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The 101 Dalmatians

(The Hundred and One Dalmatians #1)

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  32,819 ratings  ·  908 reviews
The Hundred and One Dalmatians, or the Great Dog Robbery is a 1956 children's novel by Dodie Smith about the robbery of the titular family of 101 Dalmatian dogs. A sequel entitled The Starlight Barking continues from the end of the first novel.

At a dinner party attended by the Dearly couple, Cruella de Vil expresses her dislike for animals; subsequently, the couple's new
Paperback, 184 pages
Published January 22nd 2002 by Puffin Books (first published 1956)
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 ·  32,819 ratings  ·  908 reviews

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Merphy Napier
I won't rate this because it's a children's book and I'm obviously not the intended audience, and I think that's a big factor in my enjoyment of this. I thought it was fun, and I could really see myself as a child LOVING it! The detailed way that the dogs think, and how the communicate would have been something my imagination would have run away with, and the grad adventure mixed with the horrible villain would have had me on the edge of my seat. As an adult, my enjoyment mostly came from ...more
Jan 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: kids
Recommended to Kelly by: my grandmother
When I was little, I got a copy of this book from my grandmother. It was old, the cover was falling off, and the edges of the pages were stained red. I adored it, and read it several times.

Later came the various movies, first the animated version, which was enjoyable, and then the live-action movie, which was awful. None maintained what captivated me most about the story - the inner life of the dogs and their complexity.

Anyway, I was suddenly seized by the need to read it again, and couldn't
Stacey (prettybooks)
This post is part of the 2015 Classics Challenge.

Like many other much-loved humans, they believed that they owned their dogs, instead of realizing that their dogs owned them."

Cruella de Vil is enough to frighten the spots off a Dalmatian pup. But when she steals a whole family of them, the puppies parents, Pongo and Missus, lose no time in mounting a daring rescue mission. Will they be in time to thwart Cruellas evil scheme, or have they bitten off more than they can chew?

WHEN I Discovered This
Richard Derus
Dec 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been revised and can now be found at Expendable Mudge Muses Aloud.
Vikas Singh
Mar 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-book
What a lovely book. I saw the movie several years back and had greatly enjoyed it. But the book is more enjoyable than the movie. One of the best books on dogs that I have ever read. Lovely reading and a must read , even if you are not a dog lover
Finally got around to re-watching the movie and while I enjoyed it and will likely watch it again in the future...the book is a better fit for me.

Original Review:
That was certainly a lot darker (and funnier) than what I remember from the Disney version.
Also I feel like a lot of this was changed for the movie.
It's been too long since I've seen it to be sure.
We are gonna re-watch the movie tonight for comparison.
Not sure if my husband and I will bother with the "sequel" book since it looks
Sep 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another one of my childhood favourites that only until recently discovering it was based on a book.
I used to rewatch the Disney Classic numerous times as a kid!

Even though theres some slight differences, Disney pretty much stayed faithful to Smiths original story...

The only real difference is Pongo the main Dalmatian is with Missis and were introduced to Perdita later on.
The evil Cruella de Vil is hell bent on turning the newly born pups into a fur coat and its a race against time to stop her.

Feb 21, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A delightful children's book that I read as a kid (many times) and haven't read since. I decided to read it again to see if it held up and was still fun. It definitely was an entertaining read.

When I was looking it up, I was surprised to see so many Goodreads reviews complaining of sexism or anti-feminine views presented in the book. This was certainly never anything I noticed as a kid, but then, how many kids are clued in to that sort of thing? I found myself reading to enjoy, and also to
The part of this book I liked best was the Starlight Barking. Since reading it at age 9 or so, I have observed the phenomenon innumerable times. It's comforting to know what the dogs are really doing. Thank you, Dodie Smith, for explaining it so well.

