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Old 10-22-2021, 09:42 AM   #1
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Revised versions of children’s books - and others

More decades ago than I care to remember, Nancy Drew and Encyclopedia Brown got me started on mysteries. And now the first Nancy Drew book, The Secret of the Old Clock, by Carolyn Keene, is on sale at Kindle and Kobo US for $1.99, and priced at £1.49 in the UK. Sadly, with one exception, the rest of the 163 (!!!) books are mostly $8.99 and up in the US and £5.99 and up in the UK. (At least for the first thirty or so, which is all I had time to check, since for some reason, "sort by price" doesn't seem to be working for me this morning...) Which is not going to encourage me in more than one trip down memory lane, nor is it going to encourage parents to buy these books for their kids, to get their kids hooked on reading. (The exception is the fourth book in the series, Mystery at Lilac Inn, which is also £1.49 in the UK, but still expensive in the US....) Anyway, here are links:

The Secret of the Old Clock
Kindle US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001R11CJY/
Kobo US: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the...imited-edition
Kindle UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B001R11CJY

Mystery at Lilac Inn
Kindle UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B001R9DI66

Oh, and BTW, the first one is supposedly an "80th Anniversary Edition" with bonus material. Which I guess limits the number of decades ago it could have been for me .
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Old 10-22-2021, 09:55 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by sufue View Post
More decades ago than I care to remember, Nancy Drew and Encyclopedia Brown got me started on mysteries. And now the first Nancy Drew book, The Secret of the Old Clock, by Carolyn Keene, is on sale at Kindle and Kobo US for $1.99, and priced at £1.49 in the UK. Sadly, with one exception, the rest of the 163 (!!!) books are mostly $8.99 and up in the US and £5.99 and up in the UK. (At least for the first thirty or so, which is all I had time to check, since for some reason, "sort by price" doesn't seem to be working for me this morning...) Which is not going to encourage me in more than one trip down memory lane, nor is it going to encourage parents to buy these books for their kids, to get their kids hooked on reading. (The exception is the fourth book in the series, Mystery at Lilac Inn, which is also £1.49 in the UK, but still expensive in the US....) Anyway, here are links:

The Secret of the Old Clock
Kindle US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001R11CJY/
Kobo US: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the...imited-edition
Kindle UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B001R11CJY

Mystery at Lilac Inn
Kindle UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B001R9DI66

Oh, and BTW, the first one is supposedly an "80th Anniversary Edition" with bonus material. Which I guess limits the number of decades ago it could have been for me .
LOL! I saw this earlier this morning and contemplated sending the link to my sister, but I haven’t got round to it. She rereads the Nancy Drews every summer.

PRH needs to update the blurb; The Secret of the Old Clock was published in 1930. Unfortunately, this is the revised edition and IMNSHO, the revised editions stink. They were dumbed down; they’re shorter and have simpler sentence structure. And then there’s the updated material which never is successful; ultimately books like this can’t be updated. They become inconsistent gobbledegook. How many dirt roads with a bridge out does one drive down these days? And all those telegrams with vital information!

I admit it; if the original versions became available in ebook, I’d buy at least a few. However, I find the revised books unreadable.

One final point: for Canadians and others in Life+50 countries, Faded Page has this and a few other revised Nancy Drews as well as some originals later in the series available.
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Old 10-22-2021, 03:40 PM   #3
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LOL! I saw this earlier this morning and contemplated sending the link to my sister, but I haven’t got round to it. She rereads the Nancy Drews every summer.

PRH needs to update the blurb; The Secret of the Old Clock was published in 1930. Unfortunately, this is the revised edition and IMNSHO, the revised editions stink. They were dumbed down; they’re shorter and have simpler sentence structure. And then there’s the updated material which never is successful; ultimately books like this can’t be updated. They become inconsistent gobbledegook. How many dirt roads with a bridge out does one drive down these days? And all those telegrams with vital information!

I admit it; if the original versions became available in ebook, I’d buy at least a few. However, I find the revised books unreadable.

