• English children's writer Enid Blyton is known for her works like 'The Famous Five'
  • She was one of the most popular and controversial children's writers of her times
  • The world-renowned author's works continue to be loved by many even today

Enid Blyton's work gets a modern rewrite with innocent use of words like 'gay' and 'brown' removed to avoid causing offence to its readers.

Representative image of a book
Representative image of a fairy tale. Pixabay: 0fjd125gk87

An analysis by a magazine has found that the much-loved children's writer Enid Blyton's books have been stripped of many keywords originally used by her. This included use of words like 'queer', 'gay', and 'brown'. The word 'brown' was used to reference tanned faces. These type of words were reportedly changed to avoid offence.

The findings come after outrage over Roald Dahl's children's books being rewritten by 'sensitivity readers' to remove language deemed offensive by the publisher Puffin.

Chunks of the author's text were rewritten to make sure the books "can continue to be enjoyed by all today", resulting in extensive changes across Dahl's original works. This included edits to the description of characters' physical appearance and removal of words like 'fat', and 'ugly', according to the Daily Telegraph.

The millions of fans of Blyton, who were born in East Dulwich, south London, in 1897, may be surprised by the changes made to current editions of some of her most popular books.

Her book in The Famous Five series, known as "Five on a Treasure Island," introduced youngsters Julian, Dick and Anne and their tomboy cousin Georgina, or George, plus her dog Timothy.

In the first edition published in 1942, Blyton's favourite adjective was 'queer' which was used very often and even appeared twice on a single page. The use of the word here applied to everything from cormorants to waves, but of course, without any reference to one's sexuality.

However, the fear and nervousness over the word has led to its abolition in the current Hodder Children's Books edition, which is available in 2023. Instead, it has been replaced with words like 'peculiar', 'odd', 'strange', 'funny', 'weird', and 'amazing'.

Some of the changes in the book reported by Daily Mail are as follows:

In the 1942 edition, Uncle Quentin had said of his daughter: "Where's George? She wants spanking." Now in the new and censored edition, he says: "She wants a good talking too."

A description of 'a brown-faced fisher-boy' is changed to 'a suntanned fisher-boy'. In 1942, Blyton had gone on: 'The fisher-boy....grinned at George. 'Morning, Master George,' he said.

Now the passage says simply: The fisher-boy....grinned at George. 'Morning, George,' he said.'

Blyton wrote that the girls' "gay voices sounded all up and down the platform" but in the updated version, their voices are described as "happy" instead.

When Julian apologised to Uncle Quentin in the 1942 version, he said: "I'm sorry, sir." However, now, he is sorry - but does not include the word 'sir'.

Blyton wrote: 'Uncle Quentin ruffled George's short curly hair. "And I'm proud of you too George," he said. "You're as good as a boy any day!"'

In the 2023 edition, with his speech slashed, and any comparison to boys was removed: 'Uncle Quentin ruffled George's short curly hair. "And I'm proud of you too George"', he said.

Enid Blyton has captivated the hearts and minds of young readers since the 1940s. The author wrote the bulk of her work between 1928 and 1960, and is known to be one of the most popular and controversial children's authors of her times.