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Someone Stole My Faraway Tree

by Twitchy on August 20, 2013

Enid Blyton. I have more than enough on this subject alone for a couple of posts but today just this: I always thought Blytoning was my job. Furthermore, why change the names- am I overreacting?

When I was about seven or eight, girls in my class were busy discovering Blyton. More specifically, the Faraway Tree trilogy made up of The Enchanted Wood, The Faraway Tree and The Folk of the Faraway Tree. We collected the series with the colourfully painted picture covers, cherished them, compared notes and raced each other to read to the end. There’s no better motivation to improve your early reading than becoming wholeheartedly absorbed in an exciting world of make-believe.

I grew up having already decided that one day I’d share this magical fairy world with my own children, and managed to do so with my now Mr 13. It was a lovely way to spend a few months of bedtime reading; a chapter or two a night followed by the anticipated “Oh, just a bit more!!” that brought a smile to my heart. I hoped the need to know what happened next would kick-start his own reading, as it truly had mine.

I’d planned also to read with my Twitchette (Miss 6 who started primary school last year) but one day in Term 3, she came home talking about familiar characters, Moonface and Silky. I was curious and so asked, how did she come to know about them?

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I felt utterly betrayed to learn that the class of five year olds was being read to without my knowledge! Surely this was something we parents should have received a note home about, you know, like sex education? Did I not deserve the courtesy of some warning that a job I’d so looked forward to- introducing my wide-eyed child to Blyton-land- was to be outsourced?

Adding insult to injury, I learned in detail the truth behind the rumours I’d heard that names had been changed to protect the innocent. No more Dicks and Fannies! (Oh why ever so?) It was now Rick and Frannie, Bessie was now Beth. Whyyyyyyyy? Oh probably so teachers thieving the job of parents did not have to endure a mat’s-worth of littles sniggering behind hands… (when they should be in their pyjamas  snuggling parents at bed time, reading old-school original copies at home). Dick. Fanny. Bessie.

It doesn’t end there. This year, my mother purchased a brilliant set of story CD’s: the entire trilogy as read and characterised by my fave, Kate Winslet.* The kids listen to their stories every night on repeat, which is great, except now they know every word to every book so  (like many other ancient pastimes from merely a generation ago) they need not bother with any of the work for themselves.

 

* Okay, perhaps I am a bit jealous.

{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

Karen December 28, 2013 at 12:17 pm

I just read an online review on one of these amazing books and it mentioned a Fanny but no Dick….had a Rick instead. Now thats’s not fair…….Fanny allowed but no Dick!

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Twitchy December 30, 2013 at 8:56 pm

No, all is equally unfair; Dick is Rick and Fanny is Frannie. Why Bessie was changed to Beth I don’t understand either :/

Kirsten McCulloch August 21, 2013 at 1:47 pm

But, I just rememebered the one I was really sad about, which is the Narnia stories, which we read to Kid #1, but then someone gave them too him on disk, so when we started reading them to kids #2, she was bored! 🙁

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Kirsten McCulloch August 21, 2013 at 1:46 pm

I know, I am still annoyed that they changed the names. I managed to read The Magic Faraway tree to my two eldest, but the school got to read the other two to them – and I can’t get a copy with the old names! So they have to live with this weird juxtaposition of the same characters with different names in the different books. So ridiculous.

And yes, I feel your pain with missing out on sharing it with them. I am currently reading The Lord of the Rings to my eldest, and it frustrates me no end that some of it has been spoiled by kids at school *who’ve seen the movies*. But, at least we are reading it together. Of course, he’s driven crazy, cause he wants to get through it more quickly to catch up with his classmates, but I won’t let him read ahead. Then again, he has *plenty* else to read, so I don’t feel too bad 🙂

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Pip (bub sweat and tears) August 20, 2013 at 10:36 pm

Oh how I loved this series. I was always a bit miffed why the series was banned from my school library and the fantasy aspect in inspired in English pieces I wrote always scored particularly low grades. I too would see this as a privilege passing on such works to the next generation and similarly I hope I’m the only one that reads her Anne of Green Gables 🙂

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Twitchy August 20, 2013 at 10:57 pm

I have a copy of that put away too 😉

EssentiallyJess August 20, 2013 at 8:29 pm

It annoys me no end that they felt the need to change the names. And seriously, what is wrong with Bessie?
I always loved her adventure series. The Valley of Adventure, The Island of Adventure and so forth.
Also Malory Towers. They were my faves.

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Emily @ Have a laugh on me August 20, 2013 at 7:19 pm

How dare they change the names, I ADORE those books, gave me such a great imagination, and can’t wait to read them to my kids, with the same names in the original! I’m quite impressed they are reading it to five-year-olds!!

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Twitchy August 20, 2013 at 10:40 pm

Dick and Fanny! Dick and Fanny! Here’s to Dicks and Fannies everywhere!

Tegan August 20, 2013 at 6:10 pm

I hate that kids are being ‘protected’ from these perceived bad things. I thought schools were supposed to teach anatomically correct terms anyway so really dick and fanny shouldn’t be an issue..but obviously someone kicked up enough stink for the publishers to change them.

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Twitchy August 21, 2013 at 12:58 am

There’s always someone kicking up stink about something- but I can’t believe publishers caved. Maybe the Madam Slap thing (violence/abuse)… oh I DON’T KNOW.

Josefa @always Josefa August 20, 2013 at 6:03 pm

I had the entire Enid Blyton collection, packed away in a box and it has been lost over the years. I had to go and buy a copy of The Wishing Chair over the summer to read to the boys while on our road trip. I wish they will grow up to read all the books I love and more. Although not too sure how boys will go with Anne of green Gables? One can only hope….

