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8 of your favourite childhood books and what they look like now

How things change…

WE RECENTLY HAPPENED upon a tweet that stopped us in our tracks and chilled us to our core:

The books we read as children were like old friends; stories we would return to over and over again.

Whatever edition of The Famous Five or The Hardy Boys or Lord of the Rings graced your shelves as a child, it can be difficult to take to those beloved books in their updated form.

Let’s take a look at how that art and those covers have changed over the years…

The Twins at St Clare’s – Enid Blyton

First published in 1941, The Twins at St Clare’s is number one in a series of six books about Patricia and Isobel.

This is probably how you remember them:

86929 Source: Childrensbookshop

Or maybe this earlier version:

1 Source: Seriesbookart

Or this 1988 version:

1 Source: Seriesbookart

Brace yourself. This is them now:

145200-ml-921800 Source: Scholastic

Malory Towers – Enid Blyton

Fellow boarding school brats Darrell, Sally, Alicia and co have undergone some major changes too.

Earlier incarnations of the series looked like this:

1 Source: Seriesbookart

and this:

third (2) Source: didomibooks.com

and this:

towers Source: Goodreads

These days, the Malory Towers gang look like this:

Malory_Towers Source: Nocookie

fifth Source: egully.com

The Hardy Boys – Franklin W Dixon

The tales of Frank and Joe Hardy have been entertaining us since the late twenties. Let’s see how they’ve evolved.


Hbtt1rev Source: Wikimedia

Hardy_boys_cover_34 Source: Wikimedia

Hardy Boys Casefiles No. 17 - The Number File Source: Thebiggamehunter


51SXLaRSpLL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ Source: Images-amazon

hardy_boys Source: Monkeyreader

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Earlier this year a controversial new cover for Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was revealed, and branded by some as “terrifying”.


Here’s how most people know it, featuring the work of Quentin Blake:

0141311304.02.LZZZZZZZ Source: Amazon

charlie-and-the-chocolate-factory-book-cover Source: Bfi


Charlie_and_the_Chocolate_Factory_40_years Source: Lookingglassreview

This was the cover of the very first edition of the book:

main Source: Davidbrassrarebooks

Here are some more non-Quentin Blake covers you might recognise:

charcover7 Source: Roalddahlfans

charcover4 Source: Roalddahlfans

Charlie-and-the-Chocolate-Factory-Puffin-1978 Source: Abebooks

Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret

Judy Blume’s seminal work was first published in 1970, with this cover:


Here’s how it’s changed:

AreYouThereGod2 Source: Slj

are-you-there-god-its-me-margaret Source: Wordpress

410GTX5J8QL Source: Images-amazon

Are-You-There-God-Its-Me-Margaret Source: Survivingcollege

The Lord of the Rings – J R R Tolkien

The covers for Tolkiens’ classic trilogy has evolved from his own original designs…

LOTR01 Source: Adazing

… through all sorts of offerings. Is the one you had here?

bloomsbury-333-717 Source: Tolkienguide

LordoftheRings-piratedfirstpaperbackedition Source: Uu

LOTR_book_Covers Source: BlogSpot

lotr06 Source: Mytolkienbooks

001010_1 Source: Tolkienbookshelf

HM-1994 Source: Thebutterflymom

The Famous Five

Blyton’s tales of Julian, Dick and Anne, George and Timmy the Dog have been hugely popular since they were first published in the early 1940s.

Here’s how they’ve changed over the years…

fgtdr Source: Wordpress

Famous Five sml Source: BlogSpot

2205945 Source: Gr-assets

five-go-to-mystery-moor-9 Source: Enidblytonsociety

254568-untitled-1 Source: Dnaindia

74997 Source: Gr-assets

pi8c0c71929db21db9@large Source: Ebs

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13 3/4

The first book in Sue Townsend’s hilarious Adrian Mole series was published in 1982 and it looked like this:

SDMole10 Source: BlogSpot

Since then it has sold more than 20 million copies worldwide. Here’s how the cover has changed:

51070 Source: Gr-assets


81OYOLqyMQL._SL1500_ Source: Images-amazon


n58563 Source: Fantasticfiction

9780141046426 Source: Bibdsl

33 ways Adrian Mole looked at life> 

A definitive ranking of the children’s books you read in school>

Penguin faces backlash over new cover for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory> 

About the author:

Emer McLysaght

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