'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.' - author Jackie French

Monday, 1 July 2013

Review: Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy

It was so interesting to read Lynley Dodd's responses to our 12 Curly Questions (due to post tomorrow).

Citing Dr Seuss as one of her greatest influences is absolutely no surprise to me, as, along with Seuss, Dodd would have to be one of the finest rhyming picture book creators of all time.

Not only does she rhyme infallibly, she rhymes marvellously - with cantering meter and effulgent vocabulary that delighted me as a new mother way back when, and continues to delight me today. In fact, along with Graeme Base, Lynley Dodd's books have inspired my own work in regard to the use of strong and advanced vocabulary, even in books for the very young.

Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy started it all for Dodd and her collection of memorable characters, from Scarface Claw through to Zachary Quack. But her divine clutch of doggie characters - Schnitzel von Krumm with the very low tum, Bitzer Maloney all skinny and bony, Muffin McLay like a bundle of hay, Bottomly Potts covered in spots, Hercules Morse as big as a horse - have my most dedicated affection, perhaps because of the countless hours I spent reading their antics to my own children.

Dodd's timeless illustrations lend both humour and character to her delicious author voice, creating a the ideal picture book for children, ie: one that utterly engages, enchants and expands (I call it the Three Es). Engages due to its stunning illustration and rollicking, infallible rhyme, Enchants due to its vibrant storytelling, and Expands thanks to Dodd's insistence that children can both enjoy, understand and benefit from the use of formidable wordage.

My firstborn is now almost 13 years old, and I can STILL recite large passages from Hairy Maclary - its text, form and storytelling is that fluid and easily-embedded. Unlike many books, reading Hairy Maclary ad infinitum to my repeat-read-demanding children was sheer joy.

And joy? Well, to me, that's what a children's book should be.

Lynley Dodd is celebrating 30 amazing years of Hairy Maclary in 2013 - and KBR is joining in the celebrations. Don't miss our 12 Curly Questions with Lynley Dodd tomorrow, and be sure to enter our competition - you could win a sensational Hairy Maclary book pack (Australian residents only).

Title: Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy
Author/Illustrator: Lynley Dodd
Publisher: Puffin, $14.95 RRP
Publication Date: 29 August 1985
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9780140505313
For ages: 2+
Type: Picture Book, Ryhme

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