Cover of Lynley Dodd's Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy (1983).
Tales of a Skye terrier
Out of the gate
And off for a walk
Went Hairy Maclary
Of Donaldson's Dairy
The publication in 1983 of Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy skyrocketed Lynley Dodd to the status of picture book legend. She and author Eve Sutton had already won the prestigious Esther Glen award in 1975 for the classic My cat likes to hide in boxes.
Hairy the Skye terrier and his gang of dog mates - Hercules Morse, Bottomley Potts, Muffin McLay, Bitzer Maloney, and Schnitzel von Krumm - had their first adventure in 1983. They got together and wandered off, sniffing all the smells, past the shops and the park, snooping at each door. But these dogs were no match for Scarface Claw, the toughest tom in town, and their excursion was quickly cut short as they each scurried off with a yowl - and a wail, and a howl - straight back home to bed.
Since then, author and illustrator Lynley Dodd has sent Hairy off on 11 more adventures and written another nine about his friends. He's rescued hats on windy days, caused a rumpus at the vet, and even saved his arch-enemy Scarface Claw after he got stuck in a tree. Some of his friends have also had their own books: Schnitzel von Krumm (with a very low tum), the dachshund, taught us that maybe dogs can climb trees, if they're very brave; and Scarface Claw got to spend more time being scared of nothing - except his own reflection.
Confirmed New Zealand classics, the books are also popular with children overseas. Each story is illustrated in Dodd's skilful, expressive style. The rhythmic, rhyming text is perfect for the pre-school children they're written for and make them a joy to read at any age. They also evoke nostalgia in children of the 1980s. The stories and illustrations are focused on a world of animals - the faces of human characters are obscured. Rather than having a moral message, the stories are about adventure, bravery and fun.
As well as merchandise such as soft toys and DVDs, Hairy Maclary also has his own theatre company, Maclary Theatre Productions. At least seven Hairy Maclary stories, as well as Slinky Malinki - a story about a kleptomaniac black cat - have sold more than 40,000 copies in New Zealand, making Dodd the dominant author on the list of platinum-selling children's books in New Zealand.