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The Tree That Sat Down

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'Here is a fairy story and it is a real old-fashioned one, full of magic spells, witches, wizards and transformation scenes. Maybe some of the characters have a modern touch...the witch for instance keeps a vacuum cleaner to assist her with her spells, but otherwise it joins all those magic tales which begin once upon a time.' Beverly Nichols 'Here is a fairy story and it is a real old-fashioned one, full of magic spells, witches, wizards and transformation scenes. Maybe some of the characters have a modern touch...the witch for instance keeps a vacuum cleaner to assist her with her spells, but otherwise it joins all those magic tales which begin once upon a time.' Beverly Nichols


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'Here is a fairy story and it is a real old-fashioned one, full of magic spells, witches, wizards and transformation scenes. Maybe some of the characters have a modern touch...the witch for instance keeps a vacuum cleaner to assist her with her spells, but otherwise it joins all those magic tales which begin once upon a time.' Beverly Nichols 'Here is a fairy story and it is a real old-fashioned one, full of magic spells, witches, wizards and transformation scenes. Maybe some of the characters have a modern touch...the witch for instance keeps a vacuum cleaner to assist her with her spells, but otherwise it joins all those magic tales which begin once upon a time.' Beverly Nichols

30 review for The Tree That Sat Down

  1. 4 out of 5

    Allie Riley

    I didn't read this book as a child - it was a recent discovery. Perhaps I would have liked the ending when I was younger. As it was I think I would have preferred it if Mr Tortoise had turned out to be an ancient sage magician a la Gandalf instead of what actually transpired. I am, however, looking forward to reading the other two in the trilogy to see how things develop. I didn't read this book as a child - it was a recent discovery. Perhaps I would have liked the ending when I was younger. As it was I think I would have preferred it if Mr Tortoise had turned out to be an ancient sage magician a la Gandalf instead of what actually transpired. I am, however, looking forward to reading the other two in the trilogy to see how things develop.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jane Dougan

    One of my absolute favourite books from my childhood, which I think has had a great deal to do with my love of nature throughout my life. I still yearn for the Shop Under the Willow Tree. I still think of trying to gather some 'sleepo' when I can't get to sleep at night. "Whenever a cat or a dog or a dormouse or any other animal is sleeping, the air it breathes out through its mouth or its nose has got a little Sleepo in it. You cannot see it, any more than you can see the air itself, but it is One of my absolute favourite books from my childhood, which I think has had a great deal to do with my love of nature throughout my life. I still yearn for the Shop Under the Willow Tree. I still think of trying to gather some 'sleepo' when I can't get to sleep at night. "Whenever a cat or a dog or a dormouse or any other animal is sleeping, the air it breathes out through its mouth or its nose has got a little Sleepo in it. You cannot see it, any more than you can see the air itself, but it is there. Now if the animal goes on sleeping, the Sleepo drifts away, like smoke, and goes up to the ceiling or flies out of the window. But if you take a glass jar, and hold it near its nose, a lot of Sleepo goes into the jar and settles down. And if you bottle it up and recite the right spells over the bottle, it will keep for a whole month; and when you pour it out of the bottle again, it will send you to sleep." My copy dates from 1947 and a great deal of its magical appeal to me as a child came from the delicate illustrations by Isobel and John Morton Sale.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Duncan Wilson

    I fell in love with this book from the first paragraph. It's a charming fantasy book sent in an enchanted forest. With a cast of endearing animal characters all with their own quirks and traits and some really fun dialogue it really does lift it above the average children's story. There's great set pieces like the badger family, the pink baby chameleon, how to collect the magic sleep potion, Mr peacock and his tail, which are full of charm, wit and absurdism. Although written in the 40s there ar I fell in love with this book from the first paragraph. It's a charming fantasy book sent in an enchanted forest. With a cast of endearing animal characters all with their own quirks and traits and some really fun dialogue it really does lift it above the average children's story. There's great set pieces like the badger family, the pink baby chameleon, how to collect the magic sleep potion, Mr peacock and his tail, which are full of charm, wit and absurdism. Although written in the 40s there are also great lessons which are still relevant to today's children such as it may be more difficult to be nice but it's better in the long run and a love and respect of nature. Beverly Nichols was a pacifist for most of his life (WW ii made him rethink some of that philosophy) and that comes through in the story so is his mistrust of capitalism at the expense of all else. He was also a poet and there are lots of fun rhymes here too. The ending may be a bit fairytale for some but I really recommend this for fans of fantasy fiction old and young :D

