All the fun of the fair


On Sunday we waded into a effervescent sea of face painting, ice cream licking and bad joke telling at the State Library’s Children’s Book Fair. Without a plan we ended up in the foyer of a small theatrette and found ourselves ushered in, just in time to see … LYNLEY DODD! What luck! There were a lot of great authors and illustrators speaking there but Lynley sits squarely at the top of our list. We are big ‘Hairy/Slinky’ fans. You have to love books that grab your kids so much that they can recite large wads of text off by heart and habitually turn up to dinner in a cat mask.

She was wonderful and warm just how you’d imagine. In fact, I’m sure the gentle Miss Plum is Lynley herself. Anyway – she chatted about the kink in Slinky Malinky‘s tail, how the true owners of Hairy are in fact the Donaldsons and not the Maclarys, and how she doesn’t actually own a dog – shocking the socks off the audience with that one. But the highlight was watching Miss L take the mic and ask a question. Her utterly chuffed grin lit up the whole room for me. I was watching a personal triumph. A wonderful moment of bravery and reaching out into the world. And I couldn’t think of a better person to have that brave moment with than Miss Plum.

There’s a great little article in The Age on Lynley’s appearances at the festival, and a really nice portrait by Luis Enrique Ascui too.


4 thoughts on “All the fun of the fair

  1. The Hairy McLary and Slinky Malinki series are my all time favourite children’s books! I absolutely love the language and how delicious they are to read aloud. We used to have an animated video of the books and the boys watched it over and over. How inspiring to meet Ms Dodd in person, and even ask a question!

    1. Oh, it was Susie! I could hear that language in the way she spoke to the kids. She manages to weave fantastic words throughout very straight-down-the-line thoughts – perfect for her audience.
      And she told a wonderful true life story about a seal cub that ‘flumped’ out of the harbour into the village, through a catflap and made itself comfy on someones sofa. She had everyone eating out of the palm of her hand. Storytelling is such a wonderful art! xx

  2. My Kids grew up on Hairy MacLary – we even had it on video. I can still recite whole books without the actual book.

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