Walls That Talk
The Magic Pudding is Norman's Lindsay's best known children's book. He wrote it in 1917, partly to settle an argument with his friend Bertram Stevens of The Bulletin and Art in Australia, who maintained that children liked to read about fairies, whereas Lindsay said they liked to read about food.
At a time when children's books were usually filled with fairy tales and whimsy, Lindsay's tale of a quarrelsome, endlessly renewable pudding marked a complete change of pace. Lindsay complemented his playful use of Australian slang with over 100 distinctive Magic Pudding drawings.
Norman Lindsay's timeless classic follows the adventures of koala Bunyip Bluegum, sailor Bill Barnacle and penguin Sam Sawnoff - owners of the much-desired Magic Pudding 'Albert' - as they try to outwit Possum and Wombat, the professional, and extraordinarily persistent, pudding thieves.
First published in 1918, it is still in print and has been translated into Japanese, German, French and Spanish as well as having been published in Britain and the United States. It is regarded as a classic of children's literature.
Lindsay wrote only one other children's book, Flyaway Highway, published in 1936.
The success of The Magic Pudding did not end with Lindsay's book. In 1959 Lindsay produced a set of 40 watercolours in response to Peter Scriven's proposal for a marionette puppet show. These drawings were acquired and originally displayed by the State Library of NSW in 2008.
This display includes reproductions of watercolours produced in 1959 for the Magic Pudding puppet show. All images in the Walls That Talk exhibition are reproduced with the permission of the State Library of NSW.