Dora The Explorer
Valerie Walsh Valdes
No. of seasons
No. of episodes
August 14th, 2000 - present
Dora the Explorer is an American animated television series created by Chris Gifford, Valerie Walsh and Eric Jose Zelaya. A pilot episode for the series aired in 1999, and Dora the Explorer became a regular series in 2000. The show is carried on Nickelodeon on the Nick Jr. block and the Nick Jr. channel. It aired on CBS until September 2006. A Spanish-dubbed version first aired as part of a Nick en español block on NBC Universal-owned Telemundo through September 2006; since April 2008, this version of the program has been carried on Univision as part of the Planeta U block.
Dora, the main character, is an adorable, sweet and tomboyishly beautiful 7-8 year old girl who embarks on a trip in every episode in order to find something or help somebody. She asks the viewers at home to help her find new ways to reach places with the help of Map. She also teaches viewers Spanish, introducing them to short words and phrases.
Dora has a positive view of the characters she meets, failing even to hold a grudge against the mischievous fox, Swiper, who continually attempts to steal items from her party. She acts against villains only when it seems that compromise is impossible, and even in these cases despite her cuteness, sweetness and beauty, fails to display actual anger. She gives others a chance to try their hands at tasks even when she herself might have an easier time with them. Dora values her family, whom she loves openly, though she spends little time indoors at home with them. She tries to introduce her traditions and customs, subtly and without compulsion, to those who are not familiar with them.
Dora is fond of Boots, who became her best friend when she saved his beloved red boots from being swiped by Swiper.
Dora enjoys sports. She played on a baseball team with Boots and her other friends and was coached by her father (who has never been depicted as having other employment). She loves and excels at soccer.
Dora is a Latina. Early concepts of Dora had her as a blond girl of European ancestry. The character was originally based on a niece, Lilli, of Rick Velleu, one of the creators of the show.
Boots the Monkey
Boots the Monkey, whom Dora met one day in the forest, is her best friend. He is friendly and enthusiastic, and usually wears nothing but his beloved red boots, hence his name. He is blue with a yellow stomach. His parents look similar, with variations in eyes, height, clothing, and fur.
Boots is present with Dora on most of her adventures, and he helps her solve clues and puzzles. He also loves baseball and is on Dora's team. He enjoys riding Rojo the fire truck.
Boots is athletic and energetic. He performs a series of acrobatic flips, somersaults, and cartwheels along the way to their destination. His light weight also makes him easy to carry, even for Dora.
Without guidance from Dora, the viewer, or another character, Boots is quick to take his own, often dangerous or dead-ended, route. Dora often acts as the voice of reason.
Boots "loves" many things. In one episode, he would say many times "I love riddles. Call me 'Mr. Riddles'" or "I love nuts, I love chocolate, I love my ball, and I love, love, love...". Most importantly, however, Boots loves Dora and Dora loves him back, as expressed verbally and physically in numerous episodes. His devotion and love always has Boots more than willing to drop whatever he is doing at the moment for Dora. For her sake, he has even engaged in adventures on his own, assisted by the viewers.
Boots' vocabulary is limited but steadily increasing. Dora teaches him Spanish through memorable songs and phrases.
Boots was voiced by Harrison Chad in the original English version and then, from season five onwards, by Regan Mizrahi.
Swiper the Fox
Swiper is a sneaky fox in a blue mask and gloves, who is the antagonist of the TV series and appears in nearly every episode. He is voiced by Marc Weiner. As his name implies, Swiper steals or attempts to steal key items that help Dora on her adventures. Clever as he is, Swiper never manages to take Dora completely by surprise; an ominous "whisking" sound is always audible just prior to his appearances.
To prevent Swiper from success, Dora must repeat the phrase, "Swiper, no swiping!" three times. Usually she prevails, and Swiper slinks away, snapping his fingers and saying, "Oh, man!"; sometimes, however, Swiper gets to the item before Dora has a chance to repeat the phrase. He then gloats, "You're too late!" (and frequently "You'll never find it now! Ha, ha, ha!!").
Swiper's motive for theft is patently childish; he never seems actually to want the object he takes, since he almost immediately throws it away to hide it from Dora (prompting her to ask the audience to help her find it). Until recently, it was unclear if he swipes merely for the joy of swiping, or from a desire to annoy and frustrate Dora. Compounding the confusion is the fact that, given the right reason, for example, that the item in question is a present for Dora's puppy, he will return items he has taken, no matter how much effort he went through to get them. It is also shown that he rarely knows the full importance of what he has taken; for example, he had no idea the aforementioned gift was for Dora's puppy. In the episode "Dora Saves the Mermaids", he revealed that he "liked swiping." He has some kind of New York accent, and lives in a burrow on top of Blueberry Hill.
