The 101 Dalmatians by Dodie Smith (audio review)

July 29, 2019 Book Reviews 3 ★★★★½

The 101 Dalmatians by Dodie Smith (audio review)The 101 Dalmations by Dodie Smith
Series: The Hundred and One Dalmatians #1
Published by Listening Library Genres: MG Books
Format: Audiobook
Source: the library
Purchase: Amazon | Bookshop | Barnes & Noble | Audible
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Pongo and Missis had a lovely life. With their human owners, the Dearlys, to look after them, they lived in a comfortable home in London with their 15 adorable Dalmatian puppies, loved and admired by all. Especially the Dearlys' neighbor Cruella de Vil, a fur-fancying fashion plate with designs on the Dalmatians' spotted coats! So, when the puppies are stolen from the Dearly home, and even Scotland Yard is unable to find them, Pongo and Missis know they must take matters into their own paws!

Ages 8-11


Such a darling book! Why on earth didn’t I read it sooner?!

If you’ve seen the Disney animated movie—and who hasn’t?—you already know the basic plot, so I won’t go over it here*. And for once, Disney stuck pretty close to the book. They simplified a few things, of course—most notably with regard to some of the characters. In the novel, there are three adult dalmatians: Pongo, Missus (aka Mrs. Pongo), and Perdita, a lost dog brought in as a wet nurse to help Mrs. (15 puppies being rather a lot for one mother to feed.) Disney did away with the character of Perdita, but gave her name to Missus.  They also combined two of the puppies: Lucky and the runt of the litter, known in the book as The Cadpig. And in the book, there are two nannies; the movie has only one. Other than those changes, however, the movie follows the book’s plot with remarkable faithfulness.

But as much as I love the Disney movie (which I’ve seen countless times, since it was one of Robin’s comfort movies growing up), I had never read the book. Until now, thanks to the serendipity of discovering the audiobook at the library. And it’s even better than the movie! It’s charming, full of gentle humor and delightful descriptions and a warm, comforting sense that despite assorted perils, everything will come out right in the end.

The audiobook is read by Martin Jarvis, who does quite well with the narration and most of the voices, though occasionally one or another of his female voices sounds just slightly off. The audio runs about four and a half hours, and would be a great choice for a family road trip: it’s suitable for young children, but adults will enjoy it as well.


*If you haven’t seen the movie, by all means do so… but don’t deprive yourself of the pleasure of reading the book, as well.



Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • Audiobook Challenge 2019
  • Library Love Challenge 2019
  • POPSUGAR Reading Challenge 2019
  • The Backlist Reader Challenge 2019

3 Responses to “The 101 Dalmatians by Dodie Smith (audio review)”

  1. Nicci @ Sunny Buzzy Books

    I used to love the movie when I was a kid!
    I must confess that I had no idea that it was written by Dodie Smith… Didn’t she write I Capture The Castle?
    I’m glad you enjoyed the book every bit as much (or more) than the movie.
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