Books · Witterings

Enid Blyton – Five on Treasure Island – Revisited

I have come back to Enid Blyton books for some reason this year. Why? – well playing around with my kindle I was seeing what books I could download, and there was an instinct to go back to my childhood and see what I could remember. I put in Enid Blyton and was taken back through the time to her books. I read them voraciously as a child, and loved them all. Oh how I wanted to reread them. I was a bit dubious at first why would a woman in her thirties want to be reading something that was clearly aimed at children. Should I not be reading something a bit more high-brow.

However since I have been blogging I have seen lots of people who have revisited their childhood books and got such great pleasure out of it I thought well why not me?

I decided all things being in order to start with the Famous Five and Five on a Treasure Island. Sadly after asking my mum she had got rid of most of them from her loft, although one or two remain skulking about. So let’s see if the kindle lives up to expectations?

Yes but there is a problem, I can only download a newer version of her novel. All updated to fit in with the politically correct brigade that seem to lurk around. Oh well, lets just try a sample without having to part with any money and see how we get on? They cannot have changed that much can they? Oh, they have!

What then developed was a need to see how the original (eventually purchased through an Amazon seller for less than £2) compared to this updated version. What follows here is the differences that I picked up. The new version is in red.

It all starts with CONTENTS

Chapter 3            A queer story – and a new friend

Chapter 3            A peculiar story – and a new friend

Then on to Chapter One

“Mother have you heard about our summer holidays yet?”

“Mum, have you decided about our summer holidays yet?”

…They are quite full up

…They’re full up

They did so love the house at Polseath the beach was so lovely there, too, and the bathing was fine.

They loved the house at Polseath and the beach was perfect for swimming.

‘Cheer up,’ said Daddy. ‘I dare say we’ll find somewhere else just as good for you. And anyway, Mother and I won’t be able to go with you this year. Has Mother told you?’.

‘No!’ said Anne. ‘Oh, Mother – is it true? Can’t you really come with us on our holidays? You always do.’

‘Cheer up’, said Dad. We’ll find somewhere else just as good for you. But Mum and I won’t be going with you this year. Did Mum tell you?’

‘No!’ said Anne in surprise. ‘But…you always come with us on our holidays!’

I do not want to regurgitate the whole book here and show you ALL the changes but needless to say from the above we are not even at the bottom of the first page of the first chapter! Here a couple of my favourite (ironically) changes

…’There’s nothing much to get ready for them – just bathing suits and jerseys and shorts. They all wear the same’.

…there’s nothing much to get ready for them – just swimming costumes and jumpers and jeans. They all wear the same’.

…’I remember a little boy called Dick who put aside two golliwogs, one teddy bear, three toy dogs, two…

…’I remember a little boy called Dick who put aside, one teddy bear, three toy dogs, two…

‘Welcome to Kirrin!’ she cried. ‘Hallo, all of you! It’s lovely to see you. And what big children!’

‘Welcome to Kirrin!’ she cried. ‘Hello, all of you! It’s lovely to see you!’

An illustration by Eileen A. Soper taken from the 1st edition

From this little sample, no one would quite know what bathing was, golliwogs have been cast aside, shorts have grown longer into jeans, you cannot mention the size of children for fear of offence and well it is just all peculiarly queer! Apologies if I have offended anyone with that last sentence.

So what can I conclude from this little experiment/project. Well I throughly enjoyed reading the book again and have reviewed it on Amazon, of which the review can be found here. I will not be buying any of the updated versions of Enid Blyton novels, but looking for the originals to read where it is just proper Blyton. Good job then that I bought The Mystery of the Burnt Cottage. Book One in the Five Find Outers set of books and there is no kindle version so I will not annoy myself (or you dear readers) with all the changes!
I would love to hear from any other fans of Enid Blyton or anyone who is rereading books from their childhood.
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9 thoughts on “Enid Blyton – Five on Treasure Island – Revisited

  1. I reread some Enid Blyton recently but it didn’t really do it for me anymore. What interests me however is the comparison between the originals and the updated version – that is quite a lot of differences. Since when did EB children call their parents Mum and Dad?!

  2. I hadn’t realised that they had been updated, I don’t see the point. I loved The Famouse Five books when I was wee but I think the Malory Towers series was my favourite one. I re-read one fairly recently, they were quite dated when I first read them in the late 1960s but that was part of the enjoyment. It’s not great literature but entertainment.

    1. Hi Katrina,

      I read Enid Blyton advidly as a child and I too think that probably the Malory Towers series was my favourite, not the re-written version of course, I dread to think how that reads now!

  3. I was a huge fan of Enid Blyton when I was younger and would like to re-read some of her books when I have time, but I don’t have any desire to read updated versions. The books were already very old-fashioned when I was reading them in the 1980s but I had no problem understanding what bathing suits and jerseys were! I thought the dated language was part of the charm.

  4. Oh, I don’t like that all of the old-fasioned words have been taken out. And I don’t understand why ‘they are quite full up’ had to be changed? Like Helen, the books were old-fashioned when I read them in the 80s/90s, but I still managed just fun.

    I hope to get around to reading ‘The Outcast’ soon.

  5. I’ve read a few childhood favourites in recent years, but, although I loved Enid Blyton, her books haven’t really called me.

    I’m shocked at the scale of changes you’ve uncovered. It’s sad to think that we can’t allow for language being used differently or accept that the world has changed. And that children can’t read about the world that their grandparents grew up in.

    One of my favourite books from childhood was a boarding school book that my mother handed down. Horribly dated, and I had no idea about liberty bodices and the like, but I loved it regardless.

    And now I’m thinking that the updaters must not be allowed to go anywhere near Alice in Wonderland. What would they do about cucumber frames, footmen, croquet … ?!

  6. Hi Jo,

    I always read voraciously as a child and Enid Blyton was my staple diet.

    I have not re-read any of them since my childhood, although I do have quite a few of them still around the house, at the back of my bookshelves. Who knows I may even dig them out now, just for nostalgia’s sake.

    I have no real interest in reading the newer ‘updated’ versions, because to me they are ‘classic’ books and that is just how they should be read.

    I can understand that some of the language and teminology may cause offence to the modern generation, so then, take them off of mainstream sale and treat them as ‘classic’ books. But no, I hear the publishers shout, “what about our profit?”

    Perhaps we should re-write Shakespeare, to take out all the ‘thee’ and ‘thou’ words, or some of our famous poets. Maybe we should just leave things alone, they are part of our heritage and history and should be treated as such!

    Rant over, but you did ask. On a lighter note, only the other day, I did pick up an aged copy of another of my childhood favourite reads ‘The Water Babies’ by Charles Kingsley, unless of course I am now longer able to describe how Sweeps put young children up chimneys to clean down the soot!!

  7. This was my first famous five book, and one of my favourites. I don’t mind golliwogs being taken out, I had to ask in the 80’s and was bemused then, but the rest of it seems pointless messing for the sake of it. Makes me cross!

  8. What bizarre re-writing! I do get most annoyed when people convert shillings to five pences, but don’t scale up – so they’ll say that a bag of sweets cost 5p or something.

    And I’m surprised that they made that many changes, and didn’t change ‘Dick’ to ‘Rich’…

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