11 May 2013

Hairy Maclary

The most delightful things happen when you least expect them. I rode my bicycle over to Starbucks this afternoon and had my normal double shot vanilla latte - and as I was sipping away at my coffee I noticed a large bus pulling up in the parking bay. This was no ordinary bus. It was Molly the mobile library. 

Here are a couple of pictures of it:

Within a couple of minutes of the bus pulling up a cluster of small children ran over to it. They were each holding books and they lined up at the door in a very orderly fashion and it was evident that they were very excited. The driver’s door hissed open and a very large Indian man alighted. He was beaming and all of the he children squealed. The very large Indian man opened the passenger door to the bus and the little children streamed inside. 

The very large Indian man was chuckling in delight.

I washed down my coffee and wandered over to the bus as my curiosity was piqued. I am a great lover of books and reading and I have never before seen a mobile library.

"Hello" I enquired of the driver.

"What is this all about then?"

"This is being Molly the library bus sir" he boomed at me.

"Nice one" I replied.

I peered inside the bus and I saw many rows of neatly organized books on shelves that lined the entire vehicle.

"Is it just for children?" I asked.

"It is only for the children sir" he responded.

"It is full of stories of excitement and adventure and bewonderment"

"Bewonderment?" I enquired.

"Yes indeed bewonderment sir"

"Excellent" I declared.

"And do you drive this bus all over the island?"

"I am being driving all over the city and beyond sir. You must be bringing your children to read them some stories"

"My children are both in Australia" I confessed.

"They are also too big I think to be reading the stories in your bus. They are all grown up."

"Never sir" he roared.

"There is always muchness of delight in reading for children of everyness age"

"I agree there is much muchness of delight in reading" I said.

"You must be coming to read to the children" the driver said.

Then he grabbed me by the arm and led me up the steps and into the bus.

At the back of the coach was a large and comfortable armchair where some of the little children were already sitting. They had happy but expectant looks on their faces. They were quite little kids. They were Singaporean and Indian.

The driver told me "We are be reading at every stop we make. Please choose a book story and be reading to the children'.

"Really?" I asked

"Most assuredly really" he replied.

"I don't suppose you have any Hairy Maclary books?" I asked.

"We are being having all of them" he shouted and then he scampered away to the front shelves of the vehicle.

Within seconds I was being pushed into the armchair and a cluster of little children sat on the floor around me.

'Hairy Maclary' is my favorite of all children's books. I read the series over and over to my kids when they were little. I loved them and so did they. They were written and illustrated by the New Zealand author Lynley Dodd. There are twelve books in the series and they are about the adventures of a farmhouse dog named Hairy Maclary.

Hairy Maclary has a number of dog friends that include the dachshund Schnitzel Von Krumm, the Dalmatian Bottomley Potts and the English sheepdog Muffin McLay. Their adventures mostly involve encounters with a group of cunning cats - the most formidable being Hairy Maclary's arch enemy and nemesis  - the quite scary tom cat named Scarface Claw.

The book I chose to read the children was the first in the series that is called "Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy". It is a beauty.

Here is a bit of it to give you an idea of how great the writing is:

Out of the gate
And off for a walk
Went Hairy Maclary
From Donaldson's Dairy

With Schnitzel von Krumm
With a very low tum,
And Blitzer Maloney
All skinny and bony,

With Muffin McLay
Like a bundle of hay
And Bottomley Potts
All covered in spots

And Hercules Morse
As big as a horse
With tails in the air
They trotted on down
Past the shops and the park
To the far end of town
They sniffed at the smells
And they snooped at each door
When suddenly
Out of the shadows
Saw ....

The toughest Tom

I put on my scary voice leading up to the Scarface Claw bit and a couple of the very little kids climbed up onto my lap to look at the pictures. The mums and dads that were there seemed as enthralled as the children at the story. We all laughed and clapped our hands and Mr. Molly slapped his knees in delight.

The whole experience gave me a warm glow as it reminded me of reading to my children when they were little when they were all curled up in their beds in their pajamas. It was such a long time ago. Sandi and I would read to our children all the time.  

I asked Mr. Molly if I could come back and read again to the children next week and he told me that of course I could. We arranged to meet at the same place and the same time. There was much bewonderment and delight for me in the experience and I can't wait.

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