Will Puffin undo their re-write of Roald Dahl's books?
Feb 2

Puffin (publisher of Roald Dahl's childrens' books) is hired sensitivity readers to make edits designed to make the books more inclusive. Some controversy followed. Sample changes that were reported (making an effort to a sampling of different categories of changes, and noting that at least one of these appears to be a typo of some sort).

Charlie and the chocolate factory

  • "Pants" -> "trousers"

  • “You only had to mention the word “cacao” to an Oompa-Loompa and he would start dribbling at the mouth” removed, along with similar

  • "She wants a good kick in the pants,” whispered Grandpa Joe" -> "“She needs to learn some manners,” whispered Grandpa Joe"

  • "A few queer rumblings were heard" -> "A few strange rumblings were heard"

Fantastic Mr. Fox

  • "He was enormously fat." -> "He was enormous."

  • "Each man will have a gun and a flashlight." -> "Each person will have a person and a flashlight."

  • Several changes made to ensure that "smallest fox" is not observed to drink cider.

  • “That ought to cheer up poor Mrs Fox.” -> “That ought to cheer up Mrs Fox." (and other removals of the word 'poor' in similar context)


  • Removed: "Japanese beans is very small, so a giant will need to gobble up about six Japanese beans before he is feeling full up. Others like the Norway people and the Yankee-Doodles is ever so much bigger and usually two or three of those makes a good tuck-in."

  • "It was something black" -> "It was something dark"

  • “I don’t have a mother or a father” -> "I don't have parents"

  • "His skin was reddish-brown" removed

  • "The eyes were tiny black holes" -> "The eyes were tiny holes"

  • "except her faithful old Mary" -> "except her faithful Mary"

Resolves to roughly the percentage of changes that have been undone, as best I can judge from common reporting, at the end of this year.

For more context, see this HN thread and links therein: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=34849383

I also suggest this comprehensive listing of changes made, on reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/books/comments/1154tr5/the_hundreds_of_changes_made_to_roald_dahls_books/j8znxo2/

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Reviewing the selection at a Barnes and Noble in Albuquerque. The books don't mention any edits having been made, but they do indeed seem to be edited. Resolves NO

@ScottLawrence I did not check correctly. Still working on the resolution. Sorry folks, bear with me...

@ScottLawrence Can you resolve this and your other closed markets(if possible)? Thanks!

@SirCryptomind In progress. As I said below, this'll resolve later this month after I have an opportunity to walk into a couple stores. One of the other markets will resolve this weekend (I just need to write a script to determine the answer).

When shopping online, it looks like most books for sale are the old version, without the edits. I'll try going into a couple stores later this month and see which editions are available. If the majority of books that I can actually buy don't have these edits, I have a difficult time resolving this to NO.

(I'm extremely glad I didn't bet in this market!)

predicts NO

@ScottLawrence can this resolve

@lag Not yet. Trying to get more information.

There's an update: https://www.foxnews.com/media/ronald-dahls-publisher-backs-down-anti-woke-backlash-classic-language-version-stay-print

This alone is not sufficient for a YES resolution. Without new announcements, I'll look at the end of the year at what's actually available on shelves and online.

If they (re)publish the original text this year in any format, this will resolve YES (100%)?

@Duncan No. I'll use my judgement about what the "main" version is. As an extreme example, if in October Puffin begins charging $500 for limited-edition "heirloom" copies, that's not going to count towards a YES.

There are lots of ways this market could end up requiring a judgement call, so I'm not betting in it, of course.

@ScottLawrence I assume the current unedited Puffin editions on sale do not count towards YES?

@Duncan right, not without something else happening