Author Dodd puts hard time into rollicking rhyme

Wed Sep 16, 2009 4:24am EDT
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By Miral Fahmy

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - New Zealand's Lynley Dodd fills her books with juicy words and rhymes that effortlessly roll off the tongue, but the celebrated children's author admits writing them is anything but easy.

Dodd has won multiple awards and her picture books have sold over four million copies worldwide. She has been delighting children and parents alike since 1973, when she collaborated with author Eve Sutton on the classic "My Cat Likes To Hide In Boxes."

The book proved to be the launchpad for Dodd's writing career with the illustrator and trained artist saying she loved working on it so much she became a full-fledged children's author.

Her first solo effort in 1976, "The Nickle Nackle Tree," became the first of 34 books Dodd has had published so far. Her

latest book, "Hairy Maclary, Shoo," published this month, is the 10th installment in her popular series about a small, black dog.

Dodd, who has written at least one book a year since 1981, spoke to Reuters recently about why writing children's books is still so hard after this many years.

Q: You've been writing children's books for over 30 years. Has it gotten any easier?

A: "I still find it hard! I do at least 22 drafts for every book, as with rhyme it is a lot harder to get it right. I try and make sure that it sounds spontaneous, and you have to work very hard at that. Once I start in earnest, it takes me about six months to write and illustrate a book."   Continued...