Jill’s Gymkhana: Abridgements

People often ask me if their Jill book is abridged: unless you have one of the hardbacks then yes, it probably is. You’ll find below a list of all the differences between the first edition of the first book, Jill’s Gymkhana, published by Hodder & Stoughton in 1949, and the Knight paperback from 1988.

The text changes are listed, as are the changes to the illustrations. Knight used Bonar Dunlop’s illustrations for their versions, and cut the number from the original 27 that Caney provided to 13.

A guick note on names: if you have the very first Knight paperback from 1968, you will know that Black Boy becomes Danny Boy in that edition. In all Knight editions after that, he reverted to Black Boy.

Many thanks to Hazelhunter on my old forum, who did all the work in this section – a labour of love, indeed!

Jill’s Gymkhana, 1st edition, Hodder, 1949

Text changes

Looking at the changes that were made, it’s interesting to see that Jill was allowed to wear make up in the 1940s, but not in the 1960s, a supposedly freer time for children.

Knight, 1988

In the section below, the first page number given is from the first edition and the second number corresponds to the paperback. This list isn’t necessarily definitive; we’ve tried to be as careful as possible, but can make no guarantee about accuracy or completeness.

General notes

  • Quotation marks are double in the first edition, single in the paperback
  • Words such as ‘realised’ and ‘sympathised’ have been spelt with a ‘z’ e.g. ‘realized’, ‘sympathized’
  • The dedication to ‘Libs, Sallie and Pip’ has been deleted

The text

My Dream

  • P9. Missing 16-line paragraph describing how Jill could not relate to her Mother’s books.
  • Black Boy is a piebald.
  • Jill calls him Patchy instead of Blackie.
  • Farmer Clay wants 25 pounds instead of 12. (25 pounds for all further references)
  • P13/15. Missing last sentence of second last paragraph in reference to lino cuts as an alternative.
  • Missing entire last six-line paragraph describing Jill having a good ‘howl’ about not being able to afford Blackie.

Black Boy

  • P16/14. Catherine receives 75 guineas for her book instead of 50.
  • P17/15. Exclamation is 78 pounds 75 pence instead of 52 pounds ten shillings.
  • ‘like’ in reference to gas cooker is in italics in the Knight edition.
  • Offer to Jill is 30 pounds instead of 15.

The Gymkhana

  • P26/21. Boy’s boast about Olympia has changed to Wembley.
  • P27/23. Commonsense has become common sense.
  • P30/26. Missing last two paragraphs (nine lines) describing Jill’s enthusiasm for gymkhanas, telling her Mother about Martin and disappointment he had not come to Pool Cottage.


  • P34/29. Second paragraph has been abridged omitting Jill ‘trying to look intelligent’ and being embarrassed about her mother telling Martin about her book, the hen house and the scullery floor.
  • P38/35. Nine lines of dialogue missing from conversation as Jill and her Mother thank Martin for coming to teach her.


  • P40/34 Second paragraph of three lines missing of Jill describing the trials of being the new girl at school.
  • Her new school shoes are no longer ‘buttoned’.
  • P41/35. Class has changed from ‘only twelve girls’ to ‘thirty girls’.
  • P42/36. Description of mode of dress altered from ‘blue and white spotted cotton frock and no hat or stockings’ to ‘frightful old jeans’
  • P48/40. Description of spotted cotton frock and sandals changed to jeans and sandals.
  • Black Boy’s food budget goes from 25 shillings to one pound fifty.
  • Instead of ten shillings on grey flannel shorts she spends seventy five pence on blue grey denim shorts. (Subsequently referred to as ‘grey denims’ instead of ‘grey shorts’).

My Friend Ann

  • P50/42. Missing two paragraphs (21 lines) describing Ann’s house, garden and dressing table.
  • P53/43. Mr Derry’s ‘groom’ becomes ‘handyman’.
  • P54/44. Description of Ann’s attire omits the black velvet cap.
  • P58/47. Final three paragraphs describing the pony books Ann has lent her are deleted. (23 lines).

My Little Flock

  • P60/48. Amounts Jill is given altered to:
    • Half a crown to fifteen pence
    • Four shillings to twenty pence
    • Nine shillings to fifty pence
  • P64/52. Final 11 paragraphs detailing Martin introducing the Harveys to Jill and the subsequent ride in which they teach Jill how to calm Black Boy when he is spooked by a steam roller have been deleted. (23 lines).

The Stable

  • P67/53. The china loses its reference to being pre-war Shelley.
  • P70/56. The reference to the loft is deleted.
  • P71/57. Groom becomes handyman.
  • P72/58. The tile polish Ann brings loses reference to being given to her by the cook.
  • Reference to the reckless melting of the whole week’s cheese ration has been changed to simply ‘Mummy melted down some cheese’.
  • Reference to the King becomes the Queen.
  • Reference to playing twenty questions is missing.


