Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Snugglepot and Cuddlepie by May Gibbs

Rating: 7/10

Published: 1918
Number of pages: 220

Started: 26 January 2008
Finished: 27 January 2008

Summary (taken from blurb):

May Gibbs' enchanting bush world, peopled with gumnut heroes and heroines, solid friends like Mr Lizard and Mrs Bear, and, of course, the villainous Banksia men, has played as important a part in the imaginative background of Australian children as The Wind in the Willows or Alice in Wonderland...It includes most of the original illustrations, which contribute as much as the stories to the charm, humour and character of May Gibbs' classic.

Along with Norman Lindsay's The Magic Pudding, Snugglepot and Cuddlepie is one of the greatest children's novels in Australian literature. My hardback copy consists of the complete adventures of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, Little Ragged Blossom, and Little Obelia, and comes complete with the original gorgeous black and white illustrations.

I loved this book as a kid and this has been the first time in many years that I've read it (I rashly decided to give away most of my childhood books years ago, but this was one of the few I kept). As a discerning adult, I can now spot obvious flaws that I never noticed before. There are gaping plot holes and unbelievable coincidences that are never satisfactorily explained, but ultimately it's a charming and fast-paced story of the adventures of the engaging Snugglepot and Cuddlepie and all of their friends.

The illustrations are plentiful and gorgeous (examples can be seen here). May Gibbs has created a beautiful world full of bush creatures inspired by Australia's flora and fauna, and she displays her passion for them by sprinkling subtle messages throughout the book about being kind to all plants and animals. Well worth a look, if only for the beautiful illustrations.

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