The Naughtiest Girl in the School: How has Blyton’s original text fared in a modern edition? Part 2

You can find part one, chapters 1-4, here.

I am comparing the 1944 5th reprint by George Newnes (which should be more or less identical to the true first edition) to a 2012 edition by Hodder and Stoughton.


Something I didn’t note the last time, the first word of each chapter is capitalised in the original, the first two in the paperback. I’ve never understood the need for capitalising any words at the start of chapters, to be honest.

I also forgot to mention the punctuation differences. The hardback uses double quotation marks, the paperback single. The hardback also uses a long M dash and the paperback the short N dash.

The only edit to this chapter is changing queer for strange. The same substitution as the other time it has been used so far.

Interestingly Elizabeth still kicks the monitor over, and he still pulls her hair. Usually slaps/kicks/any sort of violence is removed or toned down, like when Darrell slaps Gwen in the first form.

The paperback has its first proper illustration in this chapter, showing the same scene as one from the hardback, Elizabeth kicking the monitor. As there are only four different chapter title vignettes, they start to repeat from this chapter and I won’t bother including them again.

I have many questions about the new illustration. First is, did Elizabeth need a step-ladder to get up on such a high swing, and if she kicks the boy surely she’d get him in the face at that height? The rest concern her outfit. Why is she wearing stripy stockings? The text repeatedly refers to brown stockings. Why is her skirt tartan? That doesn’t match the description of her uniform either. It’s after Easter, so why is she wearing a scarf?


The mere threat of violence is removed from this chapter. Nora originally threatens that she will spank you with a hairbrush. This becomes give you what for. Both are followed by Monitors do that sometimes, you know! which makes much more sense in the first example, seeing as she’s already spoken quite severely to Elizabeth before.

After that Elizabeth felt that she couldn’t bear to be spanked by Nora, but that then becomes Elizabeth felt like she couldn’t bear to test Nora’s threat. Why not? She’s intending to push as many boundaries as she can to be sent home!


As before all references to the pocket money has changed from two shillings to two pounds. 

All references to money after that also have to be changed, but of course, they get changed with little consistency or thought.

Shillings and sixpences, half-crowns and even a ten-shilling note or two went into the big box becomes Pound coins and fifty pences, five pounds and even a ten pound note or two went into the big box. The sentence begins with Money clinked into [the box] which works better with the longer list of coins and the rarity of a note.

Elizabeth’s money started out as Six shillings, two half-crowns and five sixpences. In the paperback it is Six pound coins, two fifty pence pieces and five twenty pence pieces. Initially they seem to be replacing every shilling with a pound, but a half-crown is two and a half shillings, not half a shilling, so replacing them with fifty pence pieces greatly reduces how much Elizabeth had. Elizabeth had thirteen shillings and six pence, so she should have put in thirteen pounds and fifty pence, surely?

There are two requests for money at this first meeting.

I should like sixpence extra becomes I should like sixty pence extra. Again sixpence should equal fifty pence if two shillings equals two pounds.

Then May I have one and ninepence extra to pay for an electric light bulb? is changed to May I have ninety pence extra… Surely that’s £1.90 by the editors logic (if one shilling is one pound, and sixpence becomes sixty)? But if actual logic is applied, based on the 1s=£1, it would be £1.75, as nine pence is 3/4 of a shilling. Oddly they still specify electric light bulb in the paperback, as if there would be another kind!

What doesn’t change is that the request for six/sixty pence is to go towards a new gramophone!

Also inconsistent is the use of form. When describing the room it’s said that all the children are sitting on forms. Forms are also mentioned later in the chapter. Yet, the line Ruth saw the purse on the form is changed to Ruth saw the purse on the floor. If they didn’t think children would know what a form was, why not change all uses to bench? Why change one to floor, when it’s already been said that Elizabeth pushed the purse under herself and sat on it?

The one queer in this chapter is also changed to strange (hardly widening the vocabulary!).

There’s another illustration for this chapter, and again they’ve shown the same scene.

I’m still baffled by the uniform. The other girls seem to be wearing leggings instead of stockings, and Elizabeth has knee length leggings over her stripy stockings? There’s a whole page dedicated to Elizabeth arguing about wearing her socks instead of stockings. Surely, SURELY, if she then wore stripy stockings instead of plain Nora would have had something to say about it? It’s like the illustrator either didn’t read the book, or just didn’t care that her work doesn’t match the text. They’re also sitting on chairs and not forms.


There are more references to gramophones and records in this chapter, but only one of them is changed from She wondered if they had the gramophone record to just the record. Records would still have been a very outdated term in 2012! I know records have had an upsurgence lately as people like the sound of them but it’s a reasonably niche and specialist interest and it’s unlikely that schools or girls of 10 would be in the record buying club.

It’s said that the children can go to the cinema once a week, which got me wondering if that was likely on £2 a week. I decided in the end it was possibly, if they went to a special kids club showing (Odeon, Cineworld and many of the other big chains do these for £1.50-£2.50 on weekend mornings). They’d not be able to buy any popcorn or sweets, though!

The count

Some things are changed more than once, but they are the same change and only get counted once:

Already counted:

Roman numerals to words
Case change for chapter titles
Removal of hyphens from good-bye, to-day, etc
Removal of italics for emphasis
Queer to strange


Extra word capitalised at start of chapter
Quotation marks
Dash length

Total: 3

Unique changes (some of which will move to the above list if I see more examples later):

Spank with a hairbush to give what for
Be spanked to test her threat
List of money going into box
Elizabeth’s money
Request for sixpence
Request for one and nine
Form to floor
Gramophone record to record

Total: 8

Total this post: 11

Over all total : 25

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3 Responses to The Naughtiest Girl in the School: How has Blyton’s original text fared in a modern edition? Part 2

  1. Anonymous says:

    These inconsistencies with the money really annoyed me when I first read the books. In one book, Arabella bitterly complained about £2 a week pocket money being too little before being very happy with £2.50 birthday money. The proofreading was terrible


  2. Alexa B says:

    These inconsistencies with the money really annoyed me when I first read the books. In one book, Arabella bitterly complained about £2 a week pocket money being too little before being very happy with £2.50 birthday money. The proofreading was terrible


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