One final point: for Canadians and others in Life+50 countries, Faded Page has this and a few other revised Nancy Drews as well as some originals later in the series available.
I agree, I would want the originals. I had a few books from the original series passed down to me by my mother. At some point when I was a teenager I tried reading one of the modernized books (probably a 1970s edition) and didn't like it. I can only imagine what's been done to them since then!
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Old 10-22-2021, 05:11 PM   #4
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Thank you. I was looking at grabbing it but couldn't find whether it was the revised one or not. I'll stick with the originals too.
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Old 10-23-2021, 04:01 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by issybird View Post
I admit it; if the original versions became available in ebook, I’d buy at least a few. However, I find the revised books unreadable.
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Originally Posted by 4691mls View Post
I agree, I would want the originals. I had a few books from the original series passed down to me by my mother.
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I'll stick with the originals too.
The initial post made me look in to Nancy Drew. I grew up not reading Nancy or the Hardy Boys (but I did love Encyclopedia Brown).

The Nancy Drew books started being revised back in 1959. If the books you read had the familiar yellow covers with a painting, it was a revised edition.
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Old 10-23-2021, 08:31 AM   #6
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The initial post made me look in to Nancy Drew. I grew up not reading Nancy or the Hardy Boys (but I did love Encyclopedia Brown).

The Nancy Drew books started being revised back in 1959. If the books you read had the familiar yellow covers with a painting, it was a revised edition.
Yup. But you can read too much into that. At least back in my Nancy Drew reading days which were most certainly after 1959, you mostly read books that had been passed around; you’d get them from families with older girls. The dust jackets were long gone, they had the familiar blue covers, Nancy was 16 years old, Titian-haired, wore frocks and drove a roadster, that was the real Nancy! Worse, according to Wikipedia:

Quote:
In the Harriet Adams revisions, Nancy is depicted as a less impulsive, less headstrong girl of Stratemeyer and Mildred's vision, to a milder, more sedate and refined girl— "more sugar and less spice",
Faugh!
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Old 10-23-2021, 10:38 AM   #7
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Wow - I had no idea there were revised versions, but I would have been reading a few years after the revisions started, so I probably would have read a mix. I remember reading some old ones I had gotten from relatives, but also I remember saving up my allowance and buying some new ones, which probably would have been the revised ones. I guess I just wasn't a very discriminating reader in those days, because AFAIR, I liked them all...

Also not all that sure I'm a discriminating reader now either!

Anyway, someday now I'll have to see if my box of old Nancy Drews has survived in my dad's garage (!!!), and see which ones I really had...

ADD: The ones which really annoyed me were the Cherry Ames/nurse series. I never understood why she had to be the nurse, and not the doctor. So I gave up on those pretty fast.

Last edited by sufue; 10-23-2021 at 10:45 AM.
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Old 10-23-2021, 10:57 AM   #8
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Wow - I had no idea there were revised versions, but I would have been reading a few years after the revisions started, so I probably would have read a mix. I remember reading some old ones I had gotten from relatives, but also I remember saving up my allowance and buying some new ones, which probably would have been the revised ones. I guess I just wasn't a very discriminating reader in those days, because AFAIR, I liked them all...
I hear you! I certainly wasn’t that discriminating as a kid, either, but when I look at them now, I can see how the quality tanked and the newest Nancy irritates. And in any case, while I read the originals for the earlier books, eventually the series caught up with the revised Nancy anyway, and I liked them all, too.

Quote:
ADD: The ones which really annoyed me were the Cherry Ames/nurse series. I never understood why she had to be the nurse, and not the doctor. So I gave up on those pretty fast.
I can’t resist. I think the major issue with the Cherry Ames books is that they were supposedly grounded in reality but it was all just made up. On some level, any girl knew that Nancy Drew was fantasy, but Cherry was supposed to be “real.” But the errors! Type C blood! (I’m not making this up.) A navigator on a combat plane who didn’t know where they were going! So the books weren’t fantasy, they were just ridiculous. And that’s aside from such issues as Cherry’s being unable to hold down a job for more than a few weeks, apparently. Unfortunately, the whole “boys get to be doctors and girls have to be nurses” schtick reflected reality, certainly when the series was started - World War II era. But I know you know this.
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Old 10-23-2021, 11:36 AM   #9
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And that’s aside from such issues as Cherry’s being unable to hold down a job for more than a few weeks, apparently. Unfortunately, the whole “boys get to be doctors and girls have to be nurses” schtick reflected reality, certainly when the series was started - World War II era. But I know you know this.
I could have forgiven Cherry for not being able to keep a job. After all, there has to be some way to get her into new places for the different books .

