The Island of Adventure – How has Blyton’s original text fared in a modern edition? part 12

The first week of our new schedule hasn’t quite gone to plan. Tonight I settled down to  review Cheer Up, Little Noddy for you. Unfortunately when I opened the book I discovered it started on page 19. Nearly a third of the book was missing so I didn’t really feel I could review it! Thinking quickly I decided to just skip to the next book in the series before my brain caught up with itself and remembered all my other Noddys (in fact almost all my books) are in my new flat. Thankfully the half-dozen books I’ve still got here include two copies of The Island of Adventure so I’ve been able to get on with comparing them. 

Oh – and to add to the generally disastrous feeling of the evening as I went to start this post I discovered that last time I forgot to change the title of the post and therefore did two part tens. I’ve fixed it now, though, so onwards and upwards. 

Previous parts (correctly numbered!) are one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten and eleven.

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


Our first change this chapter is on the usual lines of gender equality. Jack originally says that If I were a girl, I bet I’d burst into tears. It has become If I were a baby. After that, he had said But as I’m a boy, I must just grin and bear it. That doesn’t make so much sense now that boy has become baby so it has been changed to but I won’t do it. I must just grin and bear it. It’s funny sometimes how they try to stick to exactly the same wording with one word replaced and other times they feel the need to rewrite things. To stick nearer the text it could have been But as I’m not, I must… or But as I’m grown-up/older, I must…

Much like in our purses one-pound notes have been done away with in the modern edition. Jack had found bundles of one-pound notes along with bundles of five- and ten-pound notes but now he just finds the fives and tens, which apparently are enough to make people rich beyond their wildest dreams. If we’re sensibly updating here, surely there would need to be twenties/fifties/hundreds there? I mean… who bothers mass-counterfeiting fivers and tenners these days?

Lastly the only queer has become strange.


Bucking the trend this time, and we’ve gained a hyphen where half starved becomes half-starved. We also get a new alternative to queer – mysterious, and another instance of queer is simply removed rather than being replaced.

And finally they’ve decided to rewrite another sentence instead of just replacing a word. The original line reads his voice breaking in a queer way, with joy and relief. It’s now his voice breaking in a great gasp of joy and relief. Again, to stick closer to the original text it could simply have become his voice breaking in a strange way. Or even his voice breaking with joy and relief. I really hate how the editors think they know how to write better than an author as successful as Blyton.

I’m going to count that as seven changes which brings us to 117 in total. Just three chapters to go now, and Goodreads informs me I’m 87% of the way through the book.


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3 Responses to The Island of Adventure – How has Blyton’s original text fared in a modern edition? part 12

  1. Francis says:

    Gosh they do patronise children these days in a way that Enid never did. Boys of my era would certainly make remarks akin to Jack’s. Why don’t they let children understand that and let them enjoy the original words.


  2. Tim Quinn says:

    Editors and publishers of today are great puddings. I should know, I’ve worked for enough of them. Children should be encouraged to seek out the original books not only to read the story as Enid planned but also to see how great she was at choosing the right illustrator for her works.


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