First Edition: The Hundred and One Dalmations

My first memory of the iconic children’s book The Hundred and One Dalmations by Dodie Smith, is actually the Disney animated film. This was quickly followed by a Puffin edition, which I sadly no longer have. That films are still being made of the story, and there is demand for old copies of the novel at rare booksellers, is, I think, testamount to the longevity of the book. Long may it continue, even if it includes no fight scenes, no dragons, no magic, no vampires or spaceships.

First editions
At bookseller Peter Harrington, there are three first editions available [at time of going to press].


A special edition by Heinemann 1956, £1,500, bound in white morocco with black onlay patches to resemble the coat of a Dalmation dog [above left].

The second example for sale is also a 1956 Heinemann first edition, £975, including black and white illustrations by Janet and Ann Grahame-Johnstone [above top right].

The third book, a pink leather first edition by Heinemann, 1956, £2,000, features an onlaid Dalmation on the front cover plus paw prints above lower right].

The story
Pongo and Missis are a pair of spotty Dalmation dogs which live with Mr and Mrs Dearly. Missis has a litter of 15 pups. Concerned that Missis will be unable to feed all her puppies, Mrs Dearly looks for a canine wet nurse to help and discovers a liver-spotted Dalmation lost in the rain. The dog is named Perdita who tells Pongo the real reason she was outside in the rain: she was searching for own lost litter of puppies which had been sold by her owner. Trouble really arrives when Mr and Mrs Dearly host a dinner party at which one of the guests is Cruella de Ville, who is fixated on fur clothing.

The film
The Walt Disney animated film of 1961 [below left] varies the story slightly in that Missis does not exist, Pongo and Perdita have their own little of puppies. Actor Rod Taylor was the voice of Pongo, Cate Bauer played Perdita, and Betty Lou Gerson was Cruella de Ville. Watch an excerpt here.

The 1996 film [above right], starring Glenn Close as Cruella de Ville, was a live-action comedy adventure. It was praised for its faithfulness to the 1961 film and was a commercial success, though it received mixed reviews. Watch the trailer here.

Other editions

Dodie Smith


‘The Hundred and One Dalmations’ by Dodie Smith [UK: Egmont]

If you like old books, check out these:-
‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ by Lewis Carroll
‘The Secret Garden’ by Frances Hodgson Burnett
‘The Hobbit’ by JRR Tolkein

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
First Edition: THE HUNDRED AND ONE DALMATIONS by Dodie Smith #oldbooks via @SandraDanby

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