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Mamagoingsolo August 20, 2013 at 4:57 pm

Oh I am completely on your side! I am counting the days til I think my daughter is old enough to be read these awesome tales to, as well as other favourites. And changed the names? Really? That is such a shame.

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Twitchy August 20, 2013 at 10:55 pm

Seriously- it’s like taking someone else’s kid to the zoo for the first time. Not right!

Lisa - lybliss August 20, 2013 at 3:00 pm

Also, don’t forget The Wishing Chair , and Amelia Jane series, these are fantastic for young kids xxx

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Lisa - lybliss August 20, 2013 at 2:58 pm

Absolutely know where you are coming from. This is parent to child rite of passage! We have an old set so we still have Dick and Fanny, and Madam Slap actually slaps the kids instead of just scolding them harshly.
A little piece of childhood died when they “politically correct”-ed these gorgeous books. Shame!

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Twitchy August 20, 2013 at 6:46 pm

You mean Madam Snap? She snaps her fingers when she’s angry, she’s SO mean!

Ness August 20, 2013 at 1:37 pm

I always loved The Faraway Tree and all Enid Blyton books, too. My brother, cousin and I used to pretend we were Jo, Bessie and Fanny, but even back then we couldn’t deal with the name Fanny so we changed it to Francie. Sadly, my boys have zero interest in any Blyton books and if I did ever read them to them all that would happen would be a lot of sniggering over those names. Sigh.

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Sam Stone August 20, 2013 at 1:01 pm

WHAT! They changed the names. I am outraged as one day I wanted to share these stories with my little miss, who is now five….I better start before she goes to school next year.

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Lisa - lybliss August 20, 2013 at 2:58 pm

Search Op-shops and 2nd hand book stores for the earlier editions. Never let the “Fanny and Dick” die out LOL

Ai Sakura August 20, 2013 at 11:45 am

Oh my.. I love Enid Blyton! Moonface..Silky.. thanks for bringing back these lovely memories for me this morning 🙂 Now I just want to rush home and find my old books to share with Lil Pumpkin!

P.S. I think a little note from the teachers should be in order too ;p

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Twitchy August 20, 2013 at 1:13 pm

Oh what a lovely comment. Enjoy, you two! PS L’il Pumpkin sounds like an inhabitant of the Enchanted Wood 😉

Lisa@RandomActsOfZen August 20, 2013 at 11:16 am

Oh, I love that you’re so outraged about this job being taken away, surely a note would be the proper way to break this news!
I couldn’t wait to introduce Bell to Trixie Belden, sadly she wasn’t as excited as I’d hoped 🙁 But she has jumped into The Naughtiest Girl series written by Enid Blyton, taking me right back to reading it under the covers when I was her age 🙂

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Renee at Mummy, Wife, Me August 20, 2013 at 10:46 am

Lol. Oh you poor thing! I kind of know how you feel though. I lost all (apart from a few Enid Blyton’s that I left at my mum’s house) the books from my childhood – my Enid Blyton’s, Babysitter Club’s etc in the Brisbane floods of 2010/11. I was gutted. I cried when I had to throw the box of them out. Destroyed. My husband couldn’t understand why I was so upset. I had kept them all these years with the dream of reading them to my girls … Anyway, hugs to you.

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Twitchy August 21, 2013 at 12:17 am

Renee I’m so sorry about the floods. I lost my childhood collection too- but that is a story for another post. Might have to ping you 🙂

Yvette @ Little Bento Blog August 20, 2013 at 9:44 am

I have collected the books (and babysitters club) for my daughter she’s only 4 but I want to read it too her when she is 7 or 8 – to discover what I discovered.. sad to know that they may read it earlier..

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Twitchy August 21, 2013 at 12:59 am

You might be safe with the Babysitters Club 🙂

fairy dust August 20, 2013 at 8:44 am

oh no they should have told you. I have all my childhood Enid stories to share and would also be annoyed if they took that away from me. It has been a controversy here in the UK for sometime, famous five expressions have changed, elements of Noddy, check out the EB society pages for the uproar. x Time to pull out the original and start reading it in a hurry .

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Twitchy August 20, 2013 at 9:08 am

Trust good ol’ Aunty Fairy Dust to have all the inside scoops 😀 I’d never have to ask where you stand, you Milne, Potter, Blyton junkie! Xx

Author Bek Mugridge (@bekmugridge) August 20, 2013 at 8:10 am

Oh I LOVED Enid Blyton as a kid!!
I hadn’t heard they had changed the names in them…

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Kathy August 20, 2013 at 7:31 am

Hi Twitchy – I love your passion for Enid Blyton and reading and your rightful indignation (how dare they!) – I’m sure you are going to pass on your love of reading to your daughter and have magical moments reading with her. There are always made-up stories – no one can steal them from your mind and put them on CD!

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Twitchy August 21, 2013 at 12:15 am

Too true, great observation. Should I pop a few words into the school suggestion box?

Lydia C. Lee August 20, 2013 at 7:09 am

Why’d they change the name? That’s ridiculous. Someone better tell Dick Wolf.
Seriously, we are getting to puritanical for our own good. That is stupid. (sorry, not eloquent but that’s idiotic and I’m stunned)

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Twitchy August 21, 2013 at 12:13 am

My two favourite Dicks are York and Sargent (in that order) who both played Darrin in Bewitched 😉

Zanni Louise August 20, 2013 at 6:46 am

I completely get this Twitchy! I would be sad too! I have been writing about Faraway Tree too lately on my blog. This book has quite literally become my life lately. It’s a bit freaky. x

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Twitchy August 21, 2013 at 12:11 am

Oh how funny! I’ll check it out 🙂

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