Hairy Maclary author Lynley Dodd responds to academic's claim book is outdated, lacks diversity

Beloved New Zealand author Dame Lynley Dodd has hit back at accusations her work is outdated and lacks diversity.

Dodd, who has written 34 books, is best known for her story Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy, first published in 1983.

But a study from Perth in Western Australia has taken aim at several children's books including Hairy Maclary, suggesting they "perpetuate outdated stereotypes".

The study by senior childhood researcher Dr Helen Adam of Edith Cowan University looked at several books including the childhood classics Very Hungry Caterpillar and We're Going on a Bear Hunt.

Dodd was asked whether she was aware of the criticism in an interview with RNZ on Saturday.

"What stereotypes are they talking about?" she asked, to which RNZ host Kim Hill responded, "male and female".

"Oh for goodness sake," Dodd told RNZ. "I have actually got a female... I'm just looking at the pile of books I've got on the table at the moment… I've got Susie Fogg [A Dragon In a Wagon] and also, one has to remember that lady dogs have certain times when they're not supposed to be out gallivanting anyway," she added.

"Isn't it crazy, people are just too politically correct," Dodd said.

Dodd was awarded a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2009.

She's not the first author to find themselves in hot water over their work. Last year six Dr Seuss books were pulled from publication because they contained "racist imagery".

The announcement came on the late author's birthday and included the books And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, If I Ran the Zoo, McElligot's Pool, On Beyond Zebra! Scrambled Eggs Super! and The Cat’s Quizzer.

The discontinued titles include the first book Dr Seuss, real name Theodor Seuss Giesel, ever published. The stories were pulled from print because of the racist way characters of Asian and African ethnicity are depicted.

Dr Seuss Enterprises, which represents the late author and illustrator, made the announcement saying, "these books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong".