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Enid Blyton’s ‘Famous Five’ return to original language

Statesman News Service |

Six years after the language in Enid Blytons Famous Five books was updated in an attempt to make them appeal more to modern children, the publisher has decided to abandon the idea because the new versions "didnt work".

In 2010, the series’ publisher Hachette announced that it would be making "sensitive text revisions" to Blyton’s 21 Famous Five books, the Guardian reported on Friday.

This followed market research that suggested children were no longer engaging with the tales about child detectives, due to their dated language.

Changes made included replacing the word "tinker" with "traveller", "mother and father" with "mum and dad" and "awful swotter" becoming "bookworm". The revisions also made the language more gender-neutral, with the character Anne altered to enjoy teddies instead of dolls.

On Friday, Anne McNeil, publishing director of Hodder Children’s Books, told the Guardian that the publisher’s "sensitive reworking" of Blyton was not received well by readers.

"We want Enid Blyton’s legacy to go on. Millions of readers have learned to read with her," McNeil said.

Blyton (1897-1968) was a British bestselling children’s writer. She authored the Noddy, Famous Five, Secret Seven, and Adventure series.