Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Review: Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy

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Title: Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy
Author/Illustrator: Lynley Dodd
Publisher: Tricycle Press
Year: 1983
Format: Paperback
Pages: 32
Age Range: Toddler, Preschooler, Early Reader
Kid Love Factor: 4/5
Adult Sanity Factor: 4/5

Hairy Maclary, a Scottish Terrier, takes a stroll one day:

Out of the gate
and off for a walk
went Hairy Maclary
from Donaldson’s Dairy.

One by one, Hairy meets up with Hercules Morse (Great Dane), Bottomly Potts (Dalmation), Muffin McLay (English Sheepdog), Bitzer Maloney (Greyhound), and Schnitzel von Krumm (Dachshund) who all join him on his walk.  They sniff and snoop and scavenge and scratch, just like...well, pretty much every dog in existence.  They proudly march though their neighbourhood until they accidently come across Scarface Claw, the toughest tom in town.  Luckily our doggie troupe is not stupid, and with one hiss from Scarface they’re off and running as fast as their 24 feet can carry them.

As Hairy meets each of his friends, they’re named and described in a rhyming couplet, and every dog is repeated in order as each new one is added; very rhythmic and great for improving little memories.  Lynley Dodd is also very good at alliteration, using it sparingly but effectively.

My one quibble isn’t the fault of the author.  It's a difference between most Canadian accents and those of New Zealand.  I just can’t rhyme door with saw.  Well, I can, but only by crudely imitating my father’s English accent as it may have appeared before being overlaid by 45 years of life on this side of the pond.  Let’s just say it’s not a pretty sight, er, sound.

Boo’s loves the book, as long as I go easy on Scarface’s “EEEEEOWWWFFTZ!”  I was a little too enthusiastic with it the first time, and terrified him enough we didn’t get to that page again for four months.  Oops.

Autism Spectrum Bonus:  Because the dogs and their rhyming descriptions are recounted in reverse order each time a new one is introduced, there’s lots of opportunity to build anticipation, pattern recognition, and recall skills.  Once Boo was very familiar with the book (and after he’d fully recovered from my accidental discovery of his aural sensitivity to fake cat howling), we started pausing after each dog’s name and let him fill in the description.

Bottom Line:
Lynley Dodd
did a great job



  1. Those dogs names are hilarious! I don't think I've ever scared my kids with sounds, but last year when we read The Lion and the Mouse for the first time, when we reached the page where the lion gets trapped in the net, my son shut the book. I love watching their reactions to stories.

  2. I'll have to get this and make my husband do the reading -- he's from New Zealand. :)

  3. @Brimful - Schnitzel von Krumm is my favourite of the names. As for scaring kids with sounds, when I did so with Boo, I didn't yet know he was autistic, nor that kids with autism often have sensory processing differences to other kids. Boo is quite sensitive to sounds, though not anywhere near as much as others I've read about. But his reactions to books are often awesome. You never have to guess if he's bored with a story. He just closes the book on you and exclaims "Finished!"

    @Infant Bib - I'm sure the rhyme will be much more pleasant with a Kiwi in the house. :) It's a fun book!


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