  4. 5 out of 5

    Angela Mortimer

    This was going to be a very different review; it's all changed because of an article I read a week ago and can't remember where. Basically it was discussing modern children's taste in books and how the classics are no longer loved and even wondrous Alice in Wonderland is snubbed, while the new urge for quick, easy gratification in books, (as well as all things) is now fashionable. How sad I thought, no delicious, slow excitement as the imagination is teased into full flower, no more delicious sp This was going to be a very different review; it's all changed because of an article I read a week ago and can't remember where. Basically it was discussing modern children's taste in books and how the classics are no longer loved and even wondrous Alice in Wonderland is snubbed, while the new urge for quick, easy gratification in books, (as well as all things) is now fashionable. How sad I thought, no delicious, slow excitement as the imagination is teased into full flower, no more delicious spine-tingling terror as evil tries to defeat good and of course never does, just simplistic Dora et al. How very, very sad. who will write these books when we are all gone? No surely not... there are still children around like I once was, loving stories of what is evil, how to recognise it and be good and thoroughly noble, no matter the temptation to take the easy way out and join the status quo, instead they never give up the fight. There must be those kind of children still somewhere and they will keep fighting to keep imagination alive. I sincerely hope so; I have to hope they haven't all turned into Barbi or GI Joe. This book for is for discerning parents who want more than the usual humdrum for their children, then I thought, but it's often not the parents but the children who are rebelling, this is much trickier, it's called propaganda and it's pink fluffy anything for girls and a football or cricket bat for boys (if dad has anything to do with it) or maybe a drone. Of course it's not as easy to have adventures any more, our modern society decrees we are irresponsible if we let them out of our sight, and we all get that, so no rush of fear, no ghost stories in the dark, no strange noises in the night that make us pull up the covers. They are protected, no need for cautionary fairy stories any more, no adventures away from home with friends walking the woods. Let's leave those ideas to settle, while I describe this adorable book. I can't believe I didn't read it when I was young. I was sent a second-hand copy, now valuable, according to Amazon, because this glorious gem is out of print. True it was written a long time ago in 1945 and the first thing I noticed is how it isn't out of date, not really. Nice, kind, thoughtful Miss Judy may be a little old-fashioned but I like to think a parent might be impressed by her manners and kindness, and want a similar child. And then there is Sam, truly a monster of these times as well as 1945. He is plain evil, a greedy, cheating coward, you know the kind, the news is full of them, they tend to get away with it....even more so nowadays. And of course the Old Witch who wears a wig hiding pegs pulling away her skin to hide her wrinkles, a false nose and lots of make-up... 2 a penny now, witch or not. And it gets better, animals who won't admit to ignorance and try to find the truth for themselves, but agree with the first explanation plausible or not, and worse, stick to it even when it makes them look ridiculous, or worse that sense of worthlessness makes them open to sadistic blackmail. Sound familiar? There's more: Miss Squirrel who has a perfectly lovely tail, but is so insecure she wants to dye it blue... I could go on but I think by now you get just how modern it is. I laughed so much and yet it is a cautionary tale, as are fairy stories. Firstly, I recommend it to parents and grandparents to read, understand and smile, even laugh a little as they recognise the characters. Then, well this is a true test, see what the little ones think of it, if they can receive it without squirming or interrupting they may be taking some of the lessons into their imagination. If you can see they do, breathe a huge sigh of relief because they are getting equipped to start understanding the very disturbing world they must enter alone one day. And if your child isn't the slightest bit interested then you really have your work cut out to keep them safe from the predators. I really enjoyed this; a jewel that must not be forgotten.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Debumere

    I started this book and was enjoying it but being the sensitive soul that I am, I couldn't go on after seeing the title 'Bruno recaptured.' I went to the end of the book and saw everything was made better and everybody was happy. That's all I needed to know. I can't read sad stories involving animals in any shape or form. Wimp. I started this book and was enjoying it but being the sensitive soul that I am, I couldn't go on after seeing the title 'Bruno recaptured.' I went to the end of the book and saw everything was made better and everybody was happy. That's all I needed to know. I can't read sad stories involving animals in any shape or form. Wimp.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Bibliomama

