as Pop Cakes, and Toffee Shocks.
  • Free-Range Children: Played with, the children are allowed to go out to the Faraway Tree when they aren't doing chores at home, but they're often told to come back at a certain time. They also end up exploring far off lands with little to no adult supervision. (at least parental supervision-one could imply that the folk in the tree are adults)
  • Gender-Equal Ensemble: In the second book there are two boys, Jo and their cousin Dick, and the two girls, Bessie and Fanny. Averted however, when you add in the Faraway Tree characters, who outnumber the girls.
  • Hair of Gold: Silky's hair is very blond and beautiful, and she's easily the sweetest person in the entire series.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: The Angry Pixie has one. Also everyone from the Land of Tempers; it's said that if you lose your temper there, then you're forced to live there for the rest of your life.
  • Journey to the Sky: The titular magical tree grows right up into the clouds, and climbing to its top usually leads to some Magical Land (a different one every week), although the length of time each land stays can vary from days to hours, which can result in characters being stuck there. On one occasion, in order to rescue someone who had become trapped in the Land of Marvels, the others have to get there via the adjoining Land of Giants, which they access by climbing Jack's beanstalk.
  • Mouthy Kid: Dick can be like this at times, but he's still quite a polite version of the trope. Connie also fits this to a lesser extent.
  • Nuclear Family: There's a mother and father, and the three children themselves.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Mr. Watizname, a resident of the Faraway Tree, doesn't remember what his actual name is, and is happy to go by Mr. Watizname. He later founds out in the Land of Secrets that his name is actually Kollamoolitumarellipawkyrollo, but goes back to being Mr. Watizname by the end of the story, due to forgetting his name all over again.
  • Only One Name: You never find out the children's surname, and none of the Faraway Tree residents appear to have surnames. Or in the case of Mr. Watizname and Dame Washalot, any first names.
  • Running Gag: Whenever someone climbs the Faraway Tree for the first time, they'll always look inside the Angry Pixie's window, despite being told not to, and will usually have cold water or ink thrown at them. They'll also be hit by Dame Washalot's dirty wash water, and will ask if anyone's ever been tempted to drop something into Mr. Watizname's open mouth as he sleeps. They'll also be surprised by Toffee Shocks, a sweet that grows larger until it finally pops.
    • The Saucepan Man mishearing what people say, because he's a little deaf from the clashing of the various pots and pants he keeps strung about his person.
    • This becomes an Brick Joke later when we're introduced to Saucepan's mother, who is just as deaf as he is.
  • Sixth Ranger: Dick in the second book, and Connie in the third.
  • Spoiled Brat: Connie starts out like this.
  • Status Quo Is God: No matter who gets stuck in one of the lands, or what happens to the Faraway Tree, everything will always go back to normal by the end of the day.
    • Slightly averted with the Saucepan Man; his land moves on while he's visiting the Faraway Tree, but he's more than content to move in with Mr. Watizname.
  • Sticky Fingers: Dick, in the Land of Goodies gets into trouble for stealing and eating someone's door knocker.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: It's very subtle, but Fanny seems to be more of a Tomboy, and Bessie is more of a Girly Girl.
  • Tube Travel: Moon Face has a slide all the way from his house at the top to the bottom of the Faraway Tree which runs in a spiral down the middle of tree to the bottom. You have to bring him toffees next time you visit (at first, no mention of this is made in later books), and a squirrel collects the cushions when you emerge.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: