My daughter Lily has an obsession with “Dora the Explorer”, or, as she liked to call it when she was newly two, “Boots Dora”. Note that Boots’s name came before Dora’s. There was a reason and purpose to that. Lily thinks Boots Monkey is THE star of “Dora the Explorer”.
If you watch the show from her perspective, she is not incorrect. Boots is as integral to nearly every plot as Dora is. He does practically everything with her. He is almost never off the screen. I think he is supposed to be considered a sidekick, but I think to a lot of kids he seems more like a co-star. Backpack and Map, now those are some sidekicks. They help get the job done, but they don’t have as many lines or as much screen time as Dora. Boots is on the screen so much, his name should probably be in the title with Dora’s– “Dora and Boots the Explorers”. It doesn’t have as nice of a ring to it, but it’s more true to the show.
Despite Boots’s prominence in the show, there’s a ridiculous lack of Boots merchandise in most toy stores. When you get to the Dora section, there are usually plenty of Dora dolls in a wide-variety of sizes, but you are lucky to find even a 1-inch Boots action figure for the Magical Welcome Dollhouse. In fact, Dora’s Magical Welcome Dollhouse doesn’t even come with Boots. It only comes with Dora! What kind of madness is that?!
It’s really hard to find any Boots merchandise, which really gets to be a problem when your daughter thinks the show is actually titled “Boots Dora”. Boots appears on very few pieces of clothing. In fact, last year my daughter was so particular about her “Boots Dora” apparel that if someone got her a Dora shirt without Boots on it, she’d refuse to wear it.
When my daughter was wearing pull-ups, the industry’s apparent lack of concern over the appearance of Boots caused some major issues at our house. Boots was on the back of about half of the Pampers Easy-Ups. If Boots wasn’t on the back of her diaper, my daughter REFUSED to put it on. She refused to wear other brands as well. She is very picky about what she puts on her butt, apparently. So I ended up drawing Boots Monkey on the back of hundreds of Easy-Ups. Whenever we’d buy a new case of Easy-Ups, I knew I had a major art project ahead of me. I literally spent hours making sure there was always a Boots on her butt.
I got so irrate over this that I actually wrote an angry email to Pampers begging them to get more consistent about whether Boots is on the back of the Easy-Up or not. There was no good reason for him not to be on every single diaper! I got back an email that I would have to get my “idea” copyrighted for them to consider a “design change”. I was livid. It wasn’t a design change! I wasn’t looking for money! It was a simple request to just put the damn monkey on the back of every diaper so I could stop drawing! Surely my kid isn’t the only one who wants to see him there?
Apparently she wasn’t because Boots now seems to be on the back of each diaper. Go figure. No copyright or anything. (Maybe I should have gotten that copyright? Money? But I wanted the same design, just on every diaper instead of just half of them?)
I don’t think I’m insane to want to see more Boots products in the stores. I think most kids would love to have a 12-inch Boots Monkey to play with their 12-inch Dora. What fun is a Dora doll without a Boots Monkey?
It makes me wonder if the toy and clothing industry representatives who design and distribute Dora merchandise have ever actually watched the show. I think watching the show is an important part of doing your job as a person who designs and sells Dora products. If they actually watched the show, we’d have access to far more Boots products as well as plenty of things for Boots and Dora’s multitude of sidekicks. We would love to see more Benny the Bull products in this house!
So, toy/clothing/diaper industry people, if you are listening, just remember, Boots is not a sidekick. He’s a very important main character for most of the “Boots Dora” viewing audience. Give us more Boots stuff!
And you had better leave Boots on the back of every diaper or I have a Sharpie pen with your name on it. I’m out of the diaper drawing business! (Please start putting him on underwear too.)
Tell me I’m not alone in this outrage that is the lack of Boots Monkey merchandise! Maybe we should start a petition? Just kidding. Sort of.