Hairy Maclary breaks into the new year

Yesterday I put out all the Hairy Maclary books on the front windowsill. This display faces everyone who is walking fast toward the bakery. (Anyone walking away from the bakery faces the political biographies, dull by comparison).  

Hairy Maclary catches people’s eyes. Hairy Maclary needs to be said out loud, or sung, or shouted.

‘Hairy Maclary….number six…see that?’

‘Hairy Maclary shoo!’

‘Hairy Maclary hat tricks!’

Some people are talking loudly about something else, and Hairy Maclary overrides their conservation.

‘She obviously had two accounts. It’s all very suspicious, and I don’t think Tic Tok can keep that. Hairy Maclary sit. Hah! Hah! See that?’

‘You’re learning about it…and we’re learning about it. We’re on the same ride together… aren’t we, buddy… Hairy Maclary’s Showbusiness…’

Inside the shop, children pull them down, read them and replace them gently. One child said ‘Scarface Door, Scarface Door’ as he walked around the shop.

A grandmother bought three of them. ‘Lovely’, she said.

A teenage boy stood outside the window wearing headphones and eating a pasty. He stared at all the Hairy Maclary books, nodding his head, eating, and nodding and nodding.

Inside, a lady asks me if I sell books for kiddies.

On the footpath a family walks past, and Hairy Maclary downloads himself right into their conversation.

‘Do you want to go to that rabbit place? Or do you want vegemite and toast? Quickly please. Hairy Maclary’s rumpus at the vet… we do need to get to the vet as well. Might go there first. Quickly now.’

Hairy Maclary books and illustrations by Lynley Dodd

Sally and Jane read The Very Hungry Caterpillar

kids

Sally and Jane read a book to me last night when I was the visitor. It was The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Sally reads beautifully. Jane helps beautifully. Sally is 5 and Jane is 7.

They are both strong, creative and resourceful ladies!

Sally holds the book and Jane sits opposite and helps upside down. Sally traces each word with her finger, translating the shapes and lines as she goes; she has read this book before and has a rich store of information and experience to keep the ride through the text fluent and meaningful.

They, both of them bend over the page pulling sound from symbols, making sense of sound, interpreting story from sense, a triple rendering.

They both of them bend over the page importing colour, texture, animation, sound, story, humour, pathos and life from the words and the illustrations and now they have made the story into a physical structure of caterpillar, food and cocoon, of hunger, greed and regret, of life and renewal.

Sally jumps from letter to word and across sentences and back again, she refers briefly to illustration and back again to symbols. She follows instinct and memory in a complex play of eyes, speech and satisfaction.

Sometimes Jane prompts too quickly. She is asked gently to hush.

Shhhh, Jane shhhh….

Sometimes Jane prompts too slowly. Then Sally allows her a generous and obvious space in which to insert a sound or a word or a clue.

Quick, Jane…..

They look over the page and over the book as they look over all of life, solicitous, curious and appreciative.