Picture Books

Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy by Lynley Dodd | Book Review

Disclosure: I did not receive any compensation for this review. Cover art is copyright of Penguin Books NZ.*

Hairy Maclary

was up to no good.

He was out to patrol

his neck of the hood.

Pursued by his crew,

first – Hercules Morse.

A gang leader needs

his muscle, of course.

Bottomly Potts

was his dog on the street,

he knew every secret

of the horde and elite.

Muffin McLay

was his trusted advisor,

though his hipster haircut

would make you none the wiser.

Bitzer Maloney

was Maclary’s bookie.

He could always sniff out

a chump or a rookie.

Schnitzel von Krumm

was Maclary’s best snitch.

He could get all the dirt

without gaining a stitch.

Maclary’s boys leered

through windows and doors,

they strutted down streets

and loitered near stores.

Onlookers knew something

was about to go down,

when the gang confronted

the toughest cat in town.

Notorious gangster

Scarface Claw

withdrew his guns

and let out a roar.

The six canine goons,

they yelped and they fled,

they scurried back home

and curled up in bed.

When pondering street gangs

children, be wary –

and remember the dangers

of Donaldson’s Dairy.

3.5 out of 5 stars
*Little blue penguins are native to New Zealand. They are very cute.


Princess Princess Ever After by Katie O’Neill | Comic Review

Disclosure: I did not receive any compensation for this review. Cover art is copyright of Katie O’Neill and Oni Press.

No prince has succeeded in rescuing Princess Sadie from her tower prison – but Princess Amria is no prince! Together, the two princesses will save one other and each find their place in the world.

The two princesses are endearing from the start. Amira is optimistic and determined. Sadie is outspoken and emotional. Seriously. That girl could drown a small village with her tears. It’s practically a superpower.

Amira’s rescuing methods are a little questionable. She could have maimed or killed Sadie on multiple occasions, but her perseverance is admirable. Sadie has that inexplicable sheltered blonde girl ability to solve problems with compassion. If anyone else tried this, they’d probably get themselves squished or smote.

Sadie and Amira also meet Prince Vladric. After decrying being helped by women, he then proceeds to tell them how easy they have it and how much baggage comes with the expectations of manly princeliness. Boo-hoo. I think Vladric could have been a more sympathetic character if there had been enough time in the story for more character development. Alas, he shall forever be Butthead.

‘Princess Princess Ever After’ touches on real insecurities. Amira is feeling lost, unsure of where she belongs. Sadie, belittled and degraded, bears a scar of self-doubt. Vladric…well, we covered him. The comic features a diverse cast of characters and an unspoken romantic thread between Amira and Sadie. This might have been argued as ambiguous (by the tragic and desperate) but the epilogue – which was not featured in the original web comic – makes it undeniable.

This is a short but enjoyable story for young readers (and old-er people too) from New Zealand writer and illustrator, Katie O’Neill. I look forward to reading more of her work.

3 out of 5 stars