THE ENCHANTED WOOD
- Enid Blyton -
This book was a hit in our house! The five year old love it, and the thirty plus old couldn't put it down. The begs for 'just one more chapter' were frequently given into and reading would go late into the night...sometimes past 8pm! As I've eluded to, this book is so well written it appeals to everyone. Although aimed at kids the imaginative world that Blyton creates is just so interesting and magical that I found I was just excited for bedtime story time as my daughter.
The general story is about three children who find a gigantic magical tree in a small forest behind their house. At the top of the tree is a ladder that leads into the clouds and other lands. The lands change daily and you never know what will be up there. Being a children's book makes anything possible - there is no adult pretense that confines the imagination. The children find lands like 'take-what-you-want', 'birthday land', 'the land of topsy-turvy', and many more. Each one is extreme in some aspect which in most cases turns into a problem - an adventure as they refer to it in the book. Many times the children find themselves on the verge of being stuck in whatever strange land they are in forever, either by not following the obsure rules and laws they were ignorant of or just bad luck falling into the grasp of an evil wizard (or similar magical being). But, luckily they always seem to escape just in the knick of time.
The cast of characters is also unforgettable. You have Moon-face, a small man with a big head which looks like the moon. Silky, a soft spoken fairy with golden hair. Saucepan man, a ragtag fellow who wears pots and pans instead of clothing. Mr. Whatz-his-name, a strange guy who sleeps all the time and has no idea what his name is. Dame washalot, the local launderer who is constantly pouring her water down the tree and soaking unsuspecting climbers. And, a gaggle of other fairies, snowmen, wizards, goblins, animals...the list goes on.
Enid is able to create an almost believeable world by getting into the nitty-gritty details. She invents strange foods - pop-cakes & toffee shocks (both of which blow up in your mouth). She describes the tree in great detail it's texture and colour...it's almost like you are there. There is a lot of though put into describing the daily lives of the children and the strange fairy folk, which could sound boring and mundane, but Blyton makes it extremely interesting.
This book is the perfect blend of action/adventure and the building of a new imaginary world. The story is a constant up and down, which keeps things interesting, and makes for perfect places to stop reading - at least for the night. There is just so much packed into this book that a reread is just as enjoyable as the first time around.