Evan’s ESS = 7.5 out of 10
Erin’s ESS = out of 10
Content = G (Mild Violence, Directionally Challenged Dogs, Biting, Dognapping)
Why: While the plot is a mystery to few people, Dodie Smith knows how to write a book. In The Hundred and One Dalmatians she was somehow able to penetrate into the world of dog and bring to light several mysteries. The narrative is brilliantly unique and well worth the read (even if you’ve already seen the Disney movie 101 times).
The story surrounds Pongo and Missis and the dognapping of their litter of 15 puppies. While the subsequent rescue effort is slightly less than epic, the reader is able to glimpse the highly connected and efficient canine underworld. Under the harsh orders of one of the most fashion challenged woman in all of literature, the pups will be drowned and converted into a line of fur coats. The liberation effort takes all the intelligence of Pongo and Missis and a few other helpful friends.
First of all, we had no idea dogs were so hospitable towards other dogs. In our experience there’s a lot of sniffing and barking when two dogs come into contact. It was also quite a jolt to find that dogs actually consider humans their pets. And to think that all this time we’ve thought it was the other way around... We also learned the downfalls of watching too much television, which is a message we’ve yet to get across to our own children.
The book was easy to read and surprisingly intelligent. We love Dodie Smith and wish that she had written 101 other novels. Our only issue was with the white carpet / black soot scene. Seriously, it was great to rejoice in the rescue effort, but that poor, poor carpet. Plus, has anyone considered the clean-up of 101 Dalmations? Yikes.