Three or four years ago, while I was living in Sunnyvale, I saw a remarkable example of how useful the Starlight Barking can be. My friend Beth Ann has two very smart Dobermanns. Late one evening, both of them suddenly started yelping furiously, for
Sep 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I saw this as a "classic read" and realized that it was yet another book that I never marked as "read."

This was, hands down, one of my kids' favorite books. If you've only ever seen the Disney movies then you definitely should give this book a read. It is a bit different from Disney's version - aren't they always - but the repetitiveness and alliteration in the book make it a delight for children. There is a reason it is a "classic."
Rachel Aranda
I loved this audiobook experience with this classic. My brother loves the Disney movie so Ive always known about the book, but hadnt been super interested in reading it as I felt I already knew the story. I was wrong, and offer my apologies to Dodie Smith. Her writing drew me in and kept my attention throughout the book. The plot isn' exactly the same as Disney is known to change things and they definitely did for this book. Even though I grew up with the movie, I greatly prefer the book over ...more
Sep 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-the-girls
Look, I have nothing against Disney. Their movies are fun and entertaining. But I just wish maybe they would give more credit to the original works that inspired them for their stories. Most people I know don't even realize that so many of their movies are based on actual books. Really, really good books.

I mean, Perdita doesn't even show up until maybe chapter 3, and she is NOT Pongo's wife. His wife's name is Missus. Why did they have to cut out Missus, that brave soul? Poor Missus. She's
Karen Witzler
May 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read aloud to me on late spring evenings by my nostalgic nineteen year old daughter - this is NOT the Disney version. Completely charming with a Beatrix Potteresque realism added to the animal characterizations of Pongo and Missis...and Perdita, who is quite a different character from the film version. This makes a wonderful read-aloud and many children would enjoy it, however --- Cruella de Vil is truly evil and her casual talk of drowning many kittens and pups would be disturbing to many ...more
Melania 🍒

Yikes, I wouldnt read this to my children.
BAM The Bibliomaniac
Classics Cleanup Challenge #2
Audio # 151

This book was adorable! Disney did an excellent job of adaptation, but I enjoyed this original story much more. For one Cruella sounds like she might be African American, and there are several lgbt hints throughout. Perdita is a third adult dog too. But the rescue is on point, and the happiness at reunion is palpable.
Aug 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such a beautiful children's tale. You can watch my full review here -
Aug 01, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who wants a brilliant, brilliant read
*** ORIGINAL REVIEW -- August 1, 2007 ***
O happy day when during a free-reading period in Mrs. Chismar's fifth-grade class I opened an old, dog-eared (as it were) edition of this masterpiece. Smith's ability to evoke a scene and pen enchanting but vulnerable characters earns her a place among the greats. The image of the ancient colonel sharing tea with his Old English Sheepdog in their sound Suffolk country home before a crackling fire on a stormy night is my standard for domestic comfort (Mmm,
Jet Silver
This was one of the most sexist books I have ever read. Worse, I first read it when I was ten or so and didn't notice the sexism, which means that its ridiculous list of 'male' and 'female' attributes went into my psyche unchallenged.

According to Dodie Smith, men and male dogs are stronger, don't feel the cold, understand both numbers and words better, have a sense of direction, possess deductive powers, are inventive, loyal and brave.

Women and female dogs can't tell their left from their
Sylwia (Wish Fulfillment)
Why I Recommend Bumping This DOWN On Your TBR: There are racist (against Romani people, who are described using the g-word) and misogynist undertones. I felt protective of Missus and Perdita, and therefore hated how Pongo was essentially "the smart one". The plot is boring, with scenes that seem to only have the purpose of dragging out the journey. The Disney movie is basically a well-edited version of this. The only element that I'm not sure how I feel about is that Cruella is married in the ...more
Jan 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You need to wipe Glenn Close from your memory...... the book came first (not that the film isn't brilliant, but take yourself back to the original) and a wonderful book it is too. Lovely to read, and a wonderful book to be read aloud, when both child and reader can enjoy it together. And of course, you really need to read the second book which is just as good, but mostly forgotten - "The Starlight Barking"
Dec 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As weird as it sounds, this was the first time I read this book. I read the Disney version when I was a kid but this one was so much better! The dogs felt like real characters and they were so sassy and independent! I loved reading about their adventures around England.
Jun 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh the joy of it. I don't remember seeing the movie as a kid (though I'm told it's the very first movie I ever saw, at a drive-in, at age 4...!) But I vividly remember reading the book when I was in 4th or 5th grade and just loving it. And I wasn't even a "dog person" as a kid (or as an adult, until the past year or so).

