Strange Up-dating in an Alice Book
Hi Phyllis! I wanted to start off by thanking you for the Alice series and all of your children’s books. I was a huge fan of Shiloh when I was young, and was determined to read every book written by you in the library after that!
I first read some of the Alice books when I was 12 or 13 (I’m 20 now), and when I heard that the series was ending in October I decided that I would start from the beginning and find out what happened to Alice. It has been an amazing experience so far, the books are just as great as I remembered them being.
I was very surprised however, when I read Alice in April. I have a 2011 edition of the book, and when Alice lists off the items she’s leaving in her class time capsule, she lists things that are relevant to today like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, but the book was published in the 90s. Why did you decide to update this passage? Have other books in the series been updated over the time? I’m also tempted to search for the older editions now so I can compare the two! I can understand why updating passages would appeal to newer audiences, but I remember really enjoying the funny references to 90s fads when I was younger.
Thank you for writing such a lovely series, these books helped me a lot when I was younger and I imagine they’ll continue to do so.
Ah! An observant reader! At some point, when the powers-that-be were putting out a new edition of some of the Alice books, they decided it might be a good idea to update some of the language, the technology, etc. to more appeal to modern age readers. The contents of that time capsule was one of them (and I’m wondering now if they remembered the changes they’d made in the final Alice book coming out in October!) At one point, they were going to change many of the land phone conversations to cell phone conversations instead, and realized that then whole plots would have to be revised (if a person is carrying a cell phone, help is only a phone call away, and you’ve no idea how this has changed the plot dynamics, especially in children’s literature, where kids are supposed to find the solution to a problem themselves!) Then they thought about texting, and when they realized that the whole book would have to be rewritten, they satisfied themselves with tinkering with just a few inanimate objects. Moral: never tinker with a writer’s sacred work!