    One of the most delightful children’s books I’ve read in a very long time, probably since I was a child. Highly recommend to a dreamy, imaginative 10 year old.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sophie Carroll

    I had a hazy recollection of really enjoying this book as a child, during a summer holiday spent on the Suffolk coast with my Grandparents, but frustratingly could not remember either its name or author! I did however recall that it was set in an enchanted, magical wood and had something to do with a potion shop for animals, inside the trunk of a tree! After some detective work, and a bit of help from my mum, I managed to identify it (what a fantastic feeling!). After re-reading, I am happy to s I had a hazy recollection of really enjoying this book as a child, during a summer holiday spent on the Suffolk coast with my Grandparents, but frustratingly could not remember either its name or author! I did however recall that it was set in an enchanted, magical wood and had something to do with a potion shop for animals, inside the trunk of a tree! After some detective work, and a bit of help from my mum, I managed to identify it (what a fantastic feeling!). After re-reading, I am happy to say it lived up to all my expectations. I was surprised to discover that it was published in 1945, as it lacks the datedness of other authors of that period, such as Enid Blyton. Having said that, the Magic Faraway Tree remains one of my favourite childhood books, and the Tree that Sat Down bears many similarities. It immerses you in a magical world of childhood adventure, and makes you want to get out in nature and find your own 'magical tree'. Throughout the book, you find yourself really rooting for Judy and 'Mrs Judy' her Granny, as they struggle to keep their magical shop afloat when a pair of underhand rivals set up their own shop in the wood. This book is full of messages about the importance of kindness, compassion and forgiveness, which are still as relevant today as they were in 1945. I have started reading it to my 7 year old daughter as a bedtime story, and it is a hit with her too. I would recommend this as a class story book for KS1 (or possibly for free readers), and as an independent read for KS2. Highly recommended.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Julie Round

    I also read the Stream that Stood Still and enjoyed them both in spite of them being dated. I will now read the Magic Mountain so that I have a clear idea of the progression of the story. I had forgotten the conversational style and the little historical references. For a book written in the 1940's to last this long it must be something special. I also read the Stream that Stood Still and enjoyed them both in spite of them being dated. I will now read the Magic Mountain so that I have a clear idea of the progression of the story. I had forgotten the conversational style and the little historical references. For a book written in the 1940's to last this long it must be something special.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ali

    I remember this book so well - it was one of my favourites when I was a kid. It's a shame it's not better known, I think it's wonderful. I remember this book so well - it was one of my favourites when I was a kid. It's a shame it's not better known, I think it's wonderful.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Katie Clements

    My favourite childhood story, don't think I'll ever forget this one! Such a beautiful book :) My favourite childhood story, don't think I'll ever forget this one! Such a beautiful book :)

  11. 5 out of 5

    MmeDum Bledore

    Strange but true...the smallest thing alwas makes the biggest change.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Judi Maylone

    Lots of sweet lessons on life mixed in with a fun story. I was caught up in it from the very beginning, with Sleepo and Wakeo. After awhile I tired of the story and wasn't very enamored with the ending. ‘I was afraid this would happen one day,’ she said. ‘We are faced with Competition.’ ‘What is “competition”, Grannie?’ ‘Some people call it “progress”, others call it “the survival of the fittest”; but whatever name they use, it is always cruel.’ "And so Judy’s kind action had only served to injur Lots of sweet lessons on life mixed in with a fun story. I was caught up in it from the very beginning, with Sleepo and Wakeo. After awhile I tired of the story and wasn't very enamored with the ending. ‘I was afraid this would happen one day,’ she said. ‘We are faced with Competition.’ ‘What is “competition”, Grannie?’ ‘Some people call it “progress”, others call it “the survival of the fittest”; but whatever name they use, it is always cruel.’ "And so Judy’s kind action had only served to injure Judy herself. Which is often the way of kind actions, though that should not prevent us from performing as many of them as we can." "There was a great deal of twittering and whispering, but they were very grave and reverent, for animals understand death much better than humans." ‘He looks as though he was shockingly honest and disgracefully kind; I can’t abide such people.’ "Evil is a very powerful force; there is only one force more powerful, which is Good. Evil is infectious; it spreads itself far and wide. If there is anything evil at large, all the other evil things know it by instinct; they rejoice and grow strong." ‘Summer is so short,’ sighed Judy. ‘Never mind, my dear. There are still a few days left, and as you know, the last days of summer are more full of magic than any others. I must make the most of them.’ "For human Evil is of the brain and the spirit, whereas animal Evil is of the flesh and of the blood. You will have to be grown up before you can understand what that means; and even then you may not understand it fully for grown-ups are strange creatures, who are confused by words, and think that things are good or evil by reason of their names rather than by reason of their nature." "A very golden star, a very special star, that shines for the wood alone. One day, maybe, if you search the skies, you may find that star. And if you follow it, it may lead you to the wood. Maybe yes, maybe no. For it is not easy to follow a star. But it is always worth trying."

