Out of the gate, and off for a walk
October 4, 2017 10:02 PM   Subscribe

New Zealand author Lynley Dodd, creator of the beloved Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy describes the real-life inspirations for her stories and the secret lives of pets, as well as her favourite books for children.
posted by prismatic7 (19 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Really, no Hairy Maclary fans in the house? I only learned about this NZ treasure when a vendor at our farmers market fairly squealed "Hairy Maclary!"vat my dog (Angus, btw; also Hairy has freakishly long legs compared to my dachshund x shihtzu x indeterminate rescue).
posted by Tad Naff at 12:26 AM on October 5, 2017

Her books are popular here in the UK. Little-known fact for her international readers: Donaldson's Dairy would be what's known as a milk bar in Australia, something between a corner shop and a newsagent in the UK, and a 7-11 in the US. Not a farm full of cows and milk pails.

My favourite kiwi-ism is "plunket", which is the NZ name for pre-school or nursery. All the kids at plunket love Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy.
posted by rory at 2:09 AM on October 5, 2017 [2 favorites]

The Hairy Maclary books were big in my South African family; in fact; I assigned members of my family to the dogs (I, was Muffin McClay, due to my fringe; although now as an adult who is actually three cats in a trench coat, one of my trench coat inhabitants is Scarface Claw) and we can generally still repeat the rhymes that went with it without much prompting.
posted by halcyonday at 2:22 AM on October 5, 2017

I have a couple of these books in my house. I had assumed they were Scottish, tbh. In fact... i think my partner sent some to our friends in Australia under the pretence that they were! Cultural exchange and all...
posted by trif at 2:46 AM on October 5, 2017

Slinky Malinky 4 life.

I am torn about these. On the one hand, I liked them as a kid, and enjoy the illustrations. On the other hand, Dodd's commitment to rhyming makes the books fiendishly hard for the younger readers that enjoy the stories most.
posted by smoke at 3:07 AM on October 5, 2017 [2 favorites]

Popular with my daughters, but I too assumed she was Scottish.
posted by Segundus at 3:14 AM on October 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

Also, A+ tag game on this post! :D :D :D
posted by halcyonday at 3:42 AM on October 5, 2017 [2 favorites]

Scarface eh?
posted by Samuel Farrow at 6:00 AM on October 5, 2017

I came in here to say exactly 'Slinky Malinky 4 life' even though my last cat was a Scarface Claw.

I call approximately 40% of randomly sighted pussers on the street 'Slinky'.
posted by Trivia Newton John at 6:56 AM on October 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

Our family (well, ok, me) lives for the day when we see a hairy maclary, skinny and boney, a bottomley potts, a bundle of hay, a very low tum, all in one day. Although the Muffin Mclay's are not as popular as they ere in the Dulux days.
posted by RandomInconsistencies at 7:44 AM on October 5, 2017

Slinky fans, holla! I found her books at a Dymocks (? I think) in Auckland a few years ago and bought a stack of them for my niece and nephew. They especially love Scarface Claw!
posted by orrnyereg at 8:20 AM on October 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

FYI: North Americans wishing to purchase the book can do so with Boomerang Books. Their overseas shipping rate is very reasonable.
posted by orrnyereg at 8:43 AM on October 5, 2017

These are lovely to read aloud! Despite lots of reading the books to various children, I knew pretty much nothing about Lynley Dodd - did know she was from New Zealand, but thought she was male, and did not realise she'd been writing for so long - so thanks for this.
posted by paduasoy at 11:44 AM on October 5, 2017

Also, the linked Wikipedia article is a stub and what is there needs citations, if anyone feels like adding to it. The Guardian article could be linked for a start. I would do it but someone with more actual knowledge than I have is probably better placed.
posted by paduasoy at 12:00 PM on October 5, 2017

I could probably recite the first book word for word and I'm turning 32 next year and haven't read the book since I was small. I don't remember too many of the other books but my favourite sentence is "Scarface Claw the toughest tom in town". I love all the ts.

There is a Hairy McClary app that has David Tennant doing the narration. Looking at the app blurb it also has video narration in three sign languages.

Small correction Rory - Plunket is where you take babies to be weighed and checked over by a nurse for free (and probably so much more). You also get a Plunket book to record all the baby's milestones in. My mum has both mine and my brother's still.

A creche is a nursery and a kindy is a preschool. There are also Kōhanga Reo which are Māori language based creches/ kindys.
posted by poxandplague at 3:47 PM on October 5, 2017 [2 favorites]

If you know New Zealand trees and gardens, then you don't even think about where she's from, the pohutokawa are readily identifiable.
posted by wilful at 5:05 AM on October 6, 2017

Ah right, sorry I got the wrong end of the stick about Plunket. I wasn't a parent yet myself when I was briefly living in NZ, and must have taken the wrong message from an advertising campaign or the like.

You call preschool kindy? Oh dear, more international confusion. In Oz we had (/have?) preschool (under 5) and kindy/kindergarten (at 5 = first year of school).

In Scotland, where my kids are going through school, there are nurseries (any kind of childcare) which include a preschool stage (ages 3-4-ish), and then the kids go straight into P1 (primary one, first year of school), which is a sort of hybrid of the kindy and grade one that I went through in the 1970s. So they have kids of 4½ being taught how to read in a formal school setting. They look so small...

My daughter went on a Hairy Maclary binge for bedtime stories a while ago. Doing the voice of Scarface Claw is just the best. MrrrrRROOOOWWWWRRRfttz.
posted by rory at 5:47 AM on October 6, 2017

Aha, I see where I got confused: Plunket run play groups as well. Such distinctions are easily overlooked when you don't have to deal with them yourself...
posted by rory at 5:50 AM on October 6, 2017

When we read "Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy, " as we do most days, my 3 year old starts to tense up as we progress through th book and then shouts "Look mom, do you see who's hiding in those bushes?"

SCARFACE CLAW, the toughest tom in town!

and then we YEEEOOOOWWWWFTTTZZZ together triumphantly.
posted by The Elusive Architeuthis at 10:02 PM on October 6, 2017

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