The Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith, Peter Bently and Steven Lenton

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The Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith, Peter Bently and Steven Lenton

Category: Emerging Readers
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: A really pleasing look at the evils of the animal trade through a juvenile-friendly adaptation that hits all the right beats.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: September 2017
Publisher: Egmont
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9781405281669

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A dog is for life, not just for Christmas, as we were constantly told when I was young – I dare say people are still saying it, but it was quite prevalent way back then. I'm sure many people reading this will know that the Dearlys end up with 101 Dalmatians for Christmas themselves, and it must be debatable whether they stayed in the same house as them all come the new year. But what is beyond doubt is that the getting of so many cute pups was full of drama – drama that fills this young reader to bursting, and drama that comes in illustrations like these with no end of charm.

I dare say the detail here is such that if I were to count the final spread I'd find evidence of every titular dog – I didn't go so far, as I'd seen enough clever little incident before then to feel sure of being in safe hands. The baddie's car number plate – DEV1L just as a British one would have looked til recent times, the little pup weeing on a baddie's boot, the Dearly habit of having yet more Dalmatians in the way of ornaments here and there – and surely a Dalmatian print toilet seat is now the must-have of the season. Yes, this is a book that has toilet seats and weeing dogs and still can win over the most prudish.

I'm not actually sure, however, which is better – the style and visual impact (I loved the first introduction to our hero's cameo, spotlit by a rising moon above a city full of dogs and mutts baying for the return of the first batch of Dalmatians), or the text. This has dogs talking to themselves, and not too much in the way of character, but boy it carries the events of the story with concision, deftness and entertainment. That touch actually puts this in the higher echelons of such adaptations – I didn't find it too curt, too modern, too much altered – it was just right.

I think, all in all, I like the visuals more, though, as they don't go down the way of being too unusual a palette, but just have a clear, easy and enjoyable style, conveying the dog life easily, and providing this adult reader with a beauteous Mrs Dearly that certainly would be a Dearly Beloved. More important for this review remains the fact that the text is fine for sharing with the young, as it has thirty or forty words a page max, and the script is shared evenly across the pages and even against a dark background is perfectly legible. But most important of all is that the young gifted this are sure to want to turn to these pages time and time again – and/or, however, want one of the characters for their own. Which is where I came in…

I must thank the publishers for my review copy.

The same publishers have recently given us Disney cartoon adaptations with artwork from the beginnings of the films' creation – that for Alice in Wonderland being the best.

Buy The Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith, Peter Bently and Steven Lenton at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith, Peter Bently and Steven Lenton at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith, Peter Bently and Steven Lenton at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith, Peter Bently and Steven Lenton at Amazon.com.


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