Posted in Parenting, Review, Talents

Book Review: Hairy Maclary From Donaldson’s Diary

We were all in bed and knocked out by 9PM last night. It was a crazy day (that’s another story) and by the time we got home, we could not wait to hit the sack. So, at 4AM this morning, I was up and unable to sleep. Finally, I hopped out of bed at 5AM and decided to do some sketching I’ve been meaning to do for a while.

Hairy Maclary From Donaldson’s Dairy is R’s current favourite book. They have been reading it at the daycare. She asked me to tell her the story last week and that was the first I even heard of it. I looked it up on the Internet, then went ahead and bought the book. Before that, I bought the TV episode because it was available straight away (plus we can play it in the car). When it comes to books, we are suckers in this family. The 3-year old has more books than most adults I know and the collection keeps growing rapidly.

The first time I leafed through the book, I fell in love with the pictures. I had to try to paint these or draw them! I knew I simply had to. It was like a craving that was gnawing away at me every day that I did not do it. Time has been hard to come by (yeah, yeah, I know… make time and all that). This morning, I sat down with my “Art book”, a case of sketching pencils I’d bought DH for one of his past birthdays, a pack of felt pens and the story book.

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So, this B&W messy sack of fur is Hairy Maclary, aptly named for his hairy demeanour. He heads off on a walk and is followed by 5 other dogs, each one cleverly named after their appearance. At the end of the walk, they are surprised by Scarface Claw who holds the title of “the toughest Tom in town”.

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The story moves along at a beautiful pace, following Maclary as he goes on his morning walk. The words are few and repetitive, perfect for the little ones to remember the characters. The names of the dogs are descriptive enough to identify them easily and remember then. They are funny enough to fit into the sing-song rhythm of the narrative. As each dog makes an appearance, there is a picture of him on the left with the introduction on the right.

The pictures, as I already mentioned, are fabulous. They keep the cheery attitude of the story and fit beautifully with the theme of the book. The end is a surprise and funny. Miss R also finds it scary. The appearance of Scarface Claw and his fierce mewing has her putting her metaphorical tail between her legs and burying her face in my chest. Scarface Claw haunts her dreams and she is now officially more scared of the dark than she has ever been. Still, she loves the book and will read it everyday. Her dad and I love it too.

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I was going to draw one of the dogs. I ended up drawing all of them, and the cat. Now that I’m finished, I want to do the other pictures too. They are such a delight to try your hand at. I wish I could paint better, so I could do them in colours. I was sketching when Miss R woke up this morning. Chuffed at being able to finally get to sketching and thinking the sketches did resemble the characters in the book, I proudly displayed my pictures in front of her. She smiled when she saw them. I waited for her words. She said,

“This is wrong. Hercules Morse should be brown. He is not black and white!”

Bam! That’s Little Miss Perfectionist, for you. How can it be the same dog, when it is not even the same colour? I must introduce her to the concept of pencil sketching.

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Author:

I used to wonder whether I could ever be a parent. Then I became one. I was handed a delicate little bundle that I was terrified of bringing home. I didn't know how to be a parent and I was sure 'winging it' was not the right way to do it. Little did I know at the time that there is no right way. The baby knew what she wanted and all I had to do was figure it out along the way. As she grows up, she helps me learn what I need to know... I just need to pay attention to her.

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