Author Lynley Dodd on the Secret Lives of Pets
On the release of her new picture book, Scarface Claw, Hold Tight! acclaimed New Zealand writer and illustrator Lynley Dodd talks animal antics and her favourite children’s books.
Many cat owners would be familiar with the experience of getting into the car and starting down the driveway, only to hear the thump and squeal of a frantically escaping moggy whose morning snooze on the roof has been rudely interrupted.
Such is the premise behind children’s author Lynley Dodd’s new picture book. The animal-loving writer and illustrator has written over 30 books, but is best known for her beloved Hairy Maclary series. In 2002, her contribution to children’s literature was formally recognised when she was made a Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
To coincide with the release of Scarface Claw, Hold Tight! Dodd’s artworks also featured in an exhibition as part of the Awesome international arts festival in Perth.
Dodd, 76, says she was inspired by a real story that occurred in her hometown of Tauranga.
“And like in my story, it did involve the police eventually stopping the driver and causing the cat to slide down the windscreen, much to the surprise of the driver. Since writing the story I’ve heard of several other similar cases of cats riding atop cars,” Dodd says.
“I have a 17-year-old diabetic Burmese cat called Suu Kyi. She is very demanding and she has me under her paw. She loves to be part of the action, which can mean attacking my friends and getting up to mischief when I’m on the phone. My book Slinky Malinki, Early Bird was based on the morning antics of Suu Kyi. And in her more youthful years she attacked the Christmas tree repeatedly, demolishing decorations and rearranging them.”
Original article by Eleanor Ainge Roy, The Guardian, October 5, 2017.
Photo by Bob Tulloch.