When I was home in Australia last October mum produced a box filled with the books I read and loved as a little kid. They all fit in my luggage too (returning to the Philippines) and Jerry loves most especially The Magic Pudding.
What a delight to share this funny story with Jerry reading from the same old book (still bearing the inscription from my Grandfather) given it to me as a Christmas present in December 1970.
I just love the character of Bunyip and his very proper talk, the way he uses a ridiculous amount of words and commas to say not very much. Hilarious! And I laugh and laugh every time I read the passage where Bunyip goes to a poet for advice and receives the very silly reply in verse.
For anyone not familiar with The Magic Pudding here’s a quick run-through. An Australian classic of children’s literature (originally published in 1918) the tale is about a magic pudding and his three owners (a man, a penguin and a well-mannered koala). The pudding has magical qualities, for no matter how many slices his famished owners eat, the pudding basin never empties. And when the eating is done Albert (the pudding) comes alive and wears the basin on his head like a hat. Albert is also very naughty.
The story surrounds a battle of wits between the three pudding owners and two cunning pudding snatchers (a wiley possum and wombat). In between puddin’ snatching and retrieval we learn all about how Bill, Sam and Bunyip came to be acquainted, plus how the pudding was originally invented. Any time the pudding owners are feeling a bit stressed or happy or anything really Bill will launch into his favourite song The Salt Junk Sarah (a sea shanty ballad with infinite verses). It really adds to the fun.
The book is full of nonsense, rhymes and wonderful wonderful illustrations. The author Norman Lindsay was a such a talented artist and cartoonist. Truly he weaves magical characters with their odd quirks, through brilliant satire and the wonderful drawings.
“They got, in fact, a good deal more information than they asked for, for the Rooster was one of those fine upstanding, bumptious skites who love to talk all day, in the heartiest manner, to total strangers while their wives do the washing.”
I won’t spoil the story for you, grab a copy and read it for yourself. And make sure the text is complete with all the pictures. I’m sure Jerry and I will be reading this again and again.
© 2018 Melinda J. Irvine