Leave classic children’s books ALONE!

Jul 26 • Featured, Uncategorized • 708 Views • 9 Comments on Leave classic children’s books ALONE!

When I was about 10 my primary school went for their weekly visit to the library and I chose a small hardback which I immediately fell in love with. The book was Little Women, and it was originally published in 1868.

Did the fact that I didn't have a clue what popovers are or that I had no direct experience of living through the Civil War make any difference to my enjoyment of the book? Of course not. If anything, it enhanced it, because I loved the fact that Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy belonged to a different time.

I was never a fan of the Famous Five – No 1 Son hasn't read a single book – but I did like Mallory Towers and St Clare's when I was a child. So I'm despairing of the news that Enid Blyton's books are being 'updated' with language that is considered more 2010 than 1940s.

For goodness sake, give kids some credit. They're perfectly capable of coping with 'classics'. What are we to expect next – The Lord of the Rings reissued in Noughties slang? 'Yo Legolas, where's da ring at?'

Give me strength.

written by Liz Jarvis

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9 Responses to Leave classic children’s books ALONE!

  1. Holisticfairy says:

    Dis is a outrage innit! It makes me sooo mad. Enid Blytons may be a tad old fashioned, but they also let children use the one thing which most modern kids’ books forget – IMAGINATION!

  2. leslieanne says:

    What a silly idea! Half the charm of those books is that they’re so of their time – all wholesome & full of golly & gosh – reading them transports you to a much nicer version of the world where nothing can’t be fixed with a bottle of homemade pop. What’s wrong with that?! I don’t want to hear about 6th formers at St Claire’s having a go at the ‘Chavs’ from the local public school! I agree – leave ’em alone!

  3. Deer Baby says:

    I agree – leave them alone. When are they going to stop? I am not a massive Enid Blyton fan (I know, I know ) but I read them all when I was young. Part of their charm is their tweeness, their jolly hockeysticks and lashings of ginger beer. It will just sound all wrong if they try and drag them into the 21st century to make them more appealing/accessible to kids. Are they going to have Daryll on her mobile ringing home from boarding school, and George and Timmy saying ‘Random’ and ‘Innit’ and ‘Skillage’ or playing Club Penguin in the dorm. Totally nonsensical. And if they start doing it to The Railway Children I shall emigrate!

  4. TallOracle says:

    I totally agree! I read the Faraway Tree to my daughter and things seemed very different from my memories of it. Didn’t all the Enid Blyton books get "politically corrected" at some point? All so wrong.

  5. kathleen says:

    Not Mallory Towers! Instead of midnight feasts they’ll all be sneaking out to go to the local night club to pull state school boys and listen to some well phat tunes innit.

  6. grit says:

    yes, the language is part of the original package; but they could be referring to particular words which have moved from being socially acceptable to unacceptable, or they could be tweaking lines uttered by characters which display what 2010 audiences would consider racist or sexist, so it might put readers off, impact the brand, affect sales etc. does updating work to introduce kids to a range of literature? for some it might. dd3 has recently taken up with the shakespeare stories in ‘modern english’, which she loves. she hates the comic book versions of them though, especially when juliet says ‘let’s snog’. i think my little dd is right there, although she has yet to read the folio editions.

  7. Kirsty says:

    DS1, nearly 8, has loved Famous Five books for the past 2 years. I’ve been known to change the odd word when reading them to him; and it took him a while to grasp the concept of a separate cook; but he loves the adventure and mystery aspect to them. It is completely different to his childhood (or even mine). I don’t think they should be updated. There are plenty of good contemporary books around for children.

  8. A Modern Mother says:

    Funny, I just gave my eldest Little Women and the entire Little House series (are they classic???) She LOVES them.

  9. Catriona says:

    I agree that we should leave these classics alone. Do we have the right to tamper with them? Isn’t it educational to discover a style of writing that shows an era in history. I used to love the Little House books as well – yes they probably are classics. Its the same as dumming down Nursery Rhymes so they have nice endings!!! We need to make sure that the orginals stay with us.

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