  13. 4 out of 5

    Val H.

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I visit a local Op Shop (Opportunity Shop = Charity Shop) at least once a week to drop off goods and, of course, I can’t resist looking at the books on offer, especially the children’s books as they have always had a special appeal to me. Last visit I picked up a handful of rather old paperbacks (surely no one other than me would have given them a second glance?) I remember the name Beverley Nichols from various columns in women’s magazines of the 50s and 60s but I doubt I have ever read anythin I visit a local Op Shop (Opportunity Shop = Charity Shop) at least once a week to drop off goods and, of course, I can’t resist looking at the books on offer, especially the children’s books as they have always had a special appeal to me. Last visit I picked up a handful of rather old paperbacks (surely no one other than me would have given them a second glance?) I remember the name Beverley Nichols from various columns in women’s magazines of the 50s and 60s but I doubt I have ever read anything longer by him. So how does a 21st century sensibility find a book first published in 1945? Well, Enid Blyton springs immediately to mind (although Nichols’ writing is probably better) as this story concerns a young girl (young woman?) and her grandmother, the only two humans in this magical wood, who run a shop supplying the needs of the various animal inhabitants of said wood. I was a bit disconcerted when the first animals we encounter in this very English wood are a leopard and a zebra. I was already onside with a bit of children’s fantasy but this stretched my incredulity a bit too far. But, I will admit, the 7 – 9 year-old me would probably have loved this book. There is a strong morality at work here and any “badness” (here described as “evil”) is punished severely. There is talk about hanging, whipping, poisoning, attempted murder and more. Not very PC these days! However the villain is given a reprieve and there is a very syruppy ending where the ugly tortoise turns into a handsome prince and sweeps the young girl off her feet. Rather boringly predictable, but again, it’s of its time. This was the first book in a series but it hasn’t encouraged me to seek out any more. I have no idea how 21st Century children would approach it, but I suspect that there is enough black and white morality here to satisfy the very young.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Helen

    A sweet little story about a girl and her grandmother who keep a shop in the woods, and the wicked boy who with his grandfather open one of their own. A little too pat, with characters that are either all good or all bad. The ending seemed a bit silly to a modern reader, but had I read this book as a child, I think I would have loved it most of all.

  15. 4 out of 5

    M LYALL

    I read this book as a child and decided to read the series again. I loved the story and the imagination, and the fact that it all ended happily ever after. Enough horrid people, smelly people, proud as a peacock people and witches to keep 8-10 years old very entertained.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Rose

    This book sparked my love of fantasy.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tamara Zann

    This is a lovely book. I love the contrast between animals and humans. Towards the end of the book, I was highly amused. I enjoyed the ideas for kids and parents to bring magic into everyday life.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Susan Wenzel

    My absolute favorite book when I was a child and no less magical as an adult.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kat12

    Magical

  20. 5 out of 5

    Laura McGowan

    Started well, but the ending was just weird.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Alejandro Hernandez Santoyo

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I am learning English and I don't know how to select it. please help me. I am learning English and I don't know how to select it. please help me.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Angela Tuson

