A favorite children’s book author

I am not getting any reimbursement, either monetarily or in books, by reviewing – if you want to call it that – this children’s author.  I just happen to love these books and enjoy reading them to my children – even my 7 year old, who is quite capable of reading on her own.  I thought I’d share them with you.  Although, if the author or publishing company would like to send me a box-full of these books, I certainly wouldn’t say no.

I have to share a find with you.  Back when Monkey was either three or four, we were visiting the library for some “quiet time” with friends.  I say that in jest because nothing is ever quiet with a three or four year old.  As we were leaving, she grabbed a couple of books off the shelf to check out.  I wasn’t familiar with the title or author so I flipped through the pages to see what kind of children’s book it was.  The lines seemed short, the illustrations quite lively, so I figured, sure, why not?

I was in for a great surprise.

I love the books that Lynley Dodd writes for children.  They are so melodic and graceful, yet funny and cute.  There are several different books following a cast of dog and cat characters that get into trouble, are bored and looking for something to do, or getting bones that they are trying to keep from all the other dogs on the block.

One of my favorites that we have in our home library is called Scattercat.  It was also one of the two or three we checked out from the library so many years ago.  The other from that fateful trip is still in my shopping cart at Amazon (I really just need to go ahead and get it).  It is called Hairy Maclary’s Caterwaul Caper.  We also have here at home Slinky Malinky and Hairy Maclary’s Bone. On a side note, if we ever get another cat, that is black or mostly black, he will be named Slinky Malinky.  I just love that!

Now I’m no expert critic.  It’s been years since I studied things like iambic pentameter, but these books, when reading aloud to children, just seem to dance off the tongue.  The words aren’t simple words either.  These aren’t the basic “See Jane Run” kind of books that bore me to tears.  These have life and song in their pages with clever phrases like “rapscallion cat” and “boisterous bounce”.  I read them to Monkey so many times when she was little, she had Scattercat and Caterwaul Caper memorized.

Let me tell you, there’s nothing cuter than listening to a three year old trying to wrap her tongue around such lyrics as on the first page of Scattercat:

Hairy Maclary
felt bumptious and bustly
bossy and bouncy
and frisky and hustly.
He wanted to run.
He wanted to race.
But the MAIN thing he wanted
was something
to
chase.

The “bumptious and bustly, bossy and bouncy and frisky and hustly” always tripped her up a little.  I really wish I had video recorded it when I had the chance.

But there is also a message, if you want to call it that, in some of the books, too.  Slinky Malinky gets caught doing something and learns that it’s not ok to do that.  Hairy Maclary has the tables turned on him when he’s being mean and chasing the cats.  But the messages are subtle, not in-your-face, and easily expanded on by the adult reading the story, if that’s a desire.

If you have children in your life – whether they are your own or not – you really should consider these books.  They’re beautifully illustrated and so entertaining to read.  I promise, you won’t regret it.

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