What Happened to Dick and Fannie?

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I was talking to my cousin-in-law* the other night about books. The kind of books you read as a child that filled your dreams with vivid & colourful characters and took you away to a magical land.

For me, that land was called The Magic Faraway Tree. 

The giant magical tree is discovered by three children named Jo, Bessie and Fannie. The tree is so tall is touches the clouds and so wide it contains small houses. But it’s the inhabitants of the tree including Moon-Face, Silky the fairy, The Saucepan Man, Dame Washalot, Mr. Watzisname and the Angry Pixie that makes this book so precious to my childhood. 

My Year 1 teacher, Mrs Abrahams, pointed out last week on Facebook** that the main characters of the book – Jo, Bessie, Fannie and their cousin Dick – have been renamed to Joe, Beth, Frannie and Rick

Why? Because of modern sexual connotations of the original names.

WTF! 

I never laughed so hard. A bit of wee might have escaped. Sure the books were published in 1943 but as a child reading the books in the 1980’s, my brothers and I would still giggle at the character names.

The names weren’t inappropriate!!!  Surely that was Enid’s way of trying to inject some humour into the books. I loved reading about the adventures of Fannie, Dick, Jo and Bessie. 

In more exciting news – Sam Mendes is making a big screen adaptation of The Magic Faraway Tree. I might have to ‘borrow’ someone’s child for two hours to go see the movie! 

DID YOU READ THE MAGICAL FARAWAY TREE AS A KID? WHO WAS YOUR FAV CHARACTER? 

* My Husband’s cousin. That makes her my cousin-in-law, right?

** Yes, I’m Facebook friends with my teacher from 1986.

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