Enid Blyton’s Holiday Stories then and now, part 2

In part one I briefly looked at At Seaside Cottage – the first story in the Hodder collection of Enid Blyton’s Holiday Stories.

I’m not sure how many stories I will get through in this post – I suppose it depends just how many updates there are to mention!


The Magic Ice-Cream

Originally published in Sunny Stories for Little Folk (#222, 1935) this was first collected into The Red Story Book in 1946. It is also in a collection titled The Magic Ice-Cream and Other Stories with one version published in 2000 by Award and another in 2015 by Bounty.

A brief review

This is one of the stories that can only be very loosely defined as being holiday-themed. There is no actual holiday but as they are eating ice-cream we can assume that it is a warm summer’s day. The book’s description reads From sandcastles at the beach to enchanted ice-creams, step into the summer with these delightful characters. Adventure, fun and magic can all be found on holiday with Enid Blyton. So there’s a suggestion that these stories should all take place during the summer holidays, rather than specifically on holiday. However – a book titled Holiday Stories, with a beach on the cover sort of implies actual holidaying should be taking place – to me anyway!

As with many of the stories in this book this one has a strong moral – as brownies Tick and Tock find themselves in possession of a magic ice-cream and instead of enjoying their wishes they are both rather selfish and end up with nothing.

The updates

There are more updates than I imagined – it’s very hard to spot them unless you are familiar with the original text or it’s something obvious like decimalised money.

The first one is that the ice-cream, including in the title, has lost its hyphen. In line with most recent reprints italics are also mostly lost – from things like my ice-cream, and so on, where it would be perfectly reasonably to have emphasis – emphasis I placed myself when reading it aloud.

The other style/grammar change is that various lines have been moved into, or out of, their paragraphs. At first I thought it was a space issue and a few lines had been joined to the paragraph above to make the text fit the pages, but there are also times when a new paragraph has been started – fairly baffling as there’s no issues with new speaker needing a new line or anything.

The ‘said’ tags have been changed in a few places – from shouted Tick, angrily to Tick shouted angrily, suddenly squealed Tock to Tock squealed, said Tock sulkily to Tock said sulkily. Neither of these is right or wrong, it’s just a style choice. Presumably Hodder prefer the name first, and that would be their right if editing a new manuscript but it seems like wasted effort to go changing instances in a previously published work.

The remaining changes are all equally as banal and pointless.

And Tick dug his spoon into one / and Tick started eating one – as we are talking ice-creams here why is there a problem with using a spoon?

hedgehogs who squealed / which squealed

in a rage / in rage

hit him bang on the nose / on the nose – this one is presumably to make the hit less violent – but later there’s a bleeding nose and bumped head anyway

ran at Tock / rushed at Tock – this makes for repetition as Tock has already rushed at Tick.

whilst /while

The illustrations

As the collection was printed without illustrations we miss out on this nice one from Eileen Soper.

Wagger Goes to the Show

This one’s from Sunny Stories #407 (a different publication to the one for little Folk as above) in 1947. Its first reprint is in the Eighth Holiday Book, though it has six further outings in other books between 1971 and 2018. Interestingly it is also in Summertime Stories – another Hodder short story collection published just three years after Holiday Stories. I think I’d be a bit annoyed if I was buying these collections for my child(ren) only to discover duplicated content.

A brief review

Again, this is a loosely summer holiday-themed story – it takes place at a garden party at a warm time of year. Wagger is a mongrel (his description sounds rather like Timmy actually – his tail is too long and so on) and Mummy says he’s ugly and so can’t enter into the dog show. However, he wanders in himself after the breed prizes have been given out and the judges are very impressed with how well-looked after he is, awarding him first prize in the best-kept and healthiest dog competition. There is an element of come-uppance as the neighbour (who it seems is not very kind to his dog) only gets a second prize in the breed competition.

The updates

In a baffling show of inconsistency the children’s ice-creams still have their hyphens, and many more of the italics have been kept.

Two lines are completely omitted There are classes for fox-terriers, and spaniels, and pekes and “Wagger isn’t any special kind of dog, I’m afraid,” said Mummy.

He has good warm straw in his kennel in the winter becomes a warm blanket in his basket. By today’s standards it’s probably cruel to make a pet dog sleep in a wooden kennel in the garden – but this is not a contemporary story and so does it really need to be changed?

Other modernisations are new shorts becoming new jeans, the little tin bath is a big plastic bowl (it had better be a very big bowl as they’re putting Wagger into it to wash him – wouldn’t the old baby bath or a plastic box be more practical?).

Their sixpences becomes just their money – I suppose that keeps it timeless and prevents it looking silly in ten or twenty years time, like some of the money updates I’ve seen in other titles.

Mayn’t becomes may not.

In an effort to avoid more potential animal abuse the children no longer ride the donkey at the garden party, but the change made to the text is weird. It originally read that they ran to have a ride on the little grey donkey. Wagger ran beside the donkey all the way round the garden and back. It now reads that they ran beside the donkey all the way round the garden and back. Why would they have an unridden donkey running around the garden, and why would two children randomly choose to run along side him? It would have been better to omit all the running altogether. However, the removal of donkey-riding seems even more bizarre if you then read the later story which is all about riding donkeys on the beach…

There are a few changes when the prizes are awarded – the ticket read Second now it reads SECOND, presumably to match the FIRST on the other ticket. Then they try to make things a bit more equitable – the judge originally asks the owner of the dog to come forward – will he please come forward and this has been changed to they. Instead of handing all the prizes to Terry, the judges give the ticket to him and then the collar to Alice. Lastly, the chocolates were for themselves and now they’re for both of them – which in the context means exactly the same thing.

What they didn’t change was their plan to share the chocolates with Wagger – which seems pretty dangerous as it can be toxic and make dogs very sick!

The illustrations

And of course we miss out on several great illustrations by Raymond Sheppard, which are even in two colours.


So, as it turns out, I could manage two stories this week!

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1 Response to Enid Blyton’s Holiday Stories then and now, part 2

  1. Sequoia G says:

    Oh gosh Fiona, some of those edits are pretty awful. I feel like the editors have a quota or amount of words/sentences they need to change in order to justify their position?!


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