Category Archives: Dora

TV Tuesday: There’s No Swiping on Christmas

If you have a 3 year old, you’ve probably seen the Dora Christmas Carol episode at least once since its debut last year. It was on tv at least twice today alone. As part of my insane dedication to this blog, today I actually turned it on and half paid attention. I stopped paying attention to Dora a long time ago, so this is a big deal. Here are my observations:

*Santa punishes Swiper for swiping on Christmas. Swiper ultimately agrees to stop swiping… but apparently only on Christmas? In all the new episodes since this episode aired, Swiper is still swiping. I guess it’s only bad to swipe when it’s Christmas, otherwise steal away! Santa doesn’t care!

*When Dora and Swiper travel to the past, all of the characters are exactly the same age, including the Grumpy Old Troll. How old could the troll be if he was a baby at the same time as Dora, Boots and the gang? While he’s a baby, the Grumpy Old Troll sings the Grumpy Old Troll theme song. This makes no sense because he’s a baby. He should sing “I’m a Grumpy Baby Troll” at that point.

*When they go to the future, all the characters have aged at the same rate except for Swiper who is sporting an old man beard. Apparently foxes age exponentially faster than squirrels, iguanas, monkeys, bulls, trolls and people.

*Future Dora’s head is about half the width of current pumpkin head Dora. I guess as she grows up, her head will shrink. While it works in her favor, it’s weird. You’d think this would make her lose brain cells.

*Santa talking at the beginning and end of the episode was kind of creepy.

*Swiper contemplates swiping a bone from a dog when in a prior episode it’s revealed that Swiper loves dogs, owns Dora’s dog’s twin and would never ever swipe from a dog. I guess he forgot about on Christmas.

*Swiper learns the meaning of Christmas: making sure you get a lot of presents from Santa by being good on Christmas Day only. (He also learned to share, but again that seems to have been a one time thing.)

I much prefer the “Wonder Pets” Christmas episode where they end up using all the gifts they gave each other to help save a baby reindeer. Santa repays them for their good deed by giving them back the very presents they lost, only better.



Filed under Dora, TV Tuesdays

Watch Out on Those Dollhouse Purchases

I’ve written before about how Boots doesn’t come with the Dora Magical Welcome House and the trauma this caused to my then 2-year-old. Another mom, Katie, has sent in pictures of an advertisement for the Dora Windows Surprise Dollhouse.

Looks like it comes with a bunch of stuff, right? I mean, you’d think a plastic dollhouse would come with a couple of accessories. Well, be careful. As I learned with our Dora’s Magical Welcome dollhouse, they aren’t even thoughtful enough to include Boots in the dollhouse– only Dora. Check out this product description from Amazon:

“Included are a Dora figure and a couch but you can add on and decorate your dollhouse with additional figures, furniture and accessories (each sold separately).”

So, you get a couch and a Dora. Woo hoo! Fun times playing with Dora talking to herself and sitting on a couch only.

Take a look at the Boots accessory pack you can buy separately:

A couple of things bother me about this. A) Why does Boots always come with Isa instead of Dora? Boots and Isa very rarely talk and they certainly don’t go together more than Boots goes with Dora. If anything, Isa and Tico should be sold together, not Boots and Isa. B) Why the hell is Boots wearing a raincoat?!

I am again insulted for Boots.

But I really wrote this to remind you as you do your holiday shopping to read the labels carefully. I know on our Magical Welcome Dollhouse the packaging was designed to make it look like it included all the characters and a bunch of furniture. It didn’t. From what I can tell from these pictures, the packaging for the Windows Surprise house is similarly misleading.

In short, good luck out there! I hope when your kids open their toys this holiday season, there are no meltdowns resulting in a week-long search for the figurine of a secondary tv character.


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Filed under Dora, Toy Industry Rant

TV Tuesday: Again?

On Monday at 9 a.m., Dora went blueberry hunting with Boots.

On Tuesday at 9 a.m., Dora helped the Wizzle wish his way home.

On Wednesday at 9 a.m., Dora went blueberry hunting with Boots.

On Thursday at 9 a.m., Dora helped Boots chase his boot down the river.

On Friday at 9 a.m., Dora helped wish the Wizzle home.

