Enid Blyton's 21 Famous Five books, among the most popular children's books even today, have been revamped continuously in the 70 years since they were first published. Blyton's prose has been tinkered with to eliminate some of the perceived racism and snobbery, some of the more dated dialogue has been ironed out, and the jackets have regularly been smartened up. Here, left, is one of five new anniversary editions published by Hodder, with covers by leading children's illustrators. This one will be recognised immediately by Quentin Blake's fans. 'Five on a Treasure Island' is the first book in Blyton's series, published originally in 1942. The new look is a vast improvement on the previous edition, right, from 2010, which contained the most excessive of the rewrites. By Lorna Bradbury
While I am delighted that these books are still being read, I do wonder at athe rewrites that have taken place. I am sure modern day children reading these books will be able to assimilate the fact that the attitudes and customs are of their time. They might even find them interesting instead of having them updated. OK 'lashings of ginger beer' may raise a giggle or two and yes, there is racism and snobbery shown - though even the Telegraph say it is 'perceived' - by who I wonder, but I still wish they would let well alone. I read shed loads of books written back in the 1920s and 30s etc and, as a reader, accept that the attitudes portrayed in these stories reflect the time in which it was written. Are we going to re-write everything that we think might offend us or harm the shell like ears of today's children?
The Quentin Blake illustrations are simply wonderful but I wonder why nobody thought of just reissuing the entire series with the original covers? Sure they would sell.