That’s Albert Magic Pudding, for the uninformed; one of Australia’s minor poets;
‘EAT AWAY, CHEW AWAY, MUNCH AND BOLT AND GUZZLE,
NEVER LEAVE THE TABLE TILL YOU’RE FULL UP TO THE MUZZLE.’
by A. Pudding
What a genius and a national treasure Norman Lindsay was…and is. He lives on through his work, and for generations of Australian children this centres on the characters he created in his book The Magic Pudding. ‘Children would rather read about about food and fighting than fairies,’ he famously told his friend Bertram Stevens. And it seems they do.
Naturally the cover was designed by Norman;
Here is an extract from an editorial in the Evening News in December 1921, when Albert Pudding was only three years old. He had already crept into the hearts of the reading public;
One of my favourite books nowadays is Norman Lindsy’s ‘Magic Pudding’. Yes, I know it was written and illustrated for children; but the ‘grown-up’ who cannot enjoy a slice or two of the magic pudding has developed a hobnail liver or whatever it is that grown-ups get. I have been told that Lindsay regretted ever having written and published the ‘Magic Pudding’. That he was ashamed of it. Bah! This book will be pored over and laughed at long after some of Lindsay’s more pretentious work has ‘gone west’ in the minds of men.
Well of course since then Albert and his owners have been celebrated in countless ways, including appearing on a stamp. Hmm a mere 33 cents…..must have been a while back! Would only send a letter 500 metres these days.
In 2018 I went along to the Library of NSW’s free exhibition to celebrate the Magic Pudding’s 100th birthday. Grumpy old Albert reluctantly welcomed and directed visitors upstairs from the Macquarie Street foyer.
Thanks Albert. 😎
What a delight it was to see Norman’s original drawings for the book;
As with all good children’s books there were many misadventures for Albert and his owners, but everything was sorted out in the end. The would-be puddin’ thieves received their come-uppence….or in pudding speak, their ‘just desserts’. 😀 The final drawing is a perfect representation of Australian domestic contentment. I think this may be my favourite ever illustration in a children’s book.
TAKING HOME SOME PUDDING
I stopped at the library’s gift shop for some delightful mementoes;
LONG LIVE CRABBY OLD ALBERT!
In 2000 a film featuring John Cleese was made about Albert and Co.