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The Magic Pudding Illustrations

Video clip synopsis – Norman Lindsay’s The Magic Pudding is one of our best-loved children’s books and the central character, one of our great Australian anti-heroes.
Year of production - 2004
Duration - 4min 9sec
Tags - animation, artists, audiences, children, creativity, heroes and villains, icons, larrikins, media, media text, see all tags


The Magic Pudding Illustrations

How to Download the Video Clip

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download clip icon Premium MP4 themagic_pr.mp4 (30.6MB).

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About the Video Clip


The Magic Pudding is an episode of the series National Treasures produced in 2004.

The Magic Pudding
How did bohemian artist Norman Lindsay, famous for painting provocative nudes, end up producing one of Australia’s best-loved children’s books? Cartoonist James Kemsley reveals the legend behind the creation of the first great Australian anti-hero – Albert the never-ending pudding – as Warren Brown takes a look at Lindsay’s original illustrations at the State Library of New South Wales.

National Treasures
Take a road-trip of discovery with the irrepressible Warren Brown – political cartoonist, columnist and history “tragic” – as he reveals a fascinating mix of national treasures drawn from public and private collections across Australia. On its own, each treasure is a priceless snapshot of an historic moment. Together, they illustrate the vitality and uniqueness of the Australian experience.

National Treasures is a Film Australia National Interest Program. Produced with the assistance of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Curriculum Focus


Outcomes from this module
Students will:

  • learn the importance and relevance of the Magic Pudding to Australian children’s literature
  • compare the style of the Magic Pudding illustrations to to those in contemporary children’s books
  • research the contribution of the artist Norman’s Lindsay to popular culture
  • compare the book text with the animated text
  • create a storyboard for a short animation based on another popular children’s book

Curriculum links
National: The Statements of Learning for English- Year 9
Reading, viewing and interpreting information and argument texts

  • Students read and view texts that entertain, move, parody, investigate,
    analyse, argue and persuade. These texts explore personal, social, cultural
    and political issues of significance to the students’ own lives.
  • Students understand that readers and viewers may need to develop knowledge
    about particular events, issues and contexts to interpret texts.


  • When students write information or argument texts, they make appropriate selections of information from a few sources and attempt to synthesise and organise these in a logical way.
  • Students write imaginative texts in print and electronic mediums that contain personal, social and cultural ideas and issues related to their own lives and communities and their views of their expanding world.

State and Territory

ACT High School, Later Adoelscence: Mass media texts

  • The student interprets and constructs multimodal texts.
  • The student creates products using technology.

NT Band 5+
Strand: Reading and Viewing R/V 5+.1
Texts and Contexts

  • Students critically analyse and explain the socio-cultural values, attitudes and assumptions that texts reflect and project.

QLD Level 6
Cultural: making meanings in contexts
Critical: evaluating and reconstructing meanings in texts.

  • Students recognise that texts have points of view, even when these are not explicitly stated, and
    with teacher assistance identify and comment on them.
  • Students use some understanding and appreciation of the deliberately constructed nature of texts
    to interpret other texts within the same text type and across text types.
  • Students write detailed, unified expository and imaginative texts that explore challenging and
    complex ideas and issues

Strand: Texts and Contexts
Reads and views a range of texts containing challenging ideas and issues and multiple views of the- past, present and future and examines some relationships between texts, contexts, readers and producers of texts.
Identifies and critically appraises combinations of features in texts when reading and viewing a broad range of texts dealing with abstract themes and sociocultural values.
Manipulates and synthesises a wide variety of strategies for reading, viewing, critically interpreting and reflecting on texts with multiple levels of meaning.

Being Literate
Listening, reading and viewing

  • Students read, listen to, view and critically analyse complex texts.
  • Students analyse the ways texts are constructed to position readers, viewers and listeners.
  • Students discuss the role of context in the construction and interpretation of texts, analysing how texts are interpreted differently by individuals and groups. They discuss the social, cultural and aesthetic purposes for which texts have been constructed.

Level 7 Reading

  • Students select appropriate strategies to critically analyse and interpret a ange of complex texts, justifying their interpretations with substantial evidence; critically analysing how text structure and conventions can influence a reader’s response.

Level 7 Writing

  • Students write sustained, complex texts, controlling conventions to engage with readers in different contexts; critically appraises and reviews their own writing and the writing of others, reflecting on the processes and strategies for improving their writing.

This resource is also relevant to Media Studies- Audiences, Representation, Media Conventions, Animations and Media Production.

These are extracts only. Teachers and students should consult their state’s curriculum and learning programs.
Go to The National Curriculum Statements for English

Background Information


The Magic Pudding is a children’s book by Norman Lindsay, published in 1918.

It is the adventures of the koala Bunyip Bluegum in search of his missing parents. One of his companions is a magic pudding, which magically renews itself whenever part of it is eaten. A gang of pudding thieves stalk the magic pudding, who is protected by his companions.

When Bunyip Bluegum finds he can no longer live with his uncle’s annoying whiskers, he sets out to find his own place in the world. Rather quickly he meets Sam Sawnoff (a penguin) and Bill Barnacle (a man with a long white beard) and their pudding, Albert. Albert can taste like steak and kidney pie, or plum duff, or any number of things. Albert is rather cranky and his goal in life seems to be to get people to eat as much of him as possible.

The pudding owners are in constant conflict with a couple of pudding thieves, who frequently succeed in stealing Albert for short bursts of time, until they are set upon and beaten up by the Society of Pudding Owners.

The story is a variation on the ‘three wishes’ theme common in fairy stories.

Classroom Activities

  1. Understanding the video clip
    1. What is The Magic Pudding?
    2. Why was it created?
    3. Why has it been a popular book?
    4. How do the illustrations show the skill of the artist Norman Lindsay?
    5. What is meant by an ‘antihero’?
    6. Who is an example of an antihero today?
    7. Why does the character of the Pudding appeal to many people?
  2. Exploring issues raised in the video clip
    The Magic Pudding was published in 1918; it was created as an animated film in 2000.
    1. Allocate a chapter of the book to a small group. The task is to report on it by referring to the story, characters, language, attitudes and values, etc.
    2. Now watch the animated film and compare these features. Also discuss the filmic elements: voices, animation, music, language and style.
    3. What are the main strengths and weaknesses of the two different media?
    4. Write a comparison OR a review.

3. Create a storyboard for an animation based on a currently popular Australian children’s book.

Further Resources


For more National Treasures information and video clips go to the Investigating National Treasures website

To view the Magic Pudding illustrations in details go to The NSW Government National Heritage Collection

To obtain the 2000 Magic Pudding animated film go to The ABC Shop

For information about Australian children’s books go to The Children’s Book Council

To learn how to create a storyboard go to The Australian Children’s Television Foundation Animation Teaching Kit