The Island of Adventure – How has Blyton’s original text fared in a modern edition? part 9

As planned, and after a month since the last post (where does the time go?) I’m back to looking at the changes to The Island of Adventure. It is chapters 17 and 18 this week, as we move into the second half of the book and the real adventure begins.

Earlier posts: parts one, two, three, four, five, six, seven and eight.

My own copy of the book is an 8th impression from 1955 (my mum’s before it was mine) and the modern copy I’m comparing it to is a Macmillan one from 2001 (borrowed from Stef).


As noted in the first post the chapter title has been updated to reflect Jo-Jo’s new name.

The red/reddish rocks and stream continue to be corrected to green or at times bright green.

One instance of queer becomes strange, but the other two are left alone. This happened in the last few chapters too, as if all of a sudden the editor changed their mind about having to update it, or just became sloppy and stopped paying attention. Jo-Jo’s black face still becomes his face, though.

That leaves us with only three new changes in the chapter. The first is another word added that changes the meaning of a sentence, in a way that seems to confuse things. He (Jo-Jo) opened that inner door and went into the back cellar with the boxes – the cellar where the trap-door is -… is what Dinah says originally about Jo-Jo. In the newer edition the part in parenthesis begins and the cellar. The parenthesised part is supposed to simply add to the description; saying that the back cellar is the one with trap-door. With an and there it becomes “he went into the back cellar, and into the one with the trap-door,” as if they were two places.

The other two changes have been made to Aunt Polly talking to and about Jo-Jo, in a similar way to what has been done in earlier chapters. Her original words are you must be mad,  and then, he’s a bit crazy. She becomes somewhat kinder to Joe and says you must be imagining things and he’s very bad tempered instead.

There was one thing left in that stood out to me – Jo-Jo saying you ought to be whipped. So many references to violence have been removed or made weaker.


This chapter feels the editor’s pen several times in relation to the gender roles of the boys and girls.

It has Philip say you know boys shouldn’t hit girls in both editions, yet the following line is cut.

Jack, although he never did hit a girl, couldn’t help agreeing that Dinah deserved what she often got.

It is replaced with Jack couldn’t help giving Dinah some advice.

Also cut is “Clear out and get over your bad temper,” said Philip, his ear stinging and going very red. And then “Go on, clear out,” said Philip. I don’t know why Philip can no longer tell Dinah to get lost when he’s angry.

In both editions the boys still debate Should they take the girls this time – or not? But instead of saying We may as well take the girls when they’ve decided, it becomes We can take the girls as well.

Lastly on that topic Philip no longer thinks How silly girls were! They never could find anything. Surely lots of boys think girls are silly, and vice versa, without it being so offensive or sexist that it can’t be included in a book?

The majority of the remaining changes are nothing new. Hyphens are removed from ink-bottle and ink-pot  and replaced with spaces. (Surely those terms are too outdated and obsolete for today’s children anyway? Really, Uncle Jocelyn should have said “My Biro’s run out,” and Dinah could have fetched him a new one? No, wait, that’s silly. He should have said “My laptop’s battery is dying and I can’t find the charger.” That’s better, isn’t it.)

The red (and once copper) colours on the island get corrected to green still and references to Jo-Jo’s colour are removed. Twice queer appears and is not changed, though.

Lastly, and inexplicably, part of Jack’s line gets doubled up. Instead of Wind up, Tufty – here goes! He says Wind up, wind up, Tufty – here goes! 

That’s only nine changes this time (compared to 32 in the last two!) but it brings our total to triple figures – 101!

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2 Responses to The Island of Adventure – How has Blyton’s original text fared in a modern edition? part 9

  1. Francis says:

    Whatever the revised version is, it is not Enid Blyton – many thanks Fiona.


  2. RereadingBlyton says:

    Thanks for the latest instalment of this. As I’ve said before I think this kind of updating is obnoxious. Although I don’t agree with its conclusions, people might be interested in this recent article by an academic about the pros and cons of updating:


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