What an amazing week this past one has been for the remarkable Hairy Maclary who first stepped out of his gate 25 years ago. Since that memorable day over a million copies have been sold worldwide. And if you count in the other titles in the Hairy Maclary series then sales approach seven million. This must be the biggest selling New Zealand children’s book, and book series of all time surely?
Last week the media feted the little dog with stories in the Sunday Star Times, the Otago Daily Times, interviews with TV One and on Radio New Zealand’s excellent Nine to Noon show, various magazine interviews and an appearance on Campbell Live.
To cap it all off somehow The Times of London heard about it, are sending a photographer to Tauranga, (home of author/illustrator Lynley Dodd), and plan to feature the story in the Times Literary Supplement of 31 May. Wow, that is one heck of a lot of attention for a children’s picture book, and a little dog.
But of course this is not just any old picture book, or any old dog either. This is Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy, a dog loved around the world and one of the great picture book characters of our time.
Publishers Mallinson Rendel has appropriately published a special 25th anniversary edition complete with gold foil cover border, a CD of the Hairy Maclary song sung by Jackie Clarke tucked inside, and new endpapers featuring children’s letters. And to cap it off New Zealand’s greatest-ever children’s writer, Margaret Mahy launched the new edition at the wonderful Children’s Bookshop in Christchurch .