Swiper is very fast and agile, and something of a master of disguise. He seems to have a great deal of technical knowledge, as he has built a variety of vehicles and gadgets (including a remote-controlled robot butterfly) to help him swipe things. Most of the time, however, he simply relies on his natural stalking abilities (sometimes with the aid of a costume) to sneak up on Dora. In the early episodes he often "hid" by curling up into a ball, which neither Dora nor Boots ever recognized as Swiper; he apparently does not do this anymore.
He has only been seen once or twice without his mask, when the robot butterfly he built to swipe from Dora and Boots (in the episode "Dora's Got a Puppy") apparently malfunctioned; after they stopped the robot butterfly, it swiped his mask and gloves and kept them from him for a few humorous seconds.
None of Swiper's relatives has ever been seen, but his grandmother has been mentioned in two episodes: "A Letter For Swiper" and "Swiper the Explorer."
Over the course of the series, it is shown that there is more to Swiper's character than an urge to swipe things. In one episode it was revealed that Swiper has a soft spot for puppies, and in another that he likes Cowboy cookies. In a few episodes, he expresses feelings of joy with a fox-like cry of, "Yip-yip-yippee!" In the episode "A Letter For Swiper", Dora filled in for a delivery bird whose glasses were broken; Dora delivered stickers to Swiper (which were sent by his grandmother), and he thanked her for it without trying to swipe anything. In the episode "Swiper the Explorer", Swiper helps Dora on her quest to help Baby Fox find its mommy, and Swiper carries the baby fox almost all through the episode. Also in this episode, it is revealed that Swiper does not speak Spanish, and wishes that he did.
The interaction between Dora and the antagonistic fox also reveals the kindness and grace of Dora's character. In one episode, "Dora's Dance to the Rescue", Swiper took pity on a Dancing Elf who was caught in a magic bottle, similar to a genie. The elf tricked the sympathetic Swiper into removing the bottle's cork, thereby releasing the elf and his talking cane. Unfortunately, the wily fox was thereby entrapped in his place. Stuck and desperate, Swiper called out to Dora and Boots. The remainder of the episode chronicled an epic adventure involving most of the land's creatures, eventually ending with the release of Swiper after a dance contest. The episode was atypical as it involved many dances and songs, demonstrated a close, unconflicted relationship between Swiper and the other creatures, and had Dora refer to the elf in an uncharacteristically judgmental way ("mean Elf").
In this and several other episodes, Swiper finds himself captured, trapped, or in some sort of trouble. Despite his history of mean-spiritedness toward Dora, she demonstrates that the fox is her friend (which he doesn't find out until "Dora's World Adventure") and will always unquestioningly help Swiper just as she would her other friends, Benny, Isa, Boots, and Tico. If Dora needs his help he will come to her aid in the same manner.
Swiper is far from being unable to feel guilty for his actions. In the episode "A Present For Santa", Swiper returns the present that he swiped, upon discovering that it was for Santa. In the episode "Dora's World Adventure", Swiper helps Dora return the friendship bracelets he had swiped all over the world, and was shown to feel guilty once he discovered the magnitude of what he'd done and what he had stolen. During this time Swiper gets a taste of his own medicine, so to speak, as each country they visit has its own "Swiper", only of different species, who tries to steal the bracelets: Fifi the skunk in France, Sami the hyena in Tanzania, Fomkah the bear in Russia, and Ying Ying the weasel in China. All of them act and dress nearly identically to Swiper and are stopped in the same way he is: by saying their name, followed by "no swiping" three times. Then they run off, saying Swiper's catch phrase, "Ohh, maann" in the local language. Their entrances are also preluded by a sound, only with local music; e.g. Ying Ying has a chau gong playing.
Possibly the most pivotal episode of all for Swiper's character is the 2009 Christmas Special "Dora's Christmas Carol", where Swiper is clearly the protagonist, as well as the central character of the story. As the title suggests, Swiper goes on a personal journey similar to Ebenezer Scrooge in the Charles Dickens story "A Christmas Carol", with Dora at his side. In the story, after Santa notices Swiper stealing the star from his friends' giant Christmas Tree, Santa sadly moves Swiper's picture from his 'nice' list to his 'naughty' list. Swiper is devestated by the punishment and immediately vows that he'll do absolutely anything to change his ways so Santa will put him back on the 'nice' list. Before Santa leaves in his sleigh, Dora tells Santa that she believes Swiper can change and wants to help him. In return, Santa hands Dora a magical Christmas Card with four missing ornaments and a star to keep track of Swiper's progress. He also gives Dora and Swiper the assignment of time-traveling into the past as well as the future, where Swiper gets to make the choice of giving to others where he originally stole - even to the point of having to stop himself.
