Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “I Can Jump Puddles” as Want to Read:
I Can Jump Puddles
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

I Can Jump Puddles

(I Can Jump Puddles #1)

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  2,357 ratings  ·  83 reviews
I Can Jump Puddles is Alan Marshall's story of his childhood - a happy world in which, despite his crippling poliomyelitis, he plays, climbs, fights, swims, rides and laughs. His world was the Australian countryside early last century: rough-riders, bushmen, farmers and tellers of tall stories - a world held precious by the young Alan. ...more
Paperback, 264 pages
Published July 31st 2004 by Peguin Books AU (first published 1955)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about I Can Jump Puddles, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about I Can Jump Puddles

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,357 ratings  ·  83 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of I Can Jump Puddles
Oct 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I first read Alan Marshall's autobiography of his childhood - I Can Jump Puddles (1955) as part of the school curriculum in early high school. I loved the bighearted story of overcoming adversity then, but wasn't sure what to expect when I reread it as part of the Popsugar 2016 book challenge (a book your read in high school).

I loved it. Marshall's clear, crisp, descriptive style is almost contemporary in its use of point of view (young Alan's), it's construction of scenes with action, setting,
Alpheus Williams
Apr 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
When I first came to Australia I don’t think there was a school in the country that didn’t have a class set of this book. Almost every anthology of Australian literature had an excerpt from “I Can Jump Puddles”, or an Alan Marshal short story. So I don’t how I managed to miss reading it for all these years. For some reason the story of a little boy overcoming the effects of polio, despite or maybe because I too had suffered contracting that disease albeit, not as badly as Alan Marshal, didn’t ap ...more
I loved it!! It was a great book, it gave a great insight into what it's like to live with polio, and how it feels on the inside compared to what we who see it from the outside assume it to be like. It made me realise how much I take for granted. ...more
I wanted to buy this from Scholastic Books when I was in Year 3 but the librarian told me it was for 6th graders and I was too young for it. So I bought something else instead... and borrowed it at the end of the week. I kept borrowing it for many years. I absolutely loved it. Alan Marshall was one of my childhood heroes. I'm glad that I eventually found my own copy of it. But I wish that librarian hadn't discouraged me. ...more
This was one of our obligatory high school reads. My best friend's mother was crippled with polio and during the 60's in Sydney you would still see kids in primary schools in calipers. An inspiring book. ...more
Sandi Parsons
Mar 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I first read I Can Jump Puddles in my childhood, but if asked, I couldn’t honestly tell you what it was about other than the autobiography of a child who had survived polio.

Challenge 6, from Sue over on Doddyaboutbooks calls for a book which features a character with a chronic illness or disability, and as I’m looking at expanding my school’s collection of Australia classics, it seemed the ideal time to revisit I Can Jump Puddles.

