Noddy and His Car – How has Blyton’s original text fared in a modern edition?


This week I’m comparing a hardback of Noddy and His Car to the version that appears in the treasury. I originally had this book in an 80s paperback but I have replaced it with a hardback with dustjacket. I had thought about finding the 80s copy to skim through it and see if any changes crept in that early, but there were just too many alterations made between the two copies I had for that. That’s a blog for another day!

I’ve also looked at Noddy Goes to Toyland and Hurrah for Little Noddy!

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MINOR CHANGES, WHICH MAKE YOU WONDER WHY THEY BOTHERED

As in the other books:

  • Hyphens are removed from phrases like taxi-driver.
  • Changes are made surrounding Noddy and Big-Ears spending the night together.  Spend the night with you becomes stay the night (is that more innocent?), and sleeping with him that night becomes staying the night with him.
  • Mr Golly, the garage owner, is still called Mr Sparks – this replacement also features in one illustration.
  • The only golly to feature in the story (the finder of the lost hat) is replaced with a monkey.

Little words have been added at times:

  • He hadn’t a garage yet / he hadn’t got a garage yet
  • Mr Tubby looked wise, or now very wise
  • None of them wore more than one is given clarification – more than one tail. 
  • Apply Angela Golden-Hair becomes Apply to Angela Golden-hair, to make it the same as the other apply tos.

Other little words are removed:

  • He had had to leave his car in the garden / He had left his car on the grass outside. Clearly from the pictures it’s a garden and not just a bit of grass, so I don’t know why they had to change that rather than just removing the clumsy double had.
  • The milkman makes a request to tap your head hard, Noddy. Hard is removed, though after that it’s said he taps it so hard he nods for a long time.
  • Noddy is no longer waiting and waiting for passengers but just waiting for passengers.
  • Dear is removed a few times, from dear little car and dear, funny little fellow.
  • I never, never knew becomes just I never knew,

Some entirely innocuous words and short phrases are substituted with others:

  • Noddy’s car would have got very wet is now would have got wet out there. 
  • The milkman described Noddy’s car as Simply wonderful, now he says It’s wonderful.
  • Again, hard is removed from I hope I don’t hurt you when I tap you so hard and is replaced with when I tap you like that.
  • Noddy had been startled at Mr Tubby’s sudden shout how he is startled by a loud shout.
  • You’ll lose your train has been updated to miss your train.
  • The tail might have got caught in [the wheel] has been changed to got stuck in it. I can almost see why this was done. We know the tail had got caught in the wheel, and Noddy wants to see if it is still caught. Stuck perhaps implies still caught, while caught can perhaps sound more of a temporary situation. Still, caught worked fine in my opinion.
  • I’m stuck fast is now I’m stuck in here
  • When Noddy asks for payment from Mr Teddy he asks What nonsense is this?. This has become What nonsense is that?, which makes less sense.
  • He really must get a rich-looking [passenger] has become He wanted to get a rich-looking one.
  • Noddy no longer says Get inside, Mam to the doll, he says Get inside, please.
  • When Noddy said he had done Nothing, except lose things it becomes losing things.
  • Pray let me is now please allow me.
  • The clockwork mouse was running fast on his clockwork wheel but he has clockwork legs now instead. Perhaps they think he can’t run without legs?
  • I do like you for my friend is now I am glad that I’ve got you for a friend.
  • The cat’s tail is no longer referred to as a fur/pink fur when the doll wears it, it is a scarf/pink furry scarf instead.
  • Noddy and Big-Ears had gone together to buy their supper now they go together to the shops.
  • Big-Ears is not squeezing Noddy’s arm when he discourages him from singing all night, instead he is smiling.

Punctuation is altered in a few spots:

  • When very is repeated commas are added in between – Very, very sad and Very, very stupid. I’d have thought they’d have removed the second very as with never, never.
  • Emphasis is shifted from Noddy couldn’t find the hat to Noddy couldn’t find the hat.
  • A doll’s house becomes a dolls’ house, though there’s no evidence the house does belong to more than one doll.
  • Big-Ears the Brownie becomes Big-Ears the brownie.
  • About the tail, the hat and the bag becomes the clumsier About the tail, and the hat, and the bag.
  • One set of ellipses are replaced with a hyphen at the end of a sentence (yet in other places ellipses are left as they are).
  • A question mark is added, correctly, to the question Shall we ask Mr Tubby…
  • SOMEbody is now highlighted as Somebody in italics.

AND THE BIGGER EDITS

  • The Milkman asked Noddy Is that the [car] you got for being clever enough to find all the cars and now he asks Is that the one you got for finding all the cars. 
  • Noddy says Yes I will to the milkman’s suggestion of saying sixpence there and back again. He now says That’s a good idea.
  • A simple few lines become clunky and repetitive. Noddy had owed the toy cat sixpence for a new tail. He would have to earn that sixpence before he could earn money to buy a new garage. For some reason it has become Instead of earning money, he owed the toy cat sixpence before he could earn money to buy a new garage.
  • Other sentences are rearranged – I’m not having at all a nice time to I’m not having a nice time at all.
  • Some sentences are just cut entirely such as I like to hear the bell jingle at the top of your hat, and What he wants is a good spanking.
  • Removing that last line also required the rewriting of the next few, thus: “He’ll get it the next time I meet him,” said Big-Ears becomes Well he’d better not try being bad again,” said Big-Ears. “Or there’ll be trouble next time I see him.”
  • “Hurray. hurray, I’m happy today, my car is so gay, hey-tiddley-hey!” sang Noddy, as he began to dress. “Dear dear me – who would believe I could make up funny little songs like that?” is also cut, for no apparent reason.

As mentioned in the first section Mr Golly is Mr Sparks in the illustration on the left (top left corner, under the awning). Also the boy at the bottom right has darker skin and hair.

In the right hand illustration the Golly on the train is replaced with dark-skinned girl.


So we had 14 changes in Noddy Goes to Toyland, 32 in Hurrah for Little Noddy and now… 47(!) in Noddy and His Car. It’s like the editors have gained confidence and are just changing anything that could possibly be changed.

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2 Responses to Noddy and His Car – How has Blyton’s original text fared in a modern edition?

  1. Francis says:

    A great study, Fiona. It’s got to the stage where you wonder why they have not removed Enid’s name as the text has so little to do with the original.
    Thank you, Francis.

    Like

    • fiona says:

      Because the name has power and it will sell books. Which is why her name is on works that have been written by other people, people who are often not even credited inside.

      Like

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