Swiper still has tiny, comical, compulsions and urges to swipe at various moments, but he resists. Ultimately, his quest brings him back to the present, and comes to a seemingly dead end, where Swiper feels he's failed, but in the midst of the moment, Swiper learns that despite all the times he's stolen things, Dora, Boots, Isa, Tico, and Benny still consider him a friend. "We care about you, Swiper!" Dora declares, and Swiper is deeply moved. Suddenly, he decides to freely give Dora, as a present, the stuffed bunny he played with when he was little, and Dora accepts it. After doing this, the star appears and Santa puts Swiper back on the 'nice' list. Swiper celebrates with all of his friends.
Whenever Dora and Boots are successful in a given portion of their quest (quests are usually divided into three portions), the Fiesta Trio appears from seemingly nowhere to congratulate Dora and celebrate for a brief few seconds with music. The Fiesta Trio is a group of three small animals: a grasshopper, a snail, and a frog. The trio are occasionally unable to complete their music as a result of something going on in the scene, such as when they are startled by a bear that is chasing Dora and Boots in one episode.
Dora's purple Backpack (originally voiced by Sasha Toro, and currently voiced by Alexandria Suarez beginning with the fifth season), provides whatever Dora needs to complete her quests. The backpack is a magic satchel, which has been known to produce large items, including multiple ladders, two complete space suits (one each for Dora and Boots) and other items that simply could not fit inside it. Backpack seems to have a lot of extra space within her fabric to be held in such a small area. It was given to Dora as a present by her mother and father. To make the Backpack open up, Dora asks the viewers at home to say "Backpack". The Backpack then sings a little introduction and asks the viewers at home to choose what Dora needs from among the Backpack's contents. Afterwards, the remaining contents go back into Backpack, who says, "Yum yum yum yum yum, ¡delicioso!" ("Delicious!")
The Map (voiced by Marc Weiner) provides travel guidance and advice. When not being consulted, the rolled-up Map resides in a side pocket on the Backpack; to make the Map come out, Dora asks the viewers at home to say "Map." This is the Map's cue to introduce himself to the audience with a repetitive song, which is short in some episodes and longer in others, and describe the path Dora has to take on her quest.
Usually the Map does not do anything more than the actions described above, but in a few episodes he plays a more active role, especially in the episode "Super Map"; the Map finds a small red cape that gives him Superman-like powers, and he uses them to help Dora on her current quest. Map inexplicably gives up the cape, and his super powers, at the end of the episode.
Isa the Iguana
Isa the Iguana is a very close friend of Dora's and an even closer friend of Boots. Isa is a skilled gardener and loves to grow mainly flowers of all kinds. She even presents her mom with a bouquet of flowers she grew herself as a Mother's Day gift.
At times, her problem solving skills prove to be invaluable for her friends and even herself made all the more disposal by her naturally acquired ability to blend into surroundings at will.
Isa also seems to have a bit of a crush on Boots, whom she knew long before she ever met Dora. She treats both Dora and Boots equally but Isa always greets Boots more shyly than Dora. She was first voiced by Ashley Flemming, and is now being done by Lenique Vincent, and is also voiced by Skai Jackson on some occasions.
Tico the Squirrel
Tico the Squirrel (who has been voiced by Muhammed Cunningham, Jose Zelaya and currently by Jean Carlos Celi) is a friend of Dora's who lives in the forest and who speaks Spanish and very rarely English (one occasion when he said "You're welcome" in English). He wears a colorful striped vest, and is usually seen driving his little yellow car, although he has been known to travel in a variety of vehicles, from helicopters to boats. He has purple fur, a round body, and small triangular stumps for arms and legs.
Tico's function on the show is to help Dora teach the audience words and phrases in Spanish; Dora has to tell Tico something in Spanish, such as "Faster" or "Look out", and she asks the viewers at home to say it along with her. In some episodes, a different Spanish-speaking character (such as Señor Tucán) appears instead of Tico.
In the episode "Dora's First Trip", it was established that Boots had been friends with Tico before Dora met either of them, despite the fact that Boots and Tico speak two different languages.
Benny the Bull
Benny the Bull (voiced by Jake Burbage until 2009, now by Matthew Gumley) is a friend of Dora's who lives in a barn, loves to eat, and often rides in a hot air balloon. He is mostly blue with little yellow horns, stands on his hind legs, is a little taller than Dora, and wears a blue bandanna with white polka dots around his neck.
Benny sometimes provides Dora with something that she needs on her current quest. In the episode "Swiper the Explorer", Dora needed something for the Baby Fox to drink, and Benny's picnic basket just happened to contain a carton of milk and a baby bottle ("Now, why did I pack that?"). In the episode "Dance to the Rescue", Dora and Boots needed fancy clothes to be allowed into King Bobo's castle, and Benny happened to have a gown and a bow tie in the basket of his balloon.