Anyway we read it aloud as a chapter book for bedtime last week and it was just as terrific as I remembered. The story is so delightfully British... there is something about the
Such a nostalgic, delightful read!


Glen Close as Cruella de Vil was a highlight of my childhood.

To be clear the story is actually about a family whose dalmatian pups have been stolen in order to make a fur coat and of course, I'm aware that justice needed to be served to the perpetrator. But what I fell in love with as a child was the absolute crazy that is Devil Woman.

The gender politics of this book are exactly what I expect from a novel written in the 1950s. Even if our heroes are dogs,
Eclectisism Incarnate
Feb 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020-reads
I absolutely love this book. Years after first reading it, I still pull it out for perusal or rereading. My version has different illustrations (and I am obsessed with only ever reading that copy; the illustrations are brilliant), one of my favorites being of the pups in the church.

And I still, to this day, quote dear Missus: "How can I depend on something that depends?"

Reread in January 2020:

I had not reread this in several years. I hate the blatant racism/sexism. I definitely wouldn't
Jul 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ok, this book is amazing. Brian told me it was good a couple years ago but I dismissed it because well, it's The 101 Dalmatians. We listened to it on a couple road trips and while I got it because I thought Asher might like it, it was really Brian and I who enjoyed it. Very well written and the one we listened to was read so so well- definitely recommend listening to the audiobook version read by Martin Jarvis if you can.
Dec 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great children's book that can be enjoyed by adults, too. The writing is good, and the different dogs in the story are wonderful characters.
By the time she had begun writing, Dodie Smith was already a celebrated playwright. According to a review, the idea for this particular story came from when a friend commented on how Dodie Smith's own dalmations would look wonderful as a coat (in jest of course!). And so, Cruella de Vil, and her passion for furs, was born alongside Pongo, Missis and the tribe at large.

A rescue story told from the point of view of the dogs (a far cry from the canine-narrated Fire, Bed, and Bone), this whole
Feb 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone!
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good fun adventure story, lots of peril on the dogs journey. Quite educational too, lots of tips on how to look after dogs, did you know a big male Dalmatian loves to be punched?

The book has one major difference to the movie, in the book it is Pongo and Missus, Perdita is there but as a minor character, I found I had to keep explaining to my daughter that perdita was a different dog. There was one other thing that kept bugging me during the book... the maths... I was sure there were only 100
Jul 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gillie, iris
This took us much too long, for a fun little book. Despite never gaining a lot of momentum, we all enjoyed the read. It ended very happily, which filled Iris with overwhelming joy. There are certain phrases that are repeated throughout the book, like Cruella de Vil's 'absolutely simple white mink cloak' that I really liked as a device; it was kind of like a character carrying a theme song whenever they show up in a movie.

It was, regrettably, a little dated in a sexist way, but it is old.
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Born Dorothy Gladys Smith in Lancashire, England, Dodie Smith was raised in Manchester (her memoir is titled A Childhood in Manchester). She was just an infant when her father died, and she grew up fatherless until age 14, when her mother remarried and the family moved to London. There she studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and tried for a career as an actress, but with little success. ...more

Other books in the series

The Hundred and One Dalmatians (3 books)
  • The Starlight Barking (The Hundred and One Dalmatians, #2)
  • The Midnight Kittens (The Hundred and One Dalmatians, #3)

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