Saturday, August 22, 2009

Children's Authors - Lynley Dodd

Can you tell from the books I review that our family really like the rhyming ones!

Lynley Dodd, a prolific author and illustrator from New Zealand has delighted our kids with her clever rhymes and funny animals.

One of her more famous series are about little dog, Hairy Maclary and the mischief he gets up to. Our favourite has probably been Hairy Maclary and Zachary Quack, so much so that Miss 3 could recite whole parts of it:

It was drowsily warm,
with dozens of bees
lazily buzzing through flowers and trees.
Hairy Maclary decided to choose
a space in the shade
for his afternoon
snooze.
He dozily dreamed
as he lay on his back
when...
pittery pattery,
skittery scattery
ZIP
round the corner
came
Zachary Quack.
She has a lovely way of repeating the same phrases through a book, so children through repetition learn the words and when to say them.

She has other dog characters too - we quite like Schnitzel von Krumm.

Dodd also has a few cat series, one of which is Slinky Malinki:
Slinky Malinki
was blacker than black,
a stalking and lurking
adventurous cat.
He had bright yellow eyes,
a warbling wail
and a kink at the end
of his very long tail.
And in Open the Door - Slinky Malinki and Stickybeak Syd (a budgie?), explore a house by opening doors, leaving mayhem behind them.

There is even a Christmas book with Slinky Malinki: Christmas Crackers - showing how he attacks the Christmas tree. It's fun reading at Christmas time.

Another thing I love about these books is that Dodd does not hesitate to use big words, and she uses a wide range of adjectives to describe things, so the amount of new vocabulary in a book can be huge, but it is introduced through such clever rhyme and clear illustrations that children quickly pick up the meaning.


Besides all of these excellent books about recognisable animals, she also has range of books about pretend animals. There is a real likeness to Dr Seuss with the use of imaginary animals and made-up language.

In The Nickle Nackle Tree, a counting book from 1-14, the tree is full of wild and wonderful birds:
In the Manglemunching Forest there's a Nickle Nackle tree,
Growing Nickle Nackle berries that are red as red can be.
I went to look last Monday; I was too surprised for words
- On every twisty branch there was a jumbly jam of birds.

One Ballyhoo bird, kicking up a din,

Two squawking Scritchet birds with legs so twiggy thin...


A quick search of the web suggests that Dodd has at least 30 books published, and they are easy to get in libraries (in Australia at least).

If you haven't come across them yet with your kids, get some - you are in for a treat!

2 comments:

arthurandtamie said...

Thanks Wendy! What a blast from the past! Looks like the repetition worked - Arthur and I both recited 'Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy' when we saw your post!

Anonymous said...

I LOVE Lynley Dodd stories - so pleasant to read aloud - the poetry, alliteration and words just roll of one's tongue to easily.

Another thing I love about these books is that Dodd does not hesitate to use big words, and she uses a wide range of adjectives to describe things, so the amount of new vocabulary in a book can be huge, but it is introduced through such clever rhyme and clear illustrations that children quickly pick up the meaning.

My favourite thing about her books!

One of my second son's first phrases, which he said often, was 'scarface claw' in a really rough voice. Very cute! (he actually said 'Sclarflace claw' - which was even cuter!).

Ruth B