Children's books edited to remove 'offensive' language

Roald Dahl’s classic children’s books have been heavily edited to remove language that might be deemed offensive.

Children's books edited to remove 'offensive' language
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Publisher Puffin has removed offensive language from Roald Dahl's classic children's books to make them more inclusive, which has been met with criticism from some critics.

References that could be considered misogynistic or fat shaming have been rewritten after the books were audited by inclusion specialists.

Changes include words like “fat” and “ugly” being removed from books including Matilda and James and the Giant Peach.

The Oompa Loompas from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory have been reimagined as gender neutral.

The edits were requested by Puffin, the publisher of Dahl’s children’s book, to ensure the books “can continue to be enjoyed by all today.

British newspaper The Telegraph reported that the chubby Augustus Gloop featured in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory would now be described as “enormous” rather than fat.

Mr Twit, a character from The Twits, would be described as just “beastly” instead of “ugly and beastly” while Miss Sponge from James and the Giant Peach would no longer be described as “the fat one”.

In Dahl’s The Witches, a paragraph noting that witches are bald beneath their wigs includes a new line that reads: “There are plenty of other reasons why women might wear wigs and there is certainly nothing wrong with that.”

Critics have slammed the changes, claiming they have turned the unsentimental, macabre style for which Dahl is famous into joyless lecturing.

A note at the bottom of the copyright page of Dahl's latest written editions reads: “The wonderful words of Roald Dahl can transport you to different worlds and introduce you to the most marvellous characters. This book was written many years ago, and so we regularly review the language to ensure that it can continue to be enjoyed by all today”.

The Roald Dahl Story Company, which owns the works, said it was “not unusual to review the language” used in novels and that the changes were “small and carefully considered”.

“We want to ensure Roald Dahl’s wonderful stories and characters continue to be enjoyed by all children today,” a spokesman for the company said.

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  • By Avi Yemini

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