I read my new Leunig book – Short Notes from the Long History of Happiness – last night while snuggled in bed and thought It was the perfect time to wax lyrical about how fab he is and maybe introduce some people to his wonderful poems/cartoons 🙂
I have loved Michael Leunig’s work since I could understand it, which for the more simple cartoons was probably about 12 and a few years older than that for his more political ones. Growing up in the late ’80s – ’90s it seemed that a home was not complete unless there was a Leunig on the fridge – every adult I knew seemed to have a cartoon clipped from the paper holding pride of place beneath a magnet beside the take-away menus and kids drawings. I didn’t really know what they were as a kid, but I liked the funny little men and women with big noses, the whimsical doodles of birds and flowers and Leunig’s trademark crescent moon.
I followed my nose to the library or to books or clippings owned by adults and I loved everything I read even ‘tho a lot of it was over my head. Finally, I asked for one of Leunig’s books for Christmas, when I was around 15, and Santa (or Mum, Nana or my Auntie Di) delivered. The book was The Stick and Other Tales of our Times and it provided constant entertainment for me and my friends at the next school camp. I loved some of the cartoons so much that I photocopied them to give to people and wrote short rhymes in friends Christmas cards the next year.
The next year for Christmas I got Strange Creature, a darker more politically driven book which I also read it over and over and since I was a angst-ridden teenager that hated politicians and the government and the book was very current It fit my mood (swings) perfectly 🙂
Since then friends and family have gotten me two other Leunig books for presents – When I Talk to You: a Cartoonist Talks to God, which is a book of short “prayers”; and The Bedtime Leunig, which is a cracker of a book containing some of Leunig’s best purely visual cartoons. I also own a DVD of the animated shorts based on 50 of his best cartoons – Leunig Animated.
Leunig is one of Australia’s best storytellers (in my opinion) and it doesn’t matter that he tells his stories through funny little cartoons and rhymes.
If you haven’t read anything by Michael Leunig before and you like any of the following – politics, tea, ducks, goats, gardens, love, sex, fear, whimsy, humor, joy, prayers, wit, the world – then find one of his books now. If you have discovered his wonderfullness before then why not rediscover him?
🙂 Spread the Leunig love.