The Magic Pudding
written and illustrated by Norman Lindsay, introduction by Philip Pullman
The Magic Pudding is a pie, except when it’s something else, like a steak, or a jam donut, or an apple dumpling, or whatever its owner wants it to be. And it never runs out. No matter how many slices you cut, there’s always something left over. It’s magic.
But the Magic Pudding is also alive. It walks and it talks and it’s got a personality like no other. A meaner, sulkier, snider, snarlinger Pudding you’ve never met.
So Bunyip Bluegum (the koala bear) finds out when he joins Barnacle Bill (the sailor) and Sam Sawnoff (the penguin bold) as members of the Noble Society of Pudding Owners, whose “members are required to wander along the roads, indulgin’ in conversation, song and story, and eatin’ at regular intervals from the Pudding.” Wild and woolly, funny and outrageously fun, The Magic Pudding stands somewhere betweenAlice in Wonderland and The Stinky Cheese Man as one of the craziest books ever written for young readers.
This is the funniest children's book ever written. I've been laughing at it for fifty years, and when I read it again this morning, I laughed as much as I ever did.
— Philip Pullman, from the introduction
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"
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