This wasn’t actually what was on tv this week, but this scenario plays out far too often with children’s television. There are dozens and dozens of Dora episodes, but in a given week, even in the exact same time slot, they’ll play maybe 3 of them. The next week, you’ll probably see a repeat at the same time as well.

I understand children enjoy repetition, but it seems insane that two or more of the same episodes should repeat in the same time slot within a given week. There are so many more choices and so many more options. It’s not just Dora this happens with. I’ve probably seem only about five episodes of “Word World” and “Sid the Science Kid”. I know more exist, but the same five recirculate and recirculate repeatedly even within the same week. I should not be watching the same episode on Thursday that I saw on Monday in the same time slot.

Do the programmers just not care if the same episode plays over and over again? Or is this a calculated thing since kids like repetition? I’m not sure. There are a limited amount of episodes so it’s not like we wouldn’t get the repetition if the same “Little Bill” episode didn’t play three times in one week. We’d still be able to see that episode at least 3 times in a month if every episode of the show were played over the course of the month.

There are some episodes of Dora I’ve seen hundreds of times and others that exist that I’ve only seen playing once. What is up with that? Why not cycle through all of the material? Why leave all that untapped Dora entertainment out there and force us to watch the berry hunt over and over and over again? Are the other episodes not as good? Is there really any difference?

I often ignore the tv when children’s television is on these days, but on days when Lily forces me to sit with her while she’s watching tv, I’d really like to not have to watch the same three episodes of the same show, especially with “Word World”, which I actually enjoy watching because it’s super cute. But seriously, how many times do I have to see them struggling to figure out how to spell “pie”? Where are the other episodes? Where?!

I can accept the fact that not many new episodes are made in a year… sort of. It seems like given the popularity of some of these shows, they should make more of them to keep up the kids’ interest, but what do I know? But I just don’t get the ridiculous amount of repetition. And I never will. I will just suffer in silent misery like the rest of the parents out there, wishing they would cycle through at least 10 episodes of Dora before I was forced to watch the Wizzle episode again.



Filed under Dora, TV Tuesdays

TV Tuesday: Swiper, No Swiping

Has there ever been a foe more stupid than Swiper the Fox? I don’t understand why Boots and Dora worry about Swiper. Most of the time he is forced to stop his swiping ways if they are able to say “Swiper, no swiping!” three times. What sort of life lesson does that teach children? Can you imagine your daughter as an adult yelling “Mugger, no mugging!” three times while someone is snatching her purse? Our kids are going to be so disappointed when this doesn’t work.

If Swiper does manage to swipe, he just throws his goods into the bushes and Dora and Boots are able to reclaim it after a short hunt. Why go to the bother of stealing someone else’s stuff if you aren’t even going to use it? Is it just for the thrill of the steal?

Not that I want much danger in my children’s tv, but if Swiper is going to be a thieving villain, I want him to be an actual menace. I want Dora and Boots to do something legitimate to prevent Swiper from stealing from them. Short of that, if Swiper actually succeeds in swiping, he should keep the loot! Instead, we have this lame villain.

It’s fun to yell “Swiper, no swiping” and to hunt for missing items, I just wish there were actual consequences to Swiper’s thieving ways.


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Kids Play: Woof Woof Backpack

After we got our Build-a-Bear (aka Woof Woof the Puppy), my daughter Lily became obsessed with the online game at I must admit I can’t blame her for loving the game. We got to design a player that looks just like her and a puppy identical to hers rides around in her backpack while her avatar explores Buildabearville.

Ever since the first time we played this game (or rather I played the game and she watched. She was only 2 1/2 when we started doing this), she has been imitating it by stuffing Woof Woof the Build-a-Puppy into a backpack and carrying her with her wherever she goes. Woof Woof’s head must stick out of the backpack and her tummy must touch Lily’s back, just like in the game.

If that weren’t hilariously cute enough, she has crossed her characters. She thinks that if she’s carrying a backpack like Dora, she should also have a map. For a long time, she claimed Woof Woof’s “birth certificate” was a map and wandered around with that. That “map” didn’t last long, so we got her a laminated USA map placemat instead. She constantly carries Woof Woof in the backpack while investigating her map on where to go next. Usually, she talks about flying to California, which doesn’t sound like a bad plan to me.

