Snugglepot and Cuddlepie

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Snugglepot and Cuddlepie
First edition
AuthorMay Gibbs
GenreChildren's literature
PublisherAngus & Robertson
Publication date
Media typeIllustrated

Snugglepot and Cuddlepie is a series of books written by Australian author May Gibbs. The books chronicle the adventures of the eponymous Snugglepot and Cuddlepie. The central story arc concerns Snugglepot and Cuddlepie (who are essentially homunculi) and their adventures along with troubles with the villains of the story, the "Banksia Men". The first book of the series, Tales of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie: their wonderful adventures was published in 1918.


Gumnut babies postcard

Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, the gumnut babies, are the protagonists of the story and are modelled on the appearance of young Eucalyptus (gum tree) nuts. The female gumnut babies, however, have their hair, hats and skirts modelled on Eucalyptus flowers.

May Gibbs based some of the characters and scenery on the plants found in the bushland of Harvey, Western Australia, where she played as a child.[1]

A Banksia man, from May Gibbs' Snugglepot and Cuddlepie

The "big bad" Banksia Men are the villains of the story and are modelled on the appearance of aged Banksia "cones", with follicles for eyes and other facial features.

We came to a grove of Banksia trees and sitting on almost every branch were these ugly little, wicked little men that I discovered and that's how the Banksia Men were thought of.[2]


May Gibbs wrote a number of titles based on her creations. The first publication was in 1918, Tales of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie: their adventures wonderful, and the set of works was first collected in 1940[3] as, The Complete Adventures of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, with the cover declaring Including Little Ragged Blossom and Little Obelia.[4][5][6][7]

Others are
Snugglepot and Cuddlepie find Ragged Blossom.
Little Ragged Blossom and more about Snugglepot and Cuddlepie.
Little Obelia and further adventures of ragged Blossom, Snugglepot and Cuddlepie.
Snugglepot and Cuddlepie on Board the Snag/the Original Characters Created By May Gibbs; Redrawn By Noela Young; Adapted By David Harris. (1975)
Snugglepot and Cuddlepie meet Mr Lizard (1970).

Productions and creative works[edit]

Richard Mills composed a ballet of the same name in 1987, which was produced for television.[4][8]

Peter Combe adapted Snugglepot and Cuddlepie into a musical, which was first performed in 1992 at the Adelaide Festival of Arts. It was recorded the following year at the Adelaide Festival Centre with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. Ruth Cracknell was a special guest, playing the part of May Gibbs.[9]

The Adventures of Snugglepot & Cuddlepie and Little Ragged Blossom is a musical adapted by John Clarke and Doug MacLeod, with a book by Clarke and music and lyrics by Alan John. It premiered at the Theatre Royal on 9 January 2007. Adult actors played the parts of the gumnut babies – Darren Gilshenan (Cuddlepie), Tim Richards (Snugglepot) and Ursula Yovich (Ragged Blossom).[10] The story centres on the two characters of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, who befriend a Blossom and search the unknown land of Australia. Unlike Combe's musical, the 2007 version is a political satire.[11]

The spoken word recording Australian classic children's collection includes the story as one of four works of children's literature.[4][12]

Tibby's Leaf by Ursula Dubosarsky, the story of child who sees gumnut babies in the bush at the outbreak of World War One, was inspired by Gibbs' World War One gumnut baby postcards which are held in the collection of the National Museum of Australia.[13]


In 1985 a postage stamp honouring the protagonists or their creator was issued by Australia Post as part of a set of five commemorating children's books.

Northcott and Cerebral Palsy Alliance[edit]

On 27 November 1969 May Gibbs died. On passing she bequeathed royalties of her Snugglepot and Cuddlepie creations jointly to the Northcott Society and Cerebral Palsy Alliance (formerly known as The Spastic Centre). Since then both charitable organisations have been able to use these royalties to further their respective programmes helping children and adults with disabilities.


  1. ^ Seddon, George (1997). "Cuddlepie and other surrogates". Landprints: reflections on place and landscape. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 113–118, 123. ISBN 978-0-521-65999-4.
  2. ^ Chapman, Jean. "Cecilia May Gibbs (1877–1969)". Nutcote – Home of May Gibbs. The Nutcote Trust. Archived from the original on 30 June 2006. Retrieved 19 July 2007. All quotes are from a taped interview with May Gibbs produced by Hazel de Berg for the National Library of Australia, Canberra
  3. ^ Snugglepot and Cuddlepie. OCLC 807978048.
  4. ^ a b c "Snugglepot And Cuddlepie". Keyword. LISWA catalogue. Catalogue results by keyword: "Snugglepot and Cuddlepie"
  5. ^ [First published: 1918. sic] - Cover Contents; Snugglepot and Cuddlepie -- Little Ragged Blossom and more about Snugglepot & Cuddlepie -- Little Obelia and further adventures of Ragged Blossom, Snugglepot & Cuddlepie
  6. ^ Gibbs, May, 1877-1969. Sydney : Angus & Robertson, [1918] (Sydney: W.C. Penfold) 87 p., [1] leaf of plates : ill. (1 col.); 25 cm. [Date from Muir.] Ill. on lining papers.
  7. ^ "Snugglepot and Cuddlepie". Discover collections: May Gibbs. State Library New South Wales. Archived from the original on 25 November 2012. Retrieved 17 January 2013.
  8. ^ The adventures of Snugglepot, Cuddlepie and Ragged Blossom [videorecording] / designed and directed for television by George Cass; choreography, Petal Miller Ashmole; music, Richard Mills; produced by Film Australia with the assistance of the Australian Ballet Foundation and the Victorian Arts Centre Trust.
  9. ^ "Snugglepot & Cuddlepie – The Musical". Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 25 June 2007.
  10. ^ "The Adventures of Snugglepot & Cuddlepie and Little Ragged Blossom". The Sydney Morning Herald. 15 January 2007. Archived from the original on 27 January 2007. Retrieved 10 May 2008.
  11. ^ "The Adventures of Snugglepot & Cuddlepie and Little Ragged Blossom - Perth International Arts Festival 2007". Archived from the original on 13 July 2007. Retrieved 25 June 2007.
  12. ^ Mike Hayes; et al. (c. 2000). Snugglepot and Cuddlepie / by May Gibbs. Four classic Australian children's stories. [Artarmon, N.S.W.]: ABC Audio. ISBN 0-642-55689-X. (set); (Blinky Bill); (Snugglepot and Cuddlepie); (Magic pudding); (Muddle-headed wombat). Note: Title from slip case.
  13. ^ "National Museum of Australia - Tibby's Leaf, by Ursula Dubosarsky". Archived from the original on 27 November 2012. Retrieved 3 July 2012. retrieved 3 July 2012