Well don’t count on it.
The awful truth…
I’ve just had a tiny faith ripped away, a belief so set-in-concrete I took it for granted, something that needed no champion because it was so blindingly obvious.
Or at least, I thought it was.
This thing was my belief in the global love of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie.
I have always assumed that everyone must know of May Gibbs‘ Snugglepot and Cuddlepie. Such a fabulous wondrous storybook must surely have sailed through the hurdles of culture and language to be loved all over the world.
This was certainly the case for us. My sisters and I grew up on a green New Zealand farm, far from the sunburnt country of my Australian mother’s childhood.
But never too far: Mum always read to us of naughty koalas, bad-tempered puddings and, of course, brave and hilarious and exciting and utterly delightful gumnut babies.
Snugglepot and Cuddle-who?
But…at a writers’ event in the UK, I realised (right in the middle of my talk) that when I spoke of big bad Banksia Men and Little Ragged Blossom, no one had the foggiest idea what I was talking about.
And the attendees weren’t just ordinary people; they were librarians! And still they had never heard of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie!?!
I was dumbstruck, dumbfounded, open-mouthed, gob-smacked.
What’s going on!?!?!
As kids, alongside our Australian and New Zealand adventures we’d also read of Paddington Bear and Peter Rabbit and Ratty and Mole and Winnie the Pooh; surely British kids must have been reading of the Muddle-headed Wombat and Mrs Snake and Mr Lizard and Bunyip Bluegum and the Noble Society of Puddin’ Owners?
And so the question:
What’s with this one-way flow of stories, UK people? I thought we were part of the glorious Commonwealth, and that having the Queen on the back of my pocket money meant she was looking our way, at least occasionally. (What’s it like in the US? Anyone there heard of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie?)
When our kids grow up and get backpacks and working holiday visas, they’ll be cruising the world and experiencing new places and meeting new people. Why make them wait till then?