Sometimes while we are out, people confuse the map for the placemat it technically is. In picnic table situations, it seems like I’ve been brilliant, but truthfully that map has been so many places that the picnic table is probably cleaner! I can’t tell you how many times we’ve almost lost Woof Woof, backpack or map, but somehow we’ve managed to hold on to all three for the past six months!

What bizarre things do your kids do with their toys? Share your stories on this blog by emailing them to


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Filed under Build-a-Bear, Dora, stuffed animals

Voice of Dora Sues Nickelodeon

I just read in this article that Caitlin Sanchez, the voice of Dora starting in 2007, is suing Nickelodeon for what she claims is an unfair contract. Sanchez is 14 and Nickelodeon claims her voice matured too much to continue the part.

What interesting timing considering my TV Tuesday post about the inconsistency of Diego’s voice. I swear I had no idea that this was going on when I wrote my previous post, but thought the readers of this blog should see the “Dora” article if they haven’t already.


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Filed under Dora, Go Diego! Go!

TV Tuesday: What’s Up with Diego’s Voice?

The first time I watched a Diego crossover episode “Dora the Explorer”, I thought I was losing my mind. Diego showed up on the screen, which was fun and all to see him out of context. Everything was great until he spoke.

I don’t know who that was supposed to be, but it wasn’t Diego! Diego on “Dora” sounds so different from Diego on “Go Diego! Go!” that it’s almost like someone cloned Diego or stole his soul and sent him to “Dora”. He might look like Diego, but the proof of his being a clone, possessed or a zombie is the voice.

It might look like Diego, but it’s not him! It’s not! It’s creepy to hear him speak in that other voice.

For the last year and a half, I’ve been upset over this Diego mystery. I just didn’t understand why Nickelodeon wouldn’t have Diego’s actor go do the guest spots on “Dora”. It’s not like his show was on another network that would cause it to be a breech of contract. I just didn’t get it! They should have at least found an actor who sounded remotely like Diego to fill in for him over on “Dora”. Or not done the episodes at all. Something.

Well, never fear, for the sanity of my Kids Play the Darndest Things readers (or at least myself. I doubt anyone else cares much or even noticed) I have done some research. The reason Diego sounded possessed in that episode is that the first several times he appeared on “Dora”, his show wasn’t even released yet. He started appearing on Dora in 2003. Jake T. Austin, the actor that played Diego on “Go Diego! Go!” from 2005-2008, wasn’t playing him yet.

That explains an awful lot.

I’d also noticed that Diego sounded a little bit different lately. Not as disembodied as he does on “Dora” episodes, but just not quite like himself.

Sure enough, a new actor took over Diego’s voice in 2008. He’s currently voiced by Brandon Zambrano. I must say, they did a much better job matching voices this time around. I’m not nearly as disturbed by the new voice as I am by the old voice.

I still don’t understand why the original Diego voice had to be so completely different than what his voice is on “Go Diego! Go!” when they know they rerun the episodes in such abundance, but I guess I’ll survive.

Please tell me I am not the only one who obsesses over cartoon voices.



Filed under Dora, Go Diego! Go!, TV Tuesdays

Toy Industry Rant: Where is Boots Monkey?!

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.



Filed under diapers, Dora, Pampers, Toy Industry Rant

Kids Play: The Secret Bear

This may look like an ordinary (Dora) dollhouse bed, but it contains a secret.

It has a secret trunk compartment. You press a button on the pillow, and this trunk pops out.

If you were 3 years old and faced with a tiny hidden compartment to a dollhouse bed, what would you do with it? That’s right, you’d put some “treasure” in it. In this case, the “treasure” is the bear that came with the Diego action figure.

That bear is never NOT in that compartment. It is where he lives, with the trunk pushed back into the bed. It always amuses me to pop the trunk out, open it and find this tiny little bear surprise inside it!

If you take the bear out and put him somewhere else, my daughter will find him and put him back immediately.

What quirky and funny things do your children do with their toys? Please submit your pictures, videos and stories to


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Filed under Dora, Unusual uses

Kids Play: Proper Watercolor Technique

Proper watercolor technique includes completely demolishing the picture you are painting by using lots of water and pressing down HARD.

Send your amusing pictures and videos of your kids playing to for publication on this blog.


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Filed under arts and crafts, Dora