Welcome to my new children’s book series which will run for February and March 2020. I have a wonderful selection of children’s books by both Indie and traditionally published authors lined up and will be sharing these posts on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
I have selected The Land of Far Beyond to review for this first post because it is my favourite children’s books. I remembered reading it, as a young girl, but it was a library book and I couldn’t remember the title or author. All I could remember was that it was a children’s version of The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan. When my first son was born and I started buying all the books that had enchanted me as a child, I became determined to find this book that had captured my imagination and around which I had built a number of dressing up games I played with my younger sisters and friends. After a bit of searching on the internet and Amazon, I managed to find The Land of Far Beyond.
Yesterday, I discovered this epic poem by author and poet, Daniel Kemp, which perfectly suited this post. It is called A Dream that was Lost and you can read it here: https://theauthordannykemp.com/2020/01/28/a-dream-that-was-lost-an-epic/
What Amazon says
Drawn from John Bunyan’s renowned fable The Pilgrim’s Progress, an engrossing tale details the adventures of three children who escape from the City of Turmoil and journey through the Wood of Deceit and the Demons of Boredom to find the House of Peace.
The Land of Far Beyond is loosely based on The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan and is also an allegory or a story that has a moral meaning.
The story features three children, Peter, Anna and Patience, who live in the City of Turmoil, and have grown up in a world of selfishly dissatisfied adults and undisciplined and unruly children who lack any moral or ethical guidance.
A kind and beautiful stranger visits the city and comes across a group of children, including Peter, Anna and Patience, who are abusing a homeless dog. The dog escapes the children and the stranger, whose name is Wanderer, asks the the three children where he can find some water to help clean the dog’s wound.
They show Wanderer to the river and he starts talking to them and saying what a terrible place the City of Turmoil is to live. He shows great pity for the children who must grow up here with no love and kindness shown to them. He tells them that they all carry terrible burdens because of all their unkindness and sins. The children don’t believe him until he makes visible and huge burdens appear on their backs.
Once these burdens have appeared, the stranger tells the children they must carry them forever unless they travel to the Land of Far Beyond where they can have them removed at the City of Happiness. He warns them that the journey is arduous and long. During this conversation, two other children and five disbelieving adults gather around and their sins also become visible burdens as a result of their torment of, and disbelief, of the stranger’s story.
The following day, the three children, together with their two friends, Lily and John, and the five afflicted adults — Mr Scornful, Mr Fearful, Dick Cowardly, Gracie Grumble and Sarah Simple, set off to find the Land of Far Beyond in an attempt to get their heavy burdens removed.
The stranger has warned them to keep to the narrow path but they are beset by troubles and temptations on the way, causing them to stray from the path and into danger. Although Peter and his sisters finally make it to the City of Happiness, their companions do not.
Mr Scornful is the main adult character in the book and becomes the leader of the group and the mainstay for the children, particularly as the other adults all give up their journey’s, one by one. He was a rich and powerful man in the City and Turmoil and, although he mellows and becomes kinder and understanding but not enough for him to gain access to the City of Happiness when they eventually arrive. He is told that he can make the journey to another gate on the other side of the city and that he would be ready for entry by the time he had faced the additional hardships of this new journey. He swallows his pride and agrees to go around to the other gate.
The story features all sorts of fascinating mythological creatures and people, many of whose names indicate their characteristics in the story. The travelers visit the castle of the Giant Cruelty where he keeps Misery, Poverty and Pain as prisoners and makes them dance for him. They are helped to escape by two women, Mercy and Pity, and are chased by the giant’s pageboy, Fright. The travelers also visit the City of Vanity which is immeasurably difficult to escape from.
The Land of Far Beyond contains a message that is still valid in our modern world of greed, selfishness and vanity and is an excellent book for middle school children to read.
Purchase The Land of Far Beyond