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This article seeks to extend current children's literature criticism into children's plays and children's theatre. The article uses Norman Lindsay's The Magic Pudding as a prose introduction to an idea of a theatrical carnivalesque. Building on the practical experience of being involved in a large program of original drama for children, written and produced within the university context, it develops a theory of plays-as-the-performance-of-texts, relating this to the current debate on performance and performativity. It adopts the idea of performativity as performative belonging and identifies some distinguishing characteristics of children's plays. Applying some of these ideas to David Almond's Wild Girl, Wild Boy, it notes the idea of moral psychic reorganisation as part of the essence of carnival.