Story Time Stars

Stephanie Owen Reeder

Story Time Stars
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Story Time Stars

Stephanie Owen Reeder

What makes a children’s book character memorable? Is it their personality, the story they tell or the way they’re depicted by the  illustrator? Is it that they make us laugh or cry? Or is it that we can identify with them? Often, even as adults, we can remember what our favourite  children’s book characters said or conjure an image of them in our mind’s eye.   

From Snugglepot and Cuddlepie to the green sheep and Pig the Pug, Australian children’s book characters have always delighted the young and  young-at-heart. Get together with old friends and meet new ones in this lighthearted retrospective of much-loved characters from over a century of Australian illustrated books for children.           

Many will be delighted to reencounter Albert, the cranky cut-and-come-again  magic pudding, who has fought the puddin' thieves in multiple editions, as well  as across the stage in musical theatre, puppet shows, animated films and opera.  Others will be thrilled to see lovable grass tree Grug, who was once described  by The New York Times as the `Elmo of  Down Under', and who has bustled through over 30 picture books since he first  appeared in Grug in 1979.     

With such classic characters included alongside newer stars, parents and  grandparents can not only share their favourites, but can also get to know the newer characters who enchant their children and grandchildren. Today’s little ones  love to go searching for Mem Fox and Judy Horacek’s green sheep, who won the  CBCA Early Childhood Book of the Year Award in 2005. They grump along with Nick  Bland’s bear, who has been cranky, itchy, hungry and noisy, to name but a few  of his dispositions. And they giggle at greedy Pig, the pug, who is awfully mean to his flatmate Trevor, but who always gets his comeuppance in the end.   

All these characters and more showcase the breadth of Australian  children’s books over the last century and give readers of all ages the chance  to get to know their favourite characters a little better.

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