The changes were made in response to research carried out with children and mums, showing the books were strongly endorsed by parents, but needed to be adapted in order to make them relevant for today’s young readers.
Hodder will continue to publish the classic editions, with unchanged text and featuring artist Eileen Soper’s original Famous Five illustrations, alongside the revised contemporary editions.
The new contemporary editions will launch this August. Changes to the text have been carried out to make the books timeless, rather than 21st century. All changes have been carried out sensitively and carefully and the text changes are focused on the dialogue, while the narrative is left untouched.
Enid Blyton felt it was very important for her readers to be able to relate to her characters, especially in dialogue, saying of her own childhood reading; “there was no lively conversation in the books, telling exactly what the speakers were like, just as a conversation does in real life ...”*.
Anne McNeil, publishing director of Hodder Children’s Books said: “Blyton was passionate in her advocacy of child literacy, and was spurred to create books that she knew children would love to read.
"She is one of the best-loved children’s writers of all time, selling over 500 million books and, in the process, creating many millions of readers around the world. In ensuring that her Famous Five books continue to appeal to today’s generation of young readers, we hope we are upholding her legacy to get as many children to read as possible.”
Esra Cafer, vice president of brand management and marketing at Chorion, added: “Mums told us that they wanted their children to enjoy Blyton as much as they had, but they felt that the language and look of the books were no longer relevant. We put that into research and children said the same thing.
"Blyton did what she did to get kids to read, so we feel duty-bound to take that legacy on board. So, we’ve focused on revising the dialogue to ensure the characters are ones that today’s children can relate to – just as readers were able to in Blyton’s day."
To celebrate this launch, Hodder has devised a strong marketing campaign. An online treasure hunt will take place this summer and the first ten books will be stickered to direct consumers to the Famous Five Treasure Hunt Competition.
There will be five clues hidden on partner websites, offering readers the chance to win five prizes. Partner websites include The Science Museum, Fun Kids Radio, NG Kids and First News. Banner advertising on all partner sites will tag WHSmiths.
London’s Science Museum will also be hosting Famous Five branded sleepovers this summer as part of their Science Nights programme. Fun Kids Radio will include fun holiday camping tips and Famous Five audio clips as part of their summer on air programme.