In the episode "Boots' Cuddly Dinosaur", Benny said that he can not sleep without nine dolls which he calls his "guys."
Despite having the same name, this character is not the same as the mascot of the Chicago Bulls.
Other recurring human characters include:
- Dora's dad (Papi).
- Dora's mom (Mami).
- Dora's grandma (Abuela).
- Dora's cousins (Diego, Daisy, and Alicia).
- Dora's twin baby brother and sister (Guillermo and Isabella).
- Dora's teacher
- Boots’ music teacher
- King Bobo
- Santa Claus
Recurring humanoid characters include:
There are a number of minor, recurring animal characters such as:
- Señor Tucán, this character only speaks Spanish
- The Big Red Chicken
- Pirate Parrot
- Baby Blue Bird
- Baby Jaguar, who does not speak (in this series) but seems to be just as intelligent as the other characters
- The Grumpy Old Troll, who requires Dora and her traveling partners to solve his riddle before crossing over his bridge
- Baby Crab, also Cangrejito
- Mama Bugga Bugga
- Wizzle, a cute creature who loves wishes
- Leon the Circus Lion
- Baby Dino the dinosaur
- Little Monster
- Baby Bear
- Baby Pingüino
- Little Lamb
- Pinto The Pony
- El Coquí
- Baby Red Fish
- Pirate Pig, who has an eyepatch and a hat
- Squishy Squid, he loves music and also playing bongoes.
- Friendly Bear
- Baby Fox
- Val the Octopus
- Little Kitten
- Friendly Dragon
- Sleeping Sloth
- Mountain Goat
- Banana Bird
- Fifi the Skunk
- Sami the Hyena
- Fomkah the Bear
- Ying Ying the Weasel
Additionally, the show features a number of anthropomorphic objects, such as locomotives, boats, and automobiles with speaking roles. In addition, some episodes include talking trees, gates and walls. Examples are:
- Azul the Blue Train
- Rojo the Fire Truck
- Chocolate Tree
- Arco Iris
- Roberto The Robot
- Gassy the Gas Pump
- Little Star
- El Autobus who appears only in the episodes "The Missing Piece" and "La Maestra de Musica"
- 10 Wheeler, a big truck that has 10 wheels
- Giant Crane
- Ice Cream Truck
- Tow Truck
- Ice Cream Cart
Newer episodes feature flying stars, which Dora and Boots catch and put into the star pocket on Backpack. The stars are always excited about going into the star pocket, which was shown in one episode to have much more space inside than one would think, similar to Backpack herself. Normally among these stars are one or more Explorer Stars, which have special powers that Dora uses to overcome obstacles.
- Artisa Star
- Baker Star – A job star that appears in "Job Day"
- Baseball Star – A job star that can turn into a baseball
- Comfy Star
- Cowgirl Star – A job star that appears in "Job Day"
- Disco Star – Seen only in "Super Star." Apparently only has party capabilities
- Gusty Star
- Glowy – Illuminates dark places and can melt goo with her hot rays
- Hero Star – Has super strength
- Helada Star
- Mega – When helped by Ultra and Supra, the stars have super strength
- Movie Star – A job star that appears in "Job Day"
- Navy Star – A job star that appears in "Job Day"
- Noisy Star – A loud star which can wake most things up. It has a horn on each of its 5 points
- Pointer Star – In the game "Super Star" stops children from getting lost
- Police Star – Policia, a job star, that directs pedestrian traffic
- Saltador – A star that can carry an object and have it jump the same height
- Spy Star – Can video-record what someone is doing, and play it back on a small TV-like screen on its face, wears a black hat and sunglasses.
- Supra – When helped by Ultra and Mega, the stars have super strength
- Switchy – Can change shape (i.e., star, circle, square, etc.) Originally named, "Morph"
- Tool Star – A star equipped with many tools
- Ultra – When helped by Supra and Mega, the stars have super strength
- Woo-Hoo – An adorable baby star with no apparent powers
Voices listed below are for the English language version.
Cast for 2002–2006
- Jake Burbage
- Harrison Chad
- Felipe Dieppa
- Elaine Del Valle
- Ashley Fleming
- Eileen Galindo
- Chris Gifford
- Kathleen Herles
- John Leguizamo
- Cheech Marin
- Ricardo Montalbán
- Esai Morales
- Amy Principe
- Irwin Reese
- Chita Rivera
- Antonia Rey
- Paul Rodriguez
- K.J. Sanchez
- Adam Sietz
- Sasha Toro
- Leslie Valdes
- Marc Weiner
- Jose Zelaya
Explorer Stars voices: Christiana Anbri Henry Gifford Katie Gifford