Noddy Goes to Toyland – How has Blyton’s original text fared in a modern edition?

A while back I picked up a 2007 “classic treasury” of Noddy in a charity shop. It contains the first five books (which I already have) but at £3 it seemed a bargain for such a big chunky book. I’m aware that some newer editions of Noddy have been altered beyond just removing the gollies so it will be interesting to see what this one is like.

DSCN3716 (640x480)I think I’ll deal with the text first then do a bit about the illustrations. At first I thought there weren’t going to be any and this would be a very short blog, then they started appearing!

A couple of changes seem to have been introduced for clarity. When Noddy is riding behind Big-Ears on his bike it originally said he [Noddy] clutched at his pointed ears in fright, which could I suppose be mistaken for Noddy clutching his own ears. It has become he clutched at the brownies’ ears, although in the next sentence Big-Ears is scolding him for holding his ears and so makes it clear anyway.

Also, when Big-Ears takes Noddy house hunting it was said that it was no good, there were families in each one [house]. That could sound like there was more than one family in each house and so has become there was  a family in every one. 

Gollies have been removed from the text completely. Golliwog Town has been replaced with Monkey Town, with three monkeys rather than gollies boarding the train there.

Gay wooden carriages are now bright, and for some reason it is now Toy Town and not Toy Village. (Perhaps to tie in with Monkey Town/Toy Cat Town etc?) At the station there is a Bouncing Ball (and a spinning top) with the capitals being lost in the treasury which makes sense, I think.

Originally the pair are advised to go to the market as the shops are so dear. In the treasure it is because it’s much cheaper there. When they go to buy bricks to build a house there saw that a toy soldier guarded the place. This has become a toy soldier stood on guard outside. 

Mr Tubby’s wife was once much fatter than he was. Now she is just as fat as he was. At least they aren’t Mr and Mrs Healthy-weight-for-their-height. After that she is referred to as his wife, instead of his fat little wife. 

The usual modernisation have occurred with some hyphens being removed (side-window is now side window) and there are no longer full stops after Mr and Mrs.

Finally, the judge at the end of the story has become a woman. She was the judge instead of he. Instead of sir/ Mr Judge, she is called miss/ Miss Judge which seems a little odd.  Surely the equivelent should be madam? Teachers are sir/miss usually but when women hold important offices they’re not usually called miss.

A few mistakes have crept in too. A new speaker is not given a new line at the end of a chapter (almost looks deliberate to keep it from going over onto the next page) prompting me to think NSNL! Or maybe it was NSNNL – New speaker needs new line as was so often scrawled in homework jotters! Also thinking has been misprinted as thiking at one point.

Onto the illustrations, then. All the illustrations have been reproduced, bar the very last one with Noddy in his chair asleep. That’s been replaced with a plain picture of Noddy.

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All the illustrations have been enlarged to fit the pages which are twice the size of the originals. They appear to be the originals by Beek as his signature appears in some (he didn’t sign all the illustrations in the original but there are some in the original which feature a signature which is missing in the treasury). They do appear to have been touched up slightly, however as some have bolder outlines in places. The colours have been altered too, and given a paler tones. For me they have lost much of their warmth and no longer capture the bright, jolly atmosphere of Toyland.

The gollies have been removed from the illustrations too – or at least those that accompany the first story. There is a golly on the contents page still.

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So we can see the gollies have been replaced with a variety of other Toyland inhabitants. In pretty much every scene the new character is in the same position and is a like for like swap but the Gollie Town/Monkey Town scene has been entirely redrawn as shown below.

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The Toyland triangular trees have been replaced with ‘regular’ shaped ones and several characters are completely different like the mother and child instead of a bike rider. It doesn’t resemble Toyland at all, now.

So those are all the changes I could see. Incidentally the stories began perfectly aligned (and I mean perfectly word by word), which made it much easier to read and compare but as it went on it somehow began to slide. There’s one page which has the illustration above instead of below the text as well, and the full-page illustrations have been given captions.

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1 Response to Noddy Goes to Toyland – How has Blyton’s original text fared in a modern edition?

  1. Francis says:

    Well done, Fiona – a really excellent analysis. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about all the changes and seeing the original and new illustrations.
    Thank you.


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