Words including ‘fat’, ‘ugly’ and ‘crazy’ have been removed from Roald Dahl’s famous children’s books.
Dahl is a beloved author whose works have sold over 250 million copies worldwide, making him one of the most successful authors in history.
Recently, his books have undergone some changes to ensure that they are more inclusive and appropriate for modern audiences.
The publisher, Puffin, has removed words such as “fat,” “ugly,” and “mad” from Dahl’s texts to make them more accessible to readers of all ages.
The decision was made in collaboration with the Roald Dahl Story Company, which manages the copyright of Dahl’s books. The company stated that the “irreverence and sharp-edged spirit” of the original books has been maintained despite the changes.
To ensure that the alterations were sensitive and appropriate, Puffin and the Roald Dahl Story Company hired sensitivity readers from Inclusive Minds, a collective that promotes inclusion, diversity, equality, and accessibility in children’s literature.
The word “fat” has been removed from all of Dahl’s children’s books.
For example, Augustus Gloop from “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” is now described as “enormous” instead of “enormously fat.”
Aunt Sponge from “James and the Giant Peach” is no longer referred to as “the fat one.”
Similarly, the word “ugly” has been removed, and characters such as Mrs. Twit from “The Twits” are now described as “beastly” rather than “ugly and beastly.” Terms such as “crazy” and “mad” have also been removed from the books.
In addition to removing potentially hurtful language, the new editions of Dahl’s books aim to modernize the portrayal of women.
For example, the phrase “not ladylike” has been changed to “undignified” in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” and Miss Trunchbull from “Matilda” is now described as a “most formidable woman” instead of a “most formidable female.”
A paragraph in “The Witches” that previously explained that witches are bald under their wigs has been changed to acknowledge that there are many reasons why women might wear wigs.
The new editions also feature gender-neutral terms where possible. “Mothers and fathers” has been changed to “parents,” and the “Cloud-Men” in “James and the Giant Peach” are now referred to as “Cloud-People.”
The Roald Dahl Story Company stated that the changes were made to ensure that Dahl’s stories can continue to be enjoyed by all children today.
The alterations were carefully considered, and the guiding principle throughout was to maintain the storylines, characters, and spirit of the original text.
The changes were made in 2020, before Dahl’s stories were acquired by Netflix in October 2021 for an undisclosed sum believed to be in the hundreds of millions.