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Monday, 16 January 2017

Hairy Maclary's Bone

Author and Illustrator: Lynley Dodd
publisher: Puffin Books, 1986, This edition 2007

To me Lynley Dodd has to be the queen of the rhyming couplet! Her books are so infectious, so memorable, I find myself thinking about 'Schnitzel von Krumm with a very low tum' whenever I see a sausage dog. Hairy Maclary, the rougish scruffy little dog, is a clever mutt who outwits the dogs following him ( they want his bone). He leads them on a wild goose chase across town, wherein each breeds' characteristic turn out to be their pitfall ( so for example, the long hair of English sheep dog Muffin McLay gets caught in the prickly hedge). Eventually clever Hairy Maclary gets that bone to himself. 

From 18 months- 4 years these books are fun, in-between a quick coffee, reads. Children over 4 tend to enjoy these books still, but always ask for more ( as they're quite short). With lots of page turning and a high picture -to -word ratio this, The Hairy MacClary series, does seem to serve the youngest of children very well. What I really like about Lynley Dodd's work, is her ability to find unusual rhymes and use uncouth words. Not so much in this title, but in Hairy Maclary's Hat Tricks for example, 'The wind was so restless, it's buffets so strong, that it flapped him, and slapped him, and zapped him along.' Talk about helping to expand young children's vocabulary! Her writing is sumptuous, it feels nice on the tongue, enjoyable to read aloud.

Dodd is very observant, acknowledging the little differences in the breeds as each dog, in subsequent books, has its own specific noise, so for example a yelp, a woof, or a yowl. This series is fun and witty, with very catchy verse. She uses a lot of onomatopoeia, which, together with this careful observation, really appeals to and mirrors the young child's mind.

Here's a lovely reading of the book from a group called Buzzing for Books, voiced by 'Mr Haines': Buzzing for Books YouTube Channel

Hairy Maclary's Bone Reading

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