By Story Star correspondent Jane Haynes
No matter how high tech the focus of the book industry becomes, one aspect which stands firm is the people’s love for a classic. A few weeks ago, we spoke of publishing giant Frederick Warne and Co. bringing Beatrix Potter’s best-loved characters and tales to life for the digital era; now, it appears that Hachette UK, which has acquired the rights to author Enid Blyton’s estate, is set to do the very same. In a vow to “catapult Enid Blyton into contemporary society”, the publisher is set to rework, rewrite and re-launch her popular Secret Seven tales to suit the 21st century audience.
The novels will follow in the pattern of the Famous Five series, which underwent a similar makeover before being re-released for digital download last year. While the essential elements of the Secret Seven tales will remain, it is aspects mainly such as language and plot which will undergo reworking to suit the modern audience. Indeed, while some have reacted with aghast at the prospect of adapting the children’s classics, managing director of Hachette UK, Marlene Johnson, alluded to the potentially dated aspects of the book when she stated: “these days you don’t talk of jolly japes to kids.”
According to Johnson, the hope is that rewriting Blyton’s favourite child detective stories to a level more easily understood by today’s young readers will boost sales, as well as keeping the author’s legacy alive in an age where technology and the ebook reign. With plans to make the Secret Seven stories available to download in ebook form, along with many other titles in Blyton’s repertoire, Hachette UK are intent on making hits of these treasured classics among the tech-savvy modern children’s audience.
Blyton’s Secret Seven series was undoubtedly one of her most popular works. The series, consisting of a total of fifteen published books, follows the adventures of the Secret Seven, a secret society of child detectives. As one of Blyton’s bestselling works its popularity spawned an entire spin-off range consisting of everything from jigsaw puzzles, card games and annuals, with short stories also appearing in Blyton’s magazine range.
Having written over 800 books, some of which are still being discovered in her many journals and collections, Enid Blyton remains one of the top-selling and most loved British authors of all time. Selling over 500 million books to date, she has outsold every other children’s author in the world and is counted among the Top Ten Authors in the country, alongside Shakespeare and J.K Rowling. Speaking of Blyton’s legacy and children’s love for her novels, Johnson stated this week: “Children have been reading Enid Blyton for many, many years and the books are held in real affection by generations of families the world over.”