Friday, July 23, 2010

Enid Blyton lingo gets an update | theBookseller.com

Enid Blyton lingo gets an update theBookseller.com

This is a fascinating article and I am sure will elicit both 'for and 'against' responses. I grew up with Enid Blyton, and also taught my illiterate foster (later adopted) child to read starting with all my old childhood favorites (Secret Seven, First and many other terms at St Mallory's, Naughtiest Girl in the School, Famous Five etc). I loved Noddy and Big Ears, and Miss Kitty, and wanted a car like Noddy's to drive myself to school.

The question is: should one 'update' or 'modernize' books written in a different era to accommodate new, modern audiences? One could say yes, because it makes great stories of yesteryear fresh and accessible to new audiences. There are children's versions of sometimes difficult classics like Treasure Island, The Water Babies, and Wind in the Willows. One could on the other hand say no, because many classics remain untouched. Dickens is still sacred, and no one messes with Shakespeare, with even modern film versions still using the bard's sometimes laborious language. I am wading through Macbeth with my daughter and can attest to the number of Forsooths and other incomprehensible stuff! We watched Roman Polanski's Macbeth with a superb Jon Finch, Francesca Annis and Martin Shaw, but had the textbook on hand to work out the meaning of the actors' speech every now and again. It's a great story, a great tragedy of greed and hubris, and no one has said, "Hey, let's make Bill a bit more modern!"

I love anything from the BBC Classic drama series and we collect the DVDs. My now teenage daughter adores the cobblestones and corsets brigade. It seems strange that a modern young person would find that appealing, but she does. She says she loves the stories and seeing the past come to life. So, maybe kids don't need to be led by the nose to books and stories of yesteryear. Maybe we should let them make up their own minds. How come no one has 'freshened up' The Lord of the Rings, or said, "Hey, this Jane Austen stuff should be made really modern - how about rock chicks and boy bands in these stories?"

I am all for leaving a good story told as it is.
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