But the nurse/doctor gender thing, even though I didn't know how to express it at the time, was too much. So I never really got far enough into the series to notice any errors, but you have to wonder where a decent editor was? What's funny for me personally is that I remember my mom, who graduated from college herself in the early 1950s (BA and MBA), when it wasn't all that common for women, subtly discouraging me from reading that series, and years later I began to figure out why...
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Old 10-23-2021, 02:18 PM   #10
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Worse, according to Wikipedia:
I see you and I did the same deep research

I was curious enough to take a trip to Canada and snag a copy of The Secret of the Old Clock in what should be its original version (she looks a bit like a flapper on the cover).

For kids detective series, I'd lean more on Encyclopedia Brown and the Bellairs books, partly because I find the syndicate ownership with pen names and editing of The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew distasteful (though honestly, the editing bothers me less than the other things).

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Old 10-23-2021, 06:06 PM   #11
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I see you and I did the same deep research

I was curious enough to take a trip to Canada and snag a copy of The Secret of the Old Clock in what should be its original version (she looks a bit like a flapper on the cover).

For kids detective series, I'd lean more on Encyclopedia Brown and the Bellairs books, partly because I find the syndicate ownership with pen names and editing of The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew distasteful (though honestly, the editing bothers me less than the other things).
This has been interesting though; after duplicating your 'research' I'm sure that what I read as a kid were probably the 1959 revisions. Then I thought maybe I was thinking of the Hardy Boys and their changes, but it looks like those were also last revised in 1959. Apparently my memory is playing tricks on me, I could have sworn I'd heard they were updated in the early 2000s or so.

I liked Encyclopedia Brown as well, but I really got into the Three Investigators series, which led me into Alfred Hitchcock movies.
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Old 10-23-2021, 07:22 PM   #12
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I wasn’t going to comment, but since I’m back in the thread I’ll say that I wasn’t researching at Wikipedia, just looking for a handy quote. I know my Nancy Drew.

As for the rest, and this is what brought me back, is the girl issue. It’s, I’ll say it, biased, to dismiss Nancy Drew and suggest only boy detectives in her place. That is what made Nancy Drew awesome; a girl with agency! A girl that grown men listened to! Girls need to read books like that and Nancy while not the first (I really do like kids lit from the early 20th century) was easily the most compelling.

If you’re looking for a girl detective more grounded in reality, I’d suggest the early Trixie Belden books. Again, there’s the unfortunate updating and as with all series, they deteriorated and became less credible. Still, for the young girl in your life, I’d go with that. And I liked the Three Investigators; Encyclopedia Brown is too much of a gimmick.
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Old 10-23-2021, 07:59 PM   #13
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Yeah, I liked the Trixie Belden books, as did a niece in the early 2000's when i found some at antique sales. The first few, before they get too formulaic (as all such series's do).
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Old 10-23-2021, 10:54 PM   #14
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It’s, I’ll say it, biased, to dismiss Nancy Drew and suggest only boy detectives in her place.
Was that aimed at me? If so, it was a post about my thoughts about books for myself. I didn't go for Nancy Drew or The Hardy Boys and I don't like that they are ghost written product. I did read Encyclopedia Brown and The House With A Clock In Its Walls. In the Encyclopedia Brown books, the toughest character (and his bodyguard) was Sally Kimball. She was also supposed to be a match for Encyclopedia, though that wasn't used often enough. Sally wasn't used often enough, which is a shame.

I don't care what others read and didn't argue when my kid read a Nancy Drew book (Sleepover Sleuths). They just aren't my thing and never were.

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Old 10-24-2021, 09:50 AM   #15
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For kids detective series, I'd lean more on Encyclopedia Brown and the Bellairs books, partly because I find the syndicate ownership with pen names and editing of The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew distasteful (though honestly, the editing bothers me less than the other things).
I liked Encyclopedia Brown. But even as a kid, I thought some of the solutions weren’t that great. I remember thinking, “Are you sure that’s enough to get someone arrested?”

Sure, it was a great way to teach kids to look for clues in the text. Our teachers used to read the chapters to the class and get us to guess. They were better than the other “mini-mysteries” out there. But sometimes, the solutions were too forced. And the stories could be even more formulaic than Nancy Drew. (Why the bully didn’t end up either in jail or running for mayor I’ll never know…)

This was always an issue for those “mini-mysteries.” I seem to remember there was one where the sleuth figured out someone claiming to be an English professor was a fake because the sleuth told him to “scan” a document for clues, and he quickly read it (skimmed it); instead of quickly looking over the paper (scanning it). Come on!
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