    FOR THOSE WHO KNOW THE TRUTH ABOUT ANIMALS EXPLOITED IN CIRCUSES A really sweet and unusual story. I'd love to have a Shop Under The Tree. I felt so sad about the bear, and so glad that in the end he escaped. "Bruno was four years old when he escaped. Even in those days he was a big bear but he was very thin; they always kept him half-starved so that he should not grow strong enough to bite; and it was only because he had such a thick coat that you did not see his bones sticking out. He could not r FOR THOSE WHO KNOW THE TRUTH ABOUT ANIMALS EXPLOITED IN CIRCUSES A really sweet and unusual story. I'd love to have a Shop Under The Tree. I felt so sad about the bear, and so glad that in the end he escaped. "Bruno was four years old when he escaped. Even in those days he was a big bear but he was very thin; they always kept him half-starved so that he should not grow strong enough to bite; and it was only because he had such a thick coat that you did not see his bones sticking out. He could not remember anything about his parents, because he had been stolen from them when he was a baby. All he knew about life was his cage and the circus. His cage was so small that he had to twist his neck to get into it, and he always had cramp when he woke up int he morning. But the cage was better than the circus - oh, very much better! For in the circus he had to dance, even though his limbs were cramped, and jump through terrible flaming hoops which scorched his fur, and if he flinched or faltered, they prodded him with sharp sticks which made him bleed. The men with sticks always had smiles on their faces, because they did not want the crowd to know how cruel they were..."

  23. 4 out of 5

    Emkoshka

    One of my fondest childhood memories is reading through the Doubleday catalogue every month with Mum and choosing which books to send away for. Is there anything better than getting a package of books in the mail? Beverley Nichols's Magic Woodland trilogy was one of the numerous arrivals in those days, and while I was captivated by the cover illustration and started reading the first book, I never got very far. The tyranny of choice that comes from having too many good books to read often means One of my fondest childhood memories is reading through the Doubleday catalogue every month with Mum and choosing which books to send away for. Is there anything better than getting a package of books in the mail? Beverley Nichols's Magic Woodland trilogy was one of the numerous arrivals in those days, and while I was captivated by the cover illustration and started reading the first book, I never got very far. The tyranny of choice that comes from having too many good books to read often means you never get around to reading any of them! Happily as an adult, I still love reading children's books, particularly if they're written in such as a way as to enchant older readers. This was a charming story that had elements of Enid Blyton, C.S. Lewis and Edward Eager, three of my favourite children's fantasy authors. There's talking animals, a beautiful woodland setting, magic, good humour and philosophising and a fairytale ending. Now that I've finally read this, I can't wait to move on to the two sequels. How lucky am I to still be able to discover that the magic in some children's books doesn't fade with age or time?

  24. 5 out of 5

    Cindy C

    I picked up this trilogy while thrifting last week and started reading this book and found myself charmed and enchanted by it's story and the picture it paints. It's a lovely book, and it was a nice time to read something with a happy ending. I look very forward to starting the next book. It's very cute and well connected with the magic of nature - depicts that lovely dreamlike nature story that is nice to read when you want to relax. I picked up this trilogy while thrifting last week and started reading this book and found myself charmed and enchanted by it's story and the picture it paints. It's a lovely book, and it was a nice time to read something with a happy ending. I look very forward to starting the next book. It's very cute and well connected with the magic of nature - depicts that lovely dreamlike nature story that is nice to read when you want to relax.

  25. 5 out of 5

    dirt

    The main theme of The Tree That Sat Down is about how good is stronger than evil and will always win out. We all need to take care of each other and listen to each other. Sadly, the book ends in a bizarre and disappointing way. Being good is it's own reward and you don't need to be moved into a castle and wear fine clothes since you made the choice to be kind. The main theme of The Tree That Sat Down is about how good is stronger than evil and will always win out. We all need to take care of each other and listen to each other. Sadly, the book ends in a bizarre and disappointing way. Being good is it's own reward and you don't need to be moved into a castle and wear fine clothes since you made the choice to be kind.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Connor

    There is a girl named Judy who owns a shop under a willow tree. She soon has a huge rivalry with Sam at the ford. Sam is a cheap and sly old man. He takes precious things without asking and sells them for a fortune. When the animals hear about this they go on strike.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Una Rose

    I read this book and the sequel The Stream That Stood Still as a child. I loved getting lost in the wonder, humor and magical charactors in these books. Beverley Nicols really understands the child soul and these books remain precious and beloved reading memories from my childhood.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jane

    I adore Nichols' work, but for my money, his garden writing is the best. I adore Nichols' work, but for my money, his garden writing is the best.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Tina

    my little girl loved it :)

  30. 4 out of 5

    Colleen Hassall

    I would love to find this book to read again.

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