Reading at an impressionable age

Cover is from the 2010 Harper Collins Publishers (Australia) version.

When I was a child we had an illustrated copy of Noman Lindsay’s The Magic Pudding, which is a story about a koala, Bunyip Bluegum, who while on on his travels meets up with Bill Barnacle (a sailor) and Sam Sawnoff (a penguin). Bill and Sam have a pudding with them. Albert. But Albert’s not just any pudding. No, he’s a magic pudding.

The pudding gets stolen a number of times, and our friends continue to rescue it. The book was written back in 1918, and I’m not sure how well it stands up to modern days, but as a kid I loved it.

I especially loved Albert, the grumpy pudding, and I loved the way he could change the type of pudding he was. All you had to do was whistle twice and turn the pudding around.

Different stories have an impact on readers at different ages. I don’t know how old I was when I realised that Bluegum and his friends were eating Albert. I mean, I knew they were, but one day I had an epiphany. Cannibalism. Albert’s friends were eating him!

I haven’t touched the book since.

Get a reader at the right age and a book can really make an impression.

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