I can remember this Hairy Maclary book from when I was very small, so as I am determined my little monkey WILL relive my literary childhood this was on the must have list!
Hairy Maclary is a cheeky little black Scottie dog who Lynley Dodd introduces us to using the most rhythmic rhymes! In 256 deliciously selected words we are sung the tale of how Hairy Maclary goes for a stroll and collects his friends; Hercules Morse (the Great Dane) as big as horse, Bottomley Potts (the Dalmatian) covered in spots, Muffin McLay (the old English Sheepdog) like a bundle of hay, Bitzer Maloney (the grey Whippet or Greyhound – I really need to pay attention to Crufts this year!) all skinny and bony, Schnitzel von Krumm (the brown dashund/sausage dog) with a very low tum. After walking through town this proud pack of poochy pals are startled by Scarface Claw, the toughest tom(cat) in town whose scary yowl sends them all back home sharpish with their hairy tails between their legs!
My two year old loves rhyming books and this was no exception. His favourite part is the excitement of the confrontational yowl “EEEEEOWWWFFTZ!” of Scarface Claw! Also the way the names of the doggy friends are repeated throughout like a endearing canine version of ‘In my bag I packed’, gives the familiarity he likes from a story/board book and also sets a fun challenge for us parents to try and learn off by heart too!
In addition to this delightful story there are 17 beautiful pictures also created by the author which accompany a few short lines. Seeing my son’s eyes light up when we flip the page to see which character is coming up is so heartwarming, especially that glint of delight and excitement when Scarface Claw appears and he is fully anticipating the menacing cat yowl on the next page!
I can see this being a favourite the older he gets and is even more engaged with the books as he’ll quite happily leaf through the pages now without the story being read, which is behaviour I just love and fully encourage! And the detail in the pictures could easily lead a discussion about the characters in the story, pointing out the numbers of the houses, colours of doors, letter boxes and gates etc. Also as the number of dogs increase I can see the fun of spotting the tails sneaking onto the edge of each picture also being a great source of fun!
Verdict: An excellent board picture book and a must have for your nursery collection. It has retained the ability to encourage toddlers into reading and is a pleasure for all adults to read to them. Quite often this story is read in stereo by Mummy and Daddy at bedtime as they are die hard Hairy Maclary fans! (we’re also pretty sure our family dog Freddie enjoys it too!)
Reviewed by Sam