The Magic of Language in The Magic Pudding

The Magic Pudding by Norman Lindsay is the Australian Children’s classic that continues to hit all the right places. First published in 1918, it’s remarkably still in print. 

check out these LIVELY phrases!

"Humour's humour," shouted Bill, "but puddin' in the whiskers is no joke."

Of course there was a great deal of smoke and shouting, and getting tripped up by the hose, and it was by the merest chance Bunyip Bluegum glanced back in time to see the Wombat in the act of stealing the puddin' from the hollow log."


 First, the story’s pace and tension is tightly woven in a pattern of pudding owners defend pudding from pudding snatchers. This keeps the pages turning. You want to know how Bill and co will get their puddin’ back and what dastardly trick will be used next to steal the pudding.

Further, the author has a way with words and likes to play with the musicality of rhythm and rhyme not only in poetry and song, but also within the prose. As you’ll see in the examples there is a definite sense of pace and rhythm within the structural composition of each sentence. The long sentences chug along at a lively, rapid pace even when they’re packed full of details. The dialogue, at times, is direct and loaded with humour. And then, every now and then there’s a short phrase or word that ignites your imagination – “they were all asleep in a pig’s whisper.” 

Lindsay’s skilled use of language, phrasing and humour is as rich as it is inviting and his lyric poems and songs overflow with fun and keep you humming long after you’ve finished each slice (part). The whole book is as delicious as a pudding and reading it embodies the joy of eating one. The shear imagination and creative ability of the author to bring to life an ill-mannered pudding named Albert who satiates the hunger of his owners, albeit grumpily, is pure magic.


Looking at and analysing an admired author’s use of phrasing helps writers to understand and practise how to write tight and focused narratives. By listening to and feeling the cadence within a sentence – it’s beats and stresses, rises and falls – writers begin to learn how to use their own writing voice. 

Writers begin to see how their own language and phraseology, their vocabulary and rhythms affect each sentence they write, which in turn affects each paragraph, each chapter and then, of course, their story as a whole. 

Another great thing is that when writers begin to recognise the beauty in other, more practised authors, they begin to discover the beauty in their own writing voice. 

So. May your path be full of embracing the gift of language that informs and inspires you to Write On. 

Kyla-Jayne Rajah

Kyla-Jayne Rajah

Author, Poet and lover of words. Kyla-Jayne enjoys editing, writing and publishing books for her gorgeous clients. In her spare time she talks to the cat, walks the coastline, and pursues her own writing goals.


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