Lynley Dodd was born in Rotorua, New Zealand in 1941. She was educated at the Iwitahi School, Tauranga College, Elam School of Art (Dip FA) and Auckland Teachers' College. The first children's books she illustrated, My Cat Likes to Hide in Boxes by Eve Sutton, was published in 1973. She is best known as the creator of Hairy Maclary, but has written and illustrated more than 20 books including The Nickle Nackle Tree, Titimus Trim, The Smallest Turtle, and The Apple Tree. She won the 1978 Choysa Bursary, and the 1981 New Zealand Book Award for her illustrations in Clarice England's Druscilla. She also won the AIM Children's Book Award for Best Picture Book Illustration in 1992 for Hairy Maclary's Show Business and the New Zealand Post Children's Book Award Honour Book Prize in 1999 for Slinky Malinki Catflaps. Hairy Maclary and Slinky Malinky have each featured in stage musical versions. In 2002, she was made a Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to children's literature.