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Dodie Smith's The Hundred and One Dalmatians, later adapted by Disney, was declared a classic when first published in 1956. The Starlight Barking, Dodie's own long-forgotten sequel, is a thrilling new adventure for Pongo and his family, lavishly illustrated by the same artist team as the first book. As the story opens, every living creature except dogs is gripped by an enchanted sleep. One of the original Dalmatian puppies, all grown up since the first novel, is now the Prime Minister's mascot. Relying on her ...
Dodie Smith's The Hundred and One Dalmatians, later adapted by Disney, was declared a classic when first published in 1956. The Starlight Barking, Dodie's own long-forgotten sequel, is a thrilling new adventure for Pongo and his family, lavishly illustrated by the same artist team as the first book. As the story opens, every living creature except dogs is gripped by an enchanted sleep. One of the original Dalmatian puppies, all grown up since the first novel, is now the Prime Minister's mascot. Relying on her spotted parents for guidance, she assumes emergency leadership for the canine population of England. Awaiting advice from Sirius, the Dog Star, dogs of every breed crowd Trafalgar Square to watch the evening skies. The message they receive is a disturbing proposition, one that might forever destroy their status as "man's best friend."
When they awake to find that every living creature in England, except the dogs, is asleep, Dalmatians Pongo and Missis discover unusual abilities that lead them to London where their daughter is assembling all breeds of dogs to await contact from Sirius, the Dog Star.
Posted January 12, 2013
A few months back I read the first book in this trilogy by Dodie Smith and I loved reading the original tale of the 101 Dalmatians. So when I decided to host the 2013 Pre-1960 Classic Children's Books Reading Challenge I immediately put this one on hold. Unfortunately for me the book was published 7 years too late to qualify for the challenge but I read it anyways.
This book centers around Pongo and Missis, the main characters from the 101 Dalmatians and a few of their pups plus some other beloved characters that appeared in the first book as well as the Walt Disney animated film of the same name. In this book the dogs wake up to a world filled with silence in which canines are the only animals awake, well the dogs, and 3 honorary dogs which include two cats and a young boy named Tommy.
I thought the characters were simply delightful. While the book is written at a bit of a hire level for young children nowadays, we simply forget that children's books used to be written a lot different compared to those we see more often. As I said the characters were delightful and it was lovely to see much of the original cast and to meet some new faces as well which included the dog version of the British parliament.
What I enjoyed most about the novel was the story itself which takes on a bit of a science fiction slant which I was not expecting at all and since I don't want to ruin it for anyone who may read it let me just say that I thought it was rather unique to have that in a child's book about dogs and I think Dodie Smith did a lovely job incorporating the science fiction aspects into her book in a way that wasn't to high brow for children to understand and like. I think the fact that the book offered something different was wonderful.
It's well known that Dodie Smith is a wonderful children's author and this book just adds to her repatoir. I loved the way she created her characters and gave them all different personalities and quirks to go along with them as well and I thought it was one of the most heartwarming novels with a great amount of adventure that I've read in a long and I think this is one along with the preceding book that should be in every child's library.
I would recommend this to anyone who has a child to include this in their child's library. While like I mentioned before it may be a little harder for toddlers to comprehend it would make for the perfect bedtime read for older children.
Posted May 23, 2008
While there's an Important Message about nuclear warfare being a Bad Thing, by and large this is a forgettable follow-up to Smith's classic ''The Hundred and One Dalmatians,'' which was immortalized -- and by the author's own account, improved upon -- in the 1961 Disney film. The writing is heavy-handed and while full of cute moments, by and large it lacks the charm of the original. A little too much metaphysical swooshing, and not enough meat to the story. Sometimes books go out of print for a reason, and the 1997 reprint of ''The Starlight Barking'' is a good reminder why.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 16, 2003
Posted August 9, 2002
I expected this book to live up to the standard that Ms. Smith set with _The 101 Dalmatians_. That was not nearly met. Perhaps it was just too 'metaphysical' for me. It was surely that. As opposed to a highly imaginative, pseudo realistic but not totally fantasy book, _The Starlight Barking_ falls squarely into the fantasy category, and it makes for a poor example of the genre. Although it was mildly entertaining, it really didn't come close to matching my expectations. Sigh...Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.