Rather than this being a review of the book, I’m going to use this space mainly to rant and get out all my angry feels about the ‘updating’ of Enid Blyton’s books. That being said, I’ve loved this book for nearly 18 years now and I encourage anyone, adult or child to try and find an original unedited Enid Blyton book to read. As a general review, this book is about three very close-knit siblings that work extremely hard to complete their chores around the house and are subsequently rewarded with
There have been many times when I’ve visited the local library and eventually ended up in the children’s section of the library. I find their section extremely exciting and I’m always filled with happy nostalgia going through the shelves.
This happy nostalgia is usually shot through the face when I go through the ‘Blyton’ section of the library though. I cannot seem to convince myself that it is ok that Enid Blyton’s books have been changed to be ‘politically correct’ or whatever.
I first listened to my library teacher read this to the class back in 1996 and I loved every moment of it. Sure my friends and I got a bit of a snigger out of the names the first time we heard them, but if my own experience is anything to go by, most likely children will get over the connotations in the names because they’re more interested in the adventures the characters have. If a kid now days asks why the characters have names that are slang for genitalia, would it actually be that hard to tell them that these names were popular back when the book was written, and such names didn’t have those connotations then? The whole avoidance technique with changing the names and actions of characters (like Dame Slap) in Enid Blyton’s books just bubble wraps kids now and suggests to me that adults really fear children coming into contact with anything ‘controversial’, or reading anything that might require adults to sit down, talk and spend time with their kids, rather than shoving an electronic device at them and telling them to go and do whatever.
What exactly is the matter with reading outdated English to a child? Do these PC editors really think a set of books will entirely change the way a kid speaks when they are completely surrounded by modern English any other time they put an original Enid Blyton book down? For me, even as a kid, reading Enid Blyton was a way for me to learn about the attitudes of that time, how people spoke just a few decades ago, and how it has progressed. Not only did reading The Enchanted Wood and many others of Enid Blyton’s books creatively stimulate my mind, but it was also a learning experience for me, and one that I’m very glad I got before adults got all touchy and concerned about children being too damn delicate to be faced with anything ‘different’.
My dismay at not finding an unedited copy of Enid Blyton’s books had me go to Ebay and buy my top four favourite Enid Blyton books that I didn’t have already, all of which were published in the 70s and 80s: The Enchanted Wood, The Magic Faraway Tree, The Folk of the Faraway Tree and The Wishing Chair. Four different sellers, four different prices, some with a shipping fee, some without. Altogether I had to spend $44.95 and to some that might be a bit costly, but I don’t regret spending my money on these four books at all. My version of The Wishing Chair Again might not be an original Dean & Sons cover but the 1998 version of the story still follows Blyton’s original text. These books remind me of a happy childhood, where I spent a good portion of it learning and reading in the library. I am definitely not a child anymore, but I admit that I partially bought these books in hopes that one day I can read these original editions to children and hope they enjoy Jo, Bessie and Fanny’s adventures in the Enchanted Wood they way Enid Blyton intended them to be as much as I still do.