Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Smith, Dodie

Working name of Dorothy Gladys Smith (1896-1990), UK writer and popular playwright, now best-known for her Children's Fantasy The Hundred and One Dalmatians (1956). In this charming and witty Animal Fantasy, the resourceful Dalmatian dogs Pongo and Missis make a Quest across modern England for their lost litter of pups, stolen by agents of the memorable aristocratic she-Villain Cruella de Vil – who has amassed several score Dalmatian pups in darkest Suffolk, planning to have fur coats made of their skins. But England's dogs (in whose Perception humans are amiable pets) have a Wainscot society with its own country-wide communications via the "Twilight Barking" and "Midnight Barking". With aid from this network of scattered dogs and some helpful Cats, the entire pack of Dalmatians escapes to London despite Cruella's malevolent pursuit. This story was adapted by Disney as the Animated Movie One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961); a live-action remake is in production. The novel's inferior sequel, The Starlight Barking: More about The Hundred and One Dalmatians (1967), is more extravagantly fantastic, with Sirius the Dog Star placing an Enchantment on Earth which grants dogs special Talents – including flying – while all other species are cast asleep. Predictably, Pongo and the rest reject Sirius's offer of dog Heaven and loyally remain with humanity. It is for The Hundred and One Dalmatians that DS is fondly remembered. [DRL]

other works (selective): I Capture the Castle (1949), associational; The Midnight Kittens (1978), another story for children.

further reading: Dear Dodie: Life of Dodie Smith (1996) by Valerie Grove.

Dorothy Gladys Smith


This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.