Storytime with Jessica – Lynley Dodd

I was trying to work out what theme to write about this week but nothing was interesting enough. Until I had a look at next week’s Storytime theme – Hairy Maclary – which I am very sadly going to miss. Chantelle wrote a wonderful post about Hairy Maclary a few years ago. But, I got to thinking about how wonderful everything written by Lynley Dodd is so I thought why not talk about her amazing books here. Lynley Dodd is from New Zealand and probably everyone knows about her wonderful Hairy Maclary series. To be honest with you, I always thought she was Scottish – so I’ve already learned something new today!

The reason I love talking about Lynley Dodd books is the amazing language she uses when she’s writing. I go out and talk to New Parent Groups in Cockburn and I always tell them about the benefits of reading (the relationship between reader and listener, the world knowledge that comes with reading, the joy of reading, the exposure to things like shapes, colours, numbers, and emotions, etc.). And the one I talk about before I pull out my Lynley Dodd book is – the vocabulary that exists in picture books. And Lynley Dodd is such an amazing example of this. Pick any one of her books and you will find an amazing, astounding array of magnificent language. I talk about the fact that babies are not born knowing words – so through reading, writing, singing, and talking we are teaching children every single word they know. I talk about the wonderfulness of repetition, repetition, repetition, because a child has to hear a word a number of times in context before they will be able to understand it and use it correctly. But kids, unlike us lucky adults, don’t have any understanding of the syntax (structure) and semantics (meaning) of language so they can’t work out what new words mean. That is until they learn these things with lots of practise and…you guessed it – repetition. Which is why hearing them in context, or in the narrative structure of a picture book, is so important. In a picture book, we have pictures, and repetition, which helps to give us meaning – to give children a context for the new words they are hearing.

For just a second, think about the 350 words you have already read in my blog post – how many of them were new to you? How many of the ones that you hadn’t heard before were you able to understand because of the words around them? This is one of the skills we are teaching children from birth by reading, singing, rhyming, and talking to them in preparation for them being able to read for themselves just like you are. The more children are read to – the more words they know, the more words they know – the more skill and success they will have when they are reading for themselves (and the more success they will have in being understood and understanding). This is because they will only have to add how a written word looks to what they already know about the word from hearing it and using it prior to school. They don’t also have to try and decode what that word means.

Picture books play a huge role in this because: picture books are amazing! And as someone who has read just as many not great picture books as good ones – there is something magical about a GREAT picture book. And in my opinion Lynley Dodd books are great picture books.

And now…The Books

Slinky Malinki

I would like to just quote the book to you…or just demand that if you haven’t read this you should immediately. This is probably my favourite book to read of all of Lynley Dodd’s work. It has a wonderful rhythm to it and is a lot of fun to read aloud. Slinky Malinki is a naughty cat who likes to sneak and steal but he gets caught in the end so there is even a nice moral but the pure joy of this book is the language.

Hairy Maclary Treasury: The Complete Adventures of Hairy Maclary

I love a compilation like this – it allows me to talk about just one book and actually encourage you to read the complete adventures of Hairy Maclary! There is even a CD to enjoy. And any of the books inside are great to share with one child or sixty.

Scarface Claw

It was so hard to pick a third book because I kind of want to pick them all. But who could go past Scarface Claw – the toughest tom in town. I love that description – there is alliteration, animal gender naming, and also the best (and hardest to pronounce) animal sound I’ve ever come across in a book. But, it turns out Scarface Claw is scared of something…

But I would also encourage you to check out all of her books.

Lynley Dodd’s writing is rhythmic, there is an amazing rhythm that jumps off the page while you are reading them. Which makes them as much fun to read as they are to listen to. In addition, there is lots of repetition within the text making them a book that allows children to be involved in the reading process easily. Once they are familiar with the text give them a page to read that they know – like the part where Zachary Quack is following Hairy Maclary, or the part where the dogs are described. This is a good way to get children making connections between words and text and allowing them to feel the power of reading with a minimal chance of failure.

Rhymes

There aren’t any rhymes just for Lynley Dodd books but I have one here for cats and one for dogs and you can imagine they are the dogs and cats from Lynley Dodd books.

Pussy Cat, Pussy Cat

Pussy cat, pussy cat, where have you been?
I’ve been to London to visit the queen.
Pussy cat, pussy cat, what did you there?
I frightened a little mouse under the chair,

Knick, Knack, Paddy Whack (This Old Man)

This old man , he played one, (1)
He played knick knack on his thumb,
With a knick, knack, paddy whack,
Give the dog a bone;
This old man came rolling home.

This old man , he played two, (2)
He played knick knack on his shoe,
With a knick, knack, paddy whack,
Give the dog a bone;
This old man came rolling home.

This old man , he played three, (3)
He played knick knack on his knee,
With a knick, knack, paddy whack,
Give the dog a bone;
This old man came rolling home.

This old man , he played four, (4)
He played knick knack on his door,
With a knick, knack, paddy whack,
Give the dog a bone;
This old man came rolling home.

This old man , he played five, (5)
He played knick knack on his hive,
With a knick, knack, paddy whack,
Give the dog a bone;
This old man came rolling home.

This old man , he played six, (6)
He played knick knack on his sticks,
With a knick, knack, paddy whack,
Give the dog a bone;
This old man came rolling home.

This old man , he played seven, (7)
He played knick knack with his pen,
With a knick, knack, paddy whack,
Give the dog a bone;
This old man came rolling home.

This old man , he played eight, (8)
He played knick knack on his gate,
With a knick, knack, paddy whack,
Give the dog a bone;
This old man came rolling home.

This old man , he played nine, (9)
He played knick knack, rise and shine,
With a knick, knack, paddy whack,
Give the dog a bone;
This old man came rolling home.

This old man , he played ten, (10)
He played knick knack on his hen,
With a knick, knack, paddy whack,
Give the dog a bone;
This old man came rolling home.

This old man , he played eleven, (11)
He played knick knack up in heaven,
With a knick, knack, paddy whack,
Give the dog a bone;
This old man came rolling home.

This old man , he played twelve, (12)
He played knick knack, dig and delve,
With a knick, knack, paddy whack,
Give the dog a bone;
This old man came rolling home.

Craft – Hairy Maclary Mask

hairy-maclary-mask

What you need:

  • Dog face template – you can probably find one online or draw one of your own.
  • black paper,
  • glue and scissors, and
  • black crayon/texta

What you do:

  1. Cut out the template – including the eyes.
  2. Colour it in.
  3. Cut strips of black paper and glue it around the template.
  4. You can add a pop stick or some elastic so that it stays on.

That’s it, I’m all Lynley Dodd’ed out…which is a complete fib – I could talk about all the many and varied benefits of experiencing Lynley Dodd books but I want you to go and enjoy them for yourself. If you have a favourite Lynley Dodd book I would love to hear about it below.