Bookmark Monday: Dogs vs. Cats

From the illustrator of My Cat Likes to Hide in Boxes, comes the lovable Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy.  So who is Hairy Maclary?  He’s a little black terrier (looks to be, although this is never confirmed by the author…) created by Kiwi author/illustrator Lynley Dodd, with a ten book series to his name. 🙂

Dodd has oft been compared and classified together in the genre of rhyming prose similar to Dr Seuss.

However, unlike Seuss’s distinctive phonics focused style which leverages the use of nonsensical words to complete a rhyme, Dodd uses real words in her rhyming prose.  But not just any regular kind of words we’d find in books targeted at the early reader audience – no, the long and expressive kind, e.g. bumptious, cacophony – not the usual candidates in a preschooler’s vocabulary.

Don’t get me wrong now, I do like Dr Seuss books, and there is many a time and place for laughing out loud and having fun with nonsensical and made up words.  But I do also want the children to be at ease and not intimidated by the “big words” that help build their vocabulary because they require the reader to understand their context of usage in a passage.

And Dodd successfully attains this in an easily approachable manner for pre- or young readers.

A friend of ours introduced us to Hairy Maclary a couple of months ago.  So in our trip to the library last week, we sniffed out a couple or two of Dodd’s books in the shelves and borrowed them home for the next few weeks.

Here are two we’ve enjoyed – the first, introducing and chronicling the adventures of Hairy Maclary and his friends Hercules Morse (as big as a horse), Bottomley Potts, Muffin McLay, Bitzer Maloney and Schnitzel von Krumm (with a very low tum!).

And in the second, it’s Cats 1, Dogs 0 (actually, I think it seems to always be the case…) as you follow Hairy’s chasing of Greywacke Jones, Butterball Brown, Pimpernel Pugh, Slinky Malinki and Mushroom Magee. But along comes Scarface Claw, the toughest Tom Cat in town.  Who gives, not as good, but before he gets…and chases Maclary all the way back to home!


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