The Secret Island – How has Blyton’s original text fared in a modern edition? part 6

This will be the last post in this series as I’ve reached the last four chapters of the book. All the previous parts can be read here – part one, two, three, four and five. The original text I’m using is from the sixth impression from October 1949 and the updated text is from an Award paperback from 2009.



The only change in this chapter is where queer becomes weird. (I know that Blyton used weird sometimes but I still don’t think it sound very Blytonian.)

There are four illustrations in the hardback and one in the paperback. Wynne illustrates Daisy mooing in the cave, and Davie depicts two scenes in the cave while they are hiding and two from after.


There’s only one change here as well, where gay and lovely is altered to happy and lovely.

Still one illustration in the paperback, but only two in the hardback. Nora shows off her rabbit-skin rug in the hardback and Jack rows off for his shopping trip. In the paperback we get to see the children sitting around the table that Jack made in their cave-house.


Gay-coloured sweets become brightly-coloured ones here, though the gay streamers get left alone for some reason. The shop-girl in the village becomes the shop assistant (is that a promotion I wonder, or just a new title?)

The next change is very dubious I think. After Jack has burst out asking questions about the runaway children the women in the shop stare at him. This is changed to the woman in the shop. Well we know there are several women there so woman doesn’t make much sense coupled with the specification that she’s in the shop. The woman alone could imply it’s the woman whose arm he’s grabbed but it still wouldn’t be very clear.

Finally motoring to the lakeside becomes simply driving there.

Again just two illustrations in the hardback and one in the paperback. We see Jack looking in a shop window in the hardback as well as him meeting Captain and Mrs Arnold, while in the paperback we get the other children waiting on the island while a boat approaches with figures so small and dark they’re unidentifiable.


Nora no longer keeps hugging her and feeling her [mother]. Instead she keeps hugging her and touching her. Quite how that’s different I’m not sure. Both have the slight potential for innuendo if you like adding that to children’s books.

Christmas-time becomes just Christmas, stockings (the wearing kind) are updated to socks and clockwork trains to model ones. The girls no longer get needle-books and balls in their stockings (with the oranges, sweets and nuts) but get soaps and bath bubbles.

This time queer becomes strange and gay hats become plain old paper ones.

This last chapter has three hardback illustrations and one paperback one. Wynne shows them departing the island (the figures in the boat so small you again can’t work out who is who,) while Davie gives us one of them with their father on the island and two of them at home enjoying Christmas.

Nine changes there then, and that makes a grand total of fifty-nine for the whole book. That’s certainly a lot less than in either the first Malory Towers book or the first Famous Five one.

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