Like most kids in New Zealand I grew up with Lynley Dodd’s books. I got read the Hairy Maclary books and My Cat Likes to Hide in Boxes so much when I was younger that as an adult I know them off by heart. It’s really wonderful being able to share these stories with my daughter now too, especially when she can almost read Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy to me. It’s great to see that Lynley Dodd is still writing stories starring these familiar loveable characters, and her latest book features that crotchety moggie, Scarface Claw.
Scarface Claw, Hold on Tight! starts off with old sleepyhead, Scarface Claw sunning himself on the roof of the car. The next moment though he finds himself holding on for dear life as Tom zooms off down the driveway. As the scar speeds off down the motorway they go past a trailer of dogs, a logging truck, a school bus full of boys and many other people who try everything to get Tom’s attention. When the Policewoman finally manages to get Tom to stop, Scarface tumbles down from the roof, very unhappy indeed. He yowls and scowls like the Scarface Claw we know, and Tom takes him, double quick, all the way home.
Scarface Claw, Hold on Tight! will be loved by young and old. As soon as I got the book my daughter asked me to read it three times in a row and it has certainly become one of our current favourites to snuggle up together and read. Lynley Dodd certainly hasn’t lost her touch in the 30 or so years she has been writing these stories. Scarface Claw hasn’t mellowed with age either. He still seems the same old grumpy cat that he was when my grandmother first read me Caterwaul Caper when I was young. I remember that story so well because she always used to trip over the word ‘cacophony.’ It’s one of my favourite words and it’s all because of Lynley Dodd.
The story is a joy to read aloud, especially with Lynley Dodd’s language. There is some wonderful alliteration in this story. I especially like ‘a lumbering logging truck loaded with logs.’ The illustrations are delightful, especially when you see poor Scarface hanging on to the top of the car. My favourite illustration is the one of Scarface sliding off the roof of the car. Scarface is seriously unimpressed and Tom looks quite shocked too.
One question that I’d love to ask Lynley Dodd if I ever do meet her is ‘how does Miss Plum manage to always be in the right place at the right time?’ If you look carefully at the illustrations you’ll also see another of Lynley’s characters trotting along the street.
Grab a copy of Scarface Claw, Hold Tight! to add to your Lynley Dodd collection.