  • P74/60. Missing first three paragraphs (25 lines) describing Jill’s morning routine.
  • P75/60. Cost of ride (and further references) goes from 5 pounds to 8 pounds.
  • P76-7/61. Missing nine paragraphs (41 lines) of Jill describing the essays (about horses at her suggestion) being read out aloud at school and subsequent report.
  • P79/63. ‘For you will swing back’ becomes “For he will swing back.”


  • P85/68. Middy blouse becomes blouse.
  • Descriptive reference of stockings has been replaced by initialled handkerchiefs and a comment about them not being exciting.
  • P86-7/69. Ten-line paragraph of Jill primarily discussing her dislike of her mother’s hens has been deleted.
  • P87/69. Missing five-line paragraph how when Ann arrives she has one of her little sisters with her, riding a new tricycle. First line has been added to next paragraph.
  • P91/72. Messenger Boy becomes ‘boy.’
  • P92/73. Missing five-line paragraph describing how they had an early tea and did crossword puzzles.

Cecilia’s Visit

  • P93/74. Seventeen and six becomes 80 pence; half a crown, 20 pence
  • P97/78. Wheat flakes becomes cornflakes.
  • P98/78. Missing two paragraphs (20 lines) of Cecilia describing her school at length and Jill feeling low at the prospect of the rest of her visit.
  • P100/81. Mack and shorts becomes mac and jeans.


  • P103/83. Reference changed to ‘Trojan’
  • Jill’s dialogue on altering her hairstyle is simplified, losing mention of ‘frizzing it up a bit’ and the rolls. Kirbigrips becomes grips (and next page)
  • P109/87. ‘A pound note’ becomes ‘one pound fifty’ to re-sole her shoes
  • P110/88. Five pounds 12 and six for the clock becomes £5.62 ½.
  • ‘Leave a lot of change over’ becomes ‘leave some change over’
  • ‘Five bob’ to 25p / five shillings to 25p / ten shillings to 50p / seven and six to 50p / 12/6 to 62½p
  • P112/90. 7/6 changes to 37½ p / 4/6 for shoes to 87½p.
  • ‘Twelve and six was twelve and six’ to ‘money was money’
  • ‘Every sixpence’ becomes ‘every new penny’
  • P113/91. ‘twelve and six was twelve and six’ to ‘money was money’
  • P114/92. Five shillings to 50p
  • 2s 6d (X 2) to 25p (X 2)
  • P114-5/92 Final four paragraphs (19 lines) describing the jodhpurs/jacket being repaired and Jill trying them on have been deleted.

The Bring and Buy Sale

  • P116-7/93. Two paragraphs (19 lines) missing, describing a ride with Miss Harvey in which she tells Jill she should be ready for gymkhanas, and reference to the need for a new saddle.
  • P117/93. 20 pounds becomes 40 pounds (and subsequent mention)
  • P119/95. Spring becomes spring
  • P121/97. ‘brushed our hairs’ corrected to ‘brushed our hair’
  • P123/99. Sixpence becomes five pence and ‘proceeds’ in second reference.
  • Six and eight pence becomes forty three pence
  • P124/99. ‘and a ticket which said 7s 6d’ is missing from the end of the third paragraph.
  • Three paragraphs deleted detailing two people quarrelling over items at the sale
  • Eggs for 11 pence has been added.
  • P125/100. Buns for sixpence becomes five pence
  • Shaving mug for threepence becomes two pence
  • Total = 1 pound three and eleven pence becomes 1 pound sixty nine
  • The seven-year-old girl given two and six (fifteen pence) buys:
    • Book for twopence (2 ½ p)
    • Dog collar for two shillings (ten pence)
    • Rhubarb for four pence (2½p)
  • The pyrex dish at ninepence became five pence
  • The total of two pounds seven and two becomes two pounds eighty nine
  • P127/102. Half a crown reference changed to ‘whatever it was they spent’

Camp Pegusus

  • P131/105. Seven paragraphs (37 lines) detailing Ann’s bulgy saddlebags and the hiding of the vests under a hedge have been deleted.
  • P133/106. The number of people in the riding group has been corrected from eight to nine.
  • P135/108. Exasperatingly replaced by infuriatingly
  • P139/112. Funnest things corrected (?) to funniest
  • Reference to the girls using their hair ribbons omitted and replaced by the phrase ‘all the bits of string we could lay our hands on’
  • P141/114. Deleted last paragraph (seven lines) detailing the collection of the vests.

A Job for Jill

  • P143/116. Two shillings an hour becomes 15 pence an hour
  • Shorts becomes jeans

La Blonde

(Spelling only)

I Go on a Visit

  • P158/130. Missing an eight-line paragraph where Jill reflects on her upcoming visit to Cecilia’s suggesting she will be ‘at her mercy’; how Aunt Primrose treats Jill like a child and how she doesn’t like her Uncle Henry (her mother’s brother) much.
  • P162/134. Missing four lines from first paragraph describing the frilled chintz dressing table and how her case sent by carrier was there.
  • Navy blue silk dress becomes navy blue dress
  • P163/134. Pas devant l’enfant is in italics in the paperback.
  • P163/136. 15.2 becomes fifteen-two
  • P166/138. Mrs Lowe sending a maid to fetch her becomes Mrs Lowe fetching her.
  • P166-7/138. 30 lines including a four-line verse have been removed describing Jill purchasing flowers and a card to take her mother; a short description of the dental hospital and replaced by a modified abridged version without the verse.
  • P171/141. ‘Blooming nervous’ becomes ‘nervous’
  • P171/142. Olympia is replaced by Wembley.
  • P172/142. Four-and-a-half paragraphs have been removed detailing Jill’s improved relationship with Mary and Pierce, her exams, a letter to her Mother, joy at being home and the observation the chapter is more about moral lessons than horses.

