101 Dalmatians

Monday, January 9, 2012


101 Dalmatians
by Dodie Smith
★★★★☆

The main reason I wanted to read this one is because it’s written by the author of I Capture the Castle, which I love. Pongo and Missis, a married pair of Dalmatians have a litter of 15 puppies that are kidnapped. Using the Twilight Bark system to contact dogs all over England, they search for their missing pups.

It was interesting to see the differences between this original story and the Disney adaptation (which I watched about a million times when I was little). The main two dogs are Pongo and Missis, Perdita is a completely different dog. When Missis has a huge litter, the owners decide to find a foster mother (Perdita) to help nurse the puppies. Also, Pongo’s master works in the financial industry, as opposed to being a musician. Obviously, finance isn’t as conducive to an animated musical as being a song writer is. I was surprised that Cruella De Vil is described almost exactly as she appears in the film, all the way down to her hair, half black and half white.

I’m so glad I read this after getting a dog. It was a lot more fun to hear how the dogs think while picturing my own pup. I love Pongo thinking about how he “owns” his human, instead of vice versa. He comments on how sometimes the humans were so clever they were almost canine.

Read this if you loved the movie and are in the mood for a sweet story. It’s not complicated or trying, it’s just a good little story. I also think it’d be a perfect book to read aloud to your kids or nieces and nephews.

12 comments:

Alex (The Sleepless Reader) said...

I've only found out very VERY recently that this was actually a book. I always thought it was a Disney original.

"Twilight Bark" was already a cool idea, but that name makes it even more so.

Sandy Nawrot said...

I would never think of reading this, but I love dogs and I love this story. I also enjoy books narrated by dogs.

Jeanne said...

As a person who is sometimes a little annoyed by noisy and frightening dogs whose owners aren't paying attention, I have always loved this book for giving me the image of the twilight bark and the movie for giving me the image of owners who resemble their dogs. Both of those images make me more patient with dogkind in general.

Kristi said...

I didn't know it was a book until last year. I do think it's a great idea to read it to kids. I'll have to get my hands on a copy and use it for our nightly bedtime reading. My kids loved the movie, so I'm sure it will go over well.

Mumsy said...

Someone once called this movie "the best argument for the nuclear family in all of popular culture." I agree.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Alex - I do love that name. I'm beginning to learn that everything started out as a book. I just found out that Babe was a classic English novel before it was made into a movie about that faithful pig.

Sandy - I don't always love books narrator by dogs (I wasn't a fan of The Art of Racing in the Rain), but I loved this one!

Jeanne - I love that 101 Dalm. improved your view of dogs. Whenever I hear lots of dogs barking like crazy I still think of the Twilight Bark.

Kristi - I think your kids would love it!

Mumsy - Ha, I never thought of it that way. I love it.

Jenny said...

This is a lovely little book. I admit, though, I find it hard to believe the same person wrote this as wrote I Capture the Castle! Both have a particular quality of sweetness, but I Capture the Castle is glorious! and 101 Dalmations only goodish.

Jenners said...

For some reason, it never occurred to me that this was a book first!!

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Jenny - I completely agree! I adore I Capture the Castle. This is a fun one, especially for kids, but it doesn't even compare.

Jenners - I never thought about it either! I found this only after I read another book by the author.

Captain Nick Sparrow said...

What a nice suggestion! I think I'll check it out sometime.

irisonbooks said...

I am currently reading "I Capture the Castle", and I was curious about this book as well when I read the introduction. I had no clue the stories were authored by the same person!

Melissa Hall said...

Iris - I can't wait to hear your thoughts about Castle. I was so tempted to join your read-along for that, even though I just read it!