The Land of Far Beyond – my favourite children’s book ever

When I recall all the amazing books that I read as a child, The Land of Far Beyond sticks out in my mind as my very favourite book ever. I came across this book in our public library when we were living in George in the Western Cape. I borrowed it over and over again and now, as an adult, I have managed to acquire my own copy.

As this book was written by Enid Blyton, whose writing is a bit controversial, I don’t believe it has ever achieved the recognition it should have. In my view it is right up there with the Chronicles of Narnia and The Hobbit.

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The Land of Far Beyond is loosely based on Pilgrim’s Progress, written in 1678 by John Bunyan. Both of these books are allegories or narratives with a moral meaning.

In Pilgrim’s Progress, Christian travels from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City with a burden of his sins on his back for part of the way. There are a number of other characters whom Christian meets, some of whom travel with him some of the way. Although he eventually does reach the Celestial City, the road is fraught with obstacles and difficulties.

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The Land of Far Beyond is the journey of a mixed group of adults and children from the City of Turmoil to the City of Happiness in the Land of Far Beyond. Before they leave on their journey, the group meet a kind stranger who shows them their bad deeds which appear in a physical form as burdens on their backs. The City of Turmoil is described as a wicked city where the children are neglected and allowed to run wild by their disinterested parents. The children are never thought to be kind or patient and are cruel to each other and to animals and older people.

There are five children featured in the book, Peter, whose name means “rock”, his sisters Patience and Anna, whose name means merciful or pitiful, and two other children Lily and John. There are also five adults, Mr Scornful, Mr Fearful, Dick Cowardly, Gracie Grumble and Sarah Simple, whose names give you insight into their characters. The group is told by the kind stranger that they will have to travel to the City of Happiness if they wish to lose their huge and unwieldy burdens. The group sets off together but the path is difficult and gradually each one falls by the wayside and only the three children, Peter, Anna and Patience finally arrive at the gates of the City of Happiness. Even after their extraordinarily difficult journey, their entrance into the city is not easy.

This book is full of moral and religious overtones although I am not sure how much of this I picked up on my first reading. I have read this book to both my children and it now resides in my special bookcase reserved for my favourite and most valued books.

As today is Good Friday, I thought it was an appropriate day to share my thoughts on this marvelous children’s book.

Happy Easter!

 

 

 

63 thoughts on “The Land of Far Beyond – my favourite children’s book ever

  1. Definitely an appropriate book to share today Robbie! I loved Enid Blyton as a child, and there are still so many of her books I haven’t read! I loved the school ones, Noddy, and Amelia Jane the doll’s series! I have the Secret Seven and Famous Five for the kids but they haven’t got into them.
    We read the Faraway Tree stories together!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have heard of Pilgrim’s Progress and even tried to read it as a student…couldn’t follow a word!!
    The Land of Far Beyond must have been read by my daughter as she had full collection of Enid Blyton. Sadly I had to donate all her childhood books when I came here.
    It is interesting that people talked about City of Happiness! Isn’t it kind of misguiding children?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Balroop, for your interesting comments. In the book the achievement of happiness is described as being through acts of kindness and loving others so in that context this is a appropriate. It is a contrast to the City of Turmoil where everyone is selfish and cruel.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve never heard of this book Robbie, but I can see why it would be special to you. It sounds amazing. What a perfect share on one of the holiest days of the year. Blessings and Happy Easter to you and your family!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sorry, i am one day too late. Thanky ou for posting this. I also had never heared about this book, but know some other books from Enid Blyton from my childhood. Seems to be a good story here.
    Happy Easter to you and the family. Michael

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve never heard of this book but I have heard of the author. Enid Blyton has been known to be controversial in her writing. She chose tough subjects to write about and didn’t worry how her books would be received. Good for her. This book sounds intriguing and deep. Thanks for sharing it with us, Robbie. 😆

    Liked by 1 person

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