Chatton Show

  • P173/143. ‘Jill and I’ and ‘said Jill’ have been corrected to ‘Ann and I’ and ‘said Ann’ in the fourth paragraph.
  • P175/145. ‘”Gosh”’, I said’ becomes ‘”Look”, I said’
  • P176/146. Missing two paragraphs (20 lines) describing Ann having lunch at Jill’s, what the girls wear, make up and nail varnish, and Mrs Derry arriving with Ann’s sisters to collect Mrs Crewe.

Jill’s Gymkhana

  • P182/152. Missing last line of second paragraph reminding Jill of a poem.
  • Poem of three lines has been removed.
  • P183/152. ‘firsts’ have been capitalised in paperback
  • P189/157. First sentence of fifth paragraph – Jill asking her mother for her powder has been removed.
  • Reference to her face being powdered has been removed from seventh paragraph.

The Illustrations


  • Frontispiece: cap and riding stick
  • Pg 10 Illustration of Black Boy with Jill who is standing on a gate
  • Pg 12 Jill riding off on a bicycle while Black Boy watches.
  • Pg 19 Jill attempting to saddle Black Boy
  • Pg 20 Black Boy with Jill sitting on the grass after failing to mount him
  • Pg 25 Jill watching (supposedly) Susan Pyke jumping a ‘gate’
  • Pg 33 Jill carrying a saddle trying to catch Black Boy
  • Pg 43 A similar illustration to cover, Jill in jodhpurs and cap. Black Boy with rosette
  • Pg 44 Jill grooming Black Boy
  • Pg 48 Jill on Black Boy wearing her new shorts and school cap
  • Pg 52 Seraphine looking over a half door at Jill, Ann and Mrs Derry
  • Pg 57 Jill reading the equitation books Ann has lent her
  • Pg 61 Jill nuzzling Black Boy
  • Pg 68 Jill upon Black Boy stroking his neck, in front of a jump
  • Pg 75 Jill mucking out the stable
  • Pg 87 A riding stick
  • Pg 88/89 Two page Illustration of Jill riding Black Boy along a country lane
  • Pg 92 Black Boy wearing his Christmas rug
  • Pg 104/105 Four of the Lowe horses looking over half doors
  • Pg 120 Jill pinning a ‘bring and buy’ notice to the garden gate
  • Pg 128 A saddle
  • Pg 137 Ann being tossed over Seraphine’s head into the stream
  • Pg 146 Mrs Darcy holding a riding stick
  • Pg 152 La Blonde looking over a half door at Mrs Pyke, Jill and three other girls
  • Pg 166 A dejected Jill facing away holding a riding stick and school hat
  • Pg 184/185 Two pages of Jill and Black Boy and four other couples playing musical chairs
  • Pg 192 Jill leading off Black Boy


  • Pg 12 Farmer Clay, Jill and ‘Patchy’ (Black Boy is a piebald)
  • Pg 25 Jill talking to Martin Lowe at the gymkhana
  • Pg 29 Martin examining Black Boy
  • Pg 38 Martin holding Black Boy while Jill grooms him
  • Pg 46 Jill and Ann on Black Boy and Seraphine
  • Pg 59 Mrs Crewe, Jill and Ann around the fire having tea
  • Pg 64 Jill and Ann jumping low jumps
  • Pg 71 Jill holding the wrapped horse rug as Mrs Crewe, Martin and Ann watch on
  • Pg 80 Cecilia being thrown by Black Boy
  • Pg 100 Ann showing Jill the shaving mug a t the bring and buy sale
  • Pg 111 Bingo pulling Seraphine out of the stream
  • Pg 126 Susan on La Blonde pushing through a triple bar
  • Pg 133 Martin introducing Jill to Mary and Pierce

Changes in the Hampton Library edition

Many thanks to Birte Scheel for the following textual differences in the Hampton Library hardback version:

  • The Hampton printing has an addition to the original text on page 38 (both versions):  to ‘You see, for ages I haven’t been any use at all, since I couldn’t walk, and it was getting me down.’ The Hampton and Armada versions have an extra phrase: ‘getting me down and making me pretty unbearable to live with.’ The Armada version is the same as the original.
  • The Hodder and Stoughton original (page 72) says: ‘Mummy recklessly melted down our whole week’s cheese ration ….”; the Hampton (page 70) has “Mummy recklessly melted down our whole week’s supply of cheese….”  Again, the Armada has the original text.