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Lynley Dodd
“There are so many great stories that happen in real life there's really no need to think them up at all. I always tell children I have got idea antennae flapping around waiting to grab ideas as they fly past.” – Dame Lynley Dodd

Do these names ring a bell? Schnitzel von Krumm with a very low tum, Hercules Morse as big as a horse, Slinky Malinki, Scarface Claw, Zachary Quack. They're just some of the wonderful animal characters found in the Hairy Maclary children's book series. The writer behind the series is New Zealand author and illustrator Lynley Dodd.

Born and educated in New Zealand, Lynley is a graduate of the Elam School of Art in Auckland. Since winning the prestigious Esther Glen Award with Eve Sutton in 1975 for My Cat Likes to Hide in Boxes, Lynley has written 24 picture books. Four of these have won the New Zealand Picture Book of the Year Award, and many more have made the Award shortlist.

There was no looking back as Lynley went on to write and illustrate her own books for children. Exuberant artwork and bouncy rhymes come together perfectly in books like Slinky Malinki and Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy. As well as being a visual delight, these are some of the most rewarding books for children and adults to read out loud. 

Fun facts

  • Lynley was an only child who grew up in the Kaingaroa Forest in the middle of the North Island, New Zealand.
  • As a child, she adored Dr Seuss because of his 'crazy sounds and the fact that he took such liberties with the English language.'
  • Schnitzel von Krumm ("with a very low tum"), came from a dachshund her family owned and Slinky Malinki, the thieving cat, was based on another family pet – Whooskers.
  • Lynley now has a Burmese cat called Suu Kyi.
  • In 1999, Lynley received the Margaret Mahy Award.
  • Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy has been the bestselling book of the last decade in New Zealand.
  • Lynley Dodd’s lovable animal friends have bronze sculptures as part of a children’s playground on Tauranga’s waterfront in New Zealand.
  • She was appointed Distinguished Companion in 2002 and later redesignated as Dame Companion in 2009.
  • Lynley is a big fan of the cartoonist Quentin Blake 'because of his humour and very clever art work.'
  • Lynley has turned down many lucrative offers, including movies, to retain authenticity of her characters. 

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