23 Jul 2009

May Gibbs on Drought

Snugglepot and Cuddlepie peered down at Scottie.

The burden of the drought lay heavily on the Creatures in Gumnut Town. There were stern water restrictions. Notices pasted on walls in the town said: "Creatures, save the water." "Creatures, take care of the drips, the gallons will take care of themselves." "Creatures, bathe one half one day, and one-half the next." "Creatures, wear your clothes first one side and then the other." "Creatures, use dry shampoo."

Each day over the air a loud Voice warned all creatures to "Beware! Terrible punishment will fall upon all those who waste water or break the rules of the Water Board."

"Inspectors are watching," said the Voice. "Beware!"

Ah, that's what we're doing wrong. We've been washing both sides at once!!

This gorgeous description of drought was written by May Gibbs in Scottie in Gumnut Land back in 1941. This isn't the first drought in Oz; it won't be the last...

We're reading this book as our AO2 read aloud. It is like a wacky Snugglepot and Cuddlepie: Talking birds - "She's left eyed," said Mrs Dove; quaint Tiggy Touchwood who was turned into a pig by a wicked magician; a good smattering of gumnut babies and big bad banksiamen; and a Scotch terrier aptly named Scotty, combine to make a totally weird, entirely Australian tale that every child from 7-77 will love.

It is really rather strange, but entirely good fun!


  1. Hi Jeanne! I just had to share my exciting news with you: we went to our annual lifeline bookfair today and I found some treasures - thanks to your blog, I noted down some books to look for and found "Dot and the Kangaroo" and "The way of the whirlwind"! I also got some copies of T"he country diary of an Edwardian Lady" and some others too!
    I guess I'll have to add "Scottie in gumnutland" to my list now:)
    BTW, what a shame that we can't send some rain down your way:(
    Its been really sad visiting Vic and seeing the brown countryside for the past few years:(

  2. Hey Joyfulmum, I am so delighted for you!! Getting Whirl was an especial coup - it is often incredibly expensive. I wouldn't bother to look for Scottie especially - any May Gibbs is good, and there are lots around. We are enjoying that fact that Scottie is a little wacky, but we like most of her books!!

    I'm glad to be of help!! Yay!

  3. Oh, I am guilty of wasting water. I wash both sides at once too. I haven't been turning the clothes inside out to wear a second time either. Tisk, tisk.


    I was looking at some May Gibbs stuff the other day wondering whether to buy or not. :)


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