The Magic Pudding Hardcover – Jun 30 2004
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"I think it’s the funniest children’s book ever written. One of the great strengths of the book is its illustration, by Lindsay himself. He was best known as a visual artist, producing thousands of paintings, etchings, drawings, and sculptures, but his pictures for The Magic Pudding are his best work, in my view. They are so vigorous and absurd, so strongly characterized and brilliantly detailed, that my eye delights in them still.”— Philip Pullman on his favorite children’s book, Publishers Weekly, December 2015
“The Magic Pudding . .. is one of my all-time favourite children’s books – an unmissable read for anyone who has not already encountered it … The New York Review’s Children’s collection is full of such choice reprints that I would gladly have every one of their publications on my shelves.” —Kate Kellaway, The Guardian (UK)
"A robust fantasy, The Magic Pudding was first published in 1918 but shows few signs of its age. It’s part of a handsome, new collection of reprints, published by The New York Review of Books, aimed at rescuing neglected children’s classics from 'the dustbins of history'. There’s no dust on Lindsay’s quirky tale about the adventures of Bunyip Bluegum, an irrepressible, polite young koala. He meets various eccentric characters who bust into song and rhyme. In the introduction to the new edition, Philip Pullman, author of The Amber Spyglass, calls Lindsay’s work 'the funniest children’s book ever written…You can feel Lindsay carried away on the wings of his own energy'.”
— USA Today, “Holiday Books”
“Philip Pullman’s favourite book … satirical, wise and brilliantly illustrated by Lindsay” —The Sunday Times (UK)
"The illustrations are great fun, the characters burst into comic verse at the drop of a hat, and it’s hard to resist."
— The Horn Book
"The book is full of songs that pitch along like boats on a rough sea. The tremendous black and white drawings are full of ne’er do well character…It is an outrage that it is not on every English family’s menu."
— The Observer
About the Author
Norman Lindsay (1879-1969) was born in Victoria, Australia, the fifth of ten children, several of whom grew up to be artists. At age seventeen, he left home and traveled to Melbourne, where he found work as an illustrator. Famously prolific in many mediums, Lindsay produced countless oil paintings, drawings, etchings, and watercolors, as well as eleven novels. He was famous, too, for the countless controversies he happily provoked throughout his long life. As his granddaughter later explained: “He fought the wowsers, he fought the hypocrites, the people that were going to stop and stifle creative freedom, freedom of speech, freedom of thought.”
Norman Lindsay’s home is now a museum of his works run by Australia’s National Trust. After entertaining generations of young Australians, The Magic Pudding is recognized as a classic of children’s literature, and in 2000 a sculpture of Bunyip Bluegum and friends (including the Puddin’ itself) was unveiled as the centerpiece of the children’s garden at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne.
Philip Pullman is the author of the trilogy His Dark Materials, the third book of which, The Amber Spyglass, was the first children’s book to win the Whitbread Book of the Year Award in the UK. He spent part of his childhood in Australia, where he first encountered The Magic Pudding. He now lives and works in Oxford, England.
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Bill and Sam are possessed of a magic pudding (named Albert, if you can believe this), who regenerates every time you take a bite of him and changes into whatever flavor you like. Albert the pudding is much coveted by two evil villains who are constantly tricking our Heroes into giving up the Pudding, whereupon they must go and re-re-re-rescue it.
The characters and style are very reminiscent of "Alice in Wonderland," with Bunyip seeming a little White-rabbitish to me, and Bill and Sam sort of Mad Hatter and Dormouse-y. The effect is somewhere in between "Alice" and an old Loony Tunes in which Bugs Bunny constantly bewilders Elmer Fudd.
The whole narrative is punctuated with many whimsical song lyrics, like the poetry in Carroll's book. The lyrics make it a great read-aloud for the younger set, although older kids might be a bit puzzled by its style. However, everyone will be charmed by the Pudding himself and want one of their very own.
It's over 80 years since this classic children's book first appeared.
With the recent release of an animated movie version, a new edition of the book will hopefully soon be in Amazon's catalog.
It's one of those books that should be read aloud. You will have to be in good voice since many of the characters often burst into song. Can a Broadway musical be far away?
The illustrations are also by the book's author Norman Lindsay, one of Australia's greatest artists of the early 20th century. Each page is graced with his masterful charcoal drawings humorously depicting the action. The pictures perfectly depict the quirky and amusing antics of the "Magic Pudding" characters.
Some young readers may find the language a little difficult. It's a combination of high Edwardian with sometimes archaic (but very colorful) slang. However it's the hilarious imagery, both written and pictorial, which will captivate children's attention.
Some of the language is almost Shakespearian but it's worth persisting. Take for example Bunyip Bluegum's burst of oratory..... " Base, indeed, must be the scoundrels, who, lost to all sense of decency and honour, boldly assume the outward semblance of worthy citizens".
Lindsay's writing includes some beautiful political social satire with observations like ... "you only have to wear a top hat to be a respected pillar of society".
No doubt the animated movie version of "The Magic Pudding" will introduce a new generation to this classic story. Hopefully many of the children (and their parents) will be encouraged to read and enjoy Norman Lindsay's original.
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