Published by Harper Collins

I had a copy of Bottersnikes and Gumbles bottersnikeswhen I was a child that I enjoyed reading. Over the years I have remembered it, at irregular intervals, but no one else seemed to remember it at all. It was almost as though I had dreamt the book.

The only detail I  could recall, apart from the fact that I had really enjoyed it, was that the Bottersnikes were not unlike very large, bad tempered blackberries, with enormous ears that got very red and hot when they were angry.  The Gumbles were a rather naïve and benign group of creatures, not unlike large marshmallows who were more intelligent, but would come into conflict with the Bottersnikes who weren’t very friendly. The Gumbles could be squashed into different shapes or flattened, without any harm coming to them, which was a good thing, because whenever the Bottersnikes got hold of them that is what they would do.

You will understand why I should think I had dreamt reading such a book. I once looked the title up on the Internet and found copies being sold for rather more than I wanted to spend. So I left it – still with that vague feeling that it was all, irrespective of the fact I had found reference to it on the computer, a figment of my imagination.

Then, after about 19 years of working in Waterstones a customer arrived and dragging a copy out of the back of his rucksack asked, ‘Have you ever heard of this, and if you do, have you got any in stock?’ and gave me a copy of Bottersnikes and Gumbles. I remember he was rather surprised by my reaction. We talked about the books and he left me feeling as though something  had come out of my dreams to accost me in real life, which was a little disconcerting.

Then yesterday. I was putting out stock and came across a copy of The Adventures of Bottersnikes and Gumbles, which is a compilation of various stories taken from the books – so not exactly my book, but none the less I was astonished to find it sitting on our shelves. I feel as though these truly extraordinary characters and books gently haunt my bookselling life, from my childhood.

On reading the back of this new book I find that the stories are Australian – which seems very right – where else would you find such creatures?

The selection of stories are taken from: Bottersnikes and Gumbles, Gumbles on Guard, Gumbles in Summer & Gumbles in Trouble.

I would have preferred the books to have been published in their entirety, (perhaps as a boxed set), but at least they are now represented on our shelves in The Adventures of Bottersnikes and Gumbles.