The Famous Five have been updated:
After 50 years there’s now lashings of modern language
By LAURA CLARK
Last updated at 3:10 AM on 24th July 2010
No doubt some Enid Blyton fans will think it a jolly shame.
But in their latest reincarnation, the Famous Five have had something of a modern makeover.
Sixty years after they were first published, the much-loved books are being revamped for a new generation of children.
All 21 books in the series about a group of children who investigate mysteries will be reproduced in the coming weeks, but with changes to the language.
Changing times: An early edition of the Famous Five novel Five on a Treasure Island (left) and the new edition
Publisher Hodder believes classic Blyton words and phrases are turning off 21st century young readers and need some ‘sensitive revising’.
Goodness knows what Julian, George, Dick, Anne and Timmy the dog would make of it, but exclamations such as ‘ wizard!’ and ‘pooh-hah’ have been dropped from the text altogether.
Words such as ‘jolly’ and ‘guffaw’, which the publishers say are seldom used by youngsters nowadays, also fall by the wayside.
In the original text, for example, Dick says: ‘She must be jolly lonely all by herself.’
This has been updated to read: ‘She must get lonely all by herself’.
Hodder says the classic editions with Blyton’s original words will still be available alongside the new versions, and it is thought likely that the famous ‘lashings and lashings of ginger beer’ will stay in the new version.
But according to the series brand owner, Chorion, dated language was preventing parents from buying the books for their children.
While annual sales of Famous Five books still top half a million, the firm believes demand could be far greater.
‘When we tested the different texts with children, it turned out that their parents were right, pretty much across the board in all markets,’ Chorion said in a statement.
‘The magic of Blyton is the ability she has to transport readers into another world and pull them along through page-turning adventure.
or a lot of today’s readers, that just wasn’t happening because of a few outdated words and phrases, so we feel it’s absolutely right to do this.’
Anne McNeil, publishing director at Hodder, said the changes mainly affect the dialogue in the stories with the narrative left ‘largely untouched’.
‘Very subtle changes have been made to remove the barriers that stood between readers and the story,’ she said.
Mrs McNeil said the changes were not intended to make the Famous Five books ‘modern’ but to place them in a ‘timeless’ age, insisting: ‘We have not introduced any slang or colloquial language that would place the characters in today’s world.’
The covers have also been updated to show realistic children engaged in activities.
It is not the first time that Blyton’s stories have been updated to keep pace with the times.
In a previous update to her Faraway Tree stories, for example, Dame Slap who smacked naughty children became Dame Snap, who tells them off instead.
From the Daily Mail…