You can read my full review here
Jan 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
this whole series is really good ! sad that it's not more famous outside Aus bc it's touching and inspirational almost without intending to be ...more
Oct 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-100-books
I charming story about a courageous, young boy with infantile paralysis. The book is based upon the author's childhood, which makes it an even more interesting read. The spirit of Alan hardly ever wavers despite the attitude of people around him. His father is a strong character throughout the story; showing concern yet a rock of belief and faith in what his son can achieve. Other characters that pop into the story come for a short time but hold a strong impact on Alan's development. Alan knows ...more
Feb 27, 2011 rated it liked it
Okay--so I read this in a Reader's Digest Condensed book, so it certainly was not very long. I enjoyed it--a memior written by a man who was partially paralyzed from polio, and lived in the Australian outback. He refused to limit himself because of his paralysis and shares some wonderful memories from his young life. ...more
Aug 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wonderfully uplifting stories of the writer's battle as a young boy against muscular paralysis, a terrible disease that wracked his body and left him unable to walk. He overcomes a plethora of physical and social hurdles with unyielding determination and humour. With tales of swagmen and bullock drivers, Marshall conjures up a bygone era of simpler times and folk in rural Victoria. ...more
Sarah Hollars
Nov 16, 2016 rated it liked it
A sweet book about a boy growing up in Australia during the turn of the century. Really loved living in this world if only for a moment. In ways it was a condensed boys version of Anne of Green Gables.
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
I first saw this as a movie or mini-series on PBS years ago, and then interloaned the book. It's a beautiful story about the author's childhood in Australia surviving a bout with polio. ...more
Apr 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A book I have read and reread over 15 or so years. Absolutely beautiful story. The sequels I found not so enjoyable.
Jun 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
This is a beautiful book. Very funny. The characters are all so different, and each one of them is so entertaining. Marshall's characterisation is brilliant. True he was working with actual real people, which would've made it easier. But, still, these people were great. I loved the feeling of hope throughout the book. The way he wrote about trying to make the adults see that he was happy, but never quite being able to - it was so poignant. It made me reflect on the way I view people with a disab ...more
Sep 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book perfectly couples an authentic capturing of Australian outback life at the turn of the century with an intimate insight into a child’s eyes, growing up in a world where adults pity him and children find him to be interesting. The biggest takeaway for me was the idea that people’s opinions of Alan are not reflective of who he is and he does not let opinions shape him. His disability does not control him and the extent of his reach into different avenues of his childhood, and that makes ...more
MaeReadABook  (Mae Hem Walker)
Jan 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: To anyone who loves Australia.
This is a 5 star read. But still not technically up my alley as their aren;t any dragons in it :P
What a beautiful story, and the writing was simply magical.
Descriptions of the 'Other Boy' and how he wished Joes Mother's house caught on fire so he could save her. Little lovely turns of phase, and it really broadens your mind as to what it was like back then, but also what it is like to have crutches.
Highly recommend to anyone, especially those who would like to see very Aussie culture at it's b
Nada Dosti
Apr 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I started reading this book during a summer day when i was around 10 yrs old. I remember few things from the book but i still can remember the sensation of reading it. It was motivational book which helped me with self esteem, with a lot of new words to my vocabulary (i didn't know what a siluete meant) at that time and also lot of knowledge such as geographical (it talks a lot abt the nature in Australia) and about fauna. A MUST! ...more
Jan 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
I began this book as a read aloud to my family, but a hectic Christmas got in the way, so I finished it as an audiobook. The chapters didn’t quite line up, so I’m not sure if it was the same version, but it was a really delightful story and I hope I can resume reading to the kids at a less busy time! Positive, down to earth with a great Aussie voice and not very long, this is a good read for all ages.
Jan 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Salt of the Earth people. A wonderful father and mother, great mates and that beautiful mare who Joe and Allan watered. The harsh realities but also incredible joy of the aussie countryside and the larrikans who lived there. The fair go Alan receieved by his contemporaries and the respect and honour he showed to all those around him made him one terrific bloke. This story brought tears to my eyes and my heart swelled. Pain made him stronger as he faced it.
Jul 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
it was really hard to get into but once i picked up the audio book (which was incredible, highly recommend) version it was much easier to read. it was a nice, real and uplifting story (especially for someone who has struggled with health problems in the past) that gave me a break from my fantasy worlds
Lisa Jones
Apr 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: re-read-books
What a lovely book - I remember reading it in high school and found an edition in our old bookcase when I was looking for something new to read - my father-in-law's from Form 4 in 1957. A quintessential Aussie tale; well written with humour, colloquialisms and heart. The fact that it's a true story just makes it better. ...more
Took a little while to get into but a good read. Nice setting and enjoyed the thoughtful look at his childhood and the way that his paralysis appeared to have a bigger impact on other people than on Alan as a child.
Mar 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Heart-warming story about a boy growing up in the Australian bush. His personal triumphs despite being afflicted with Polio are a joy to him, and have endeared him to Australian and worldwide audiences ever since. Highly recommended reading.
Sep 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a classic book filled with messages of encouragement for anyone. I read this when I was a child, but it's been so long. As an adult I realise that this story of more meaningful than I thought and has lots of insight into the kind of a child with a disability. Mind over matter is the key. ...more
Michelle Rae
Feb 04, 2017 rated it liked it
listened to the audiobook, found the background music very distracting. apart from that it was an okay story.
Jul 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
Well written but I struggled with the descriptions of how people behaved in Australia in that era. I loved the final few chapters, Alan was a courageous and determined boy!
Greg Robinson
Dec 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
great Australian classic; autobiography of a stoic Australian; still relevant
Lea Manning
Feb 17, 2021 rated it really liked it
A true story of courage, determination and true grit.
Feb 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I finished reading this autobiography, first published in 1955, over three months ago and it has stayed in my thoughts ever since for its wisdom and its example of how we do and should treat human differences.
At age six, just after he had started school, Alan Marshall (1902-84) came down with polio. In the early 1900s the disease had spread from the cities into country villages like Turalla in the Australia state of Victoria where Alan lived with his family. His father, a highly regarded horse
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • My Brilliant Career
  • A Fortunate Life
  • Seven Little Australians (Woolcots, #1)
  • We of the Never Never
  • My Place
  • Banks
  • My Brother Jack
  • Playing Beatie Bow
  • Reckoning: A Memoir
  • Monash's Masterpiece: The battle of Le Hamel and the 93 minutes that changed the world
  • The Great Shark Hunt: Strange Tales from a Strange Time (The Gonzo Papers, #1)
  • The Slap
  • Rehepapp ehk november
  • April Fool's Day
  • Tõde ja õigus I
  • Monkey Grip
  • So Much to Tell You (So Much to Tell You, #1)
  • Rabbit-Proof Fence: The True Story of One of the Greatest Escapes of All Time
See similar books…
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

(1) Alan^Marshall

Alan Marshall (2 May 1902, Noorat, Victoria — 21 January 1984, Melbourne) was an Australian writer, story teller and social documenter.

His best known book, I Can Jump Puddles (1955) is the first of a three-part autobiography. The other two books are This is

Other books in the series

I Can Jump Puddles (3 books)
  • This is the Grass
  • In Mine Own Heart

Related Articles

  Speaking with Adam Grant feels like having your brain sandblasted, in a pleasant sort of way. As an author, professor, and psychologist,...
70 likes · 1 comments
“The crippled child is not conscience of the handicap implied by his useless legs. Though often inconvenient or annoying, but he is confident that it will never prevent him from doing what he wants to do or being whatever he wishes to be. If he considers them a handicap its because he has been told they are. Children make no distinction between the one who's lame or the one who has use of all his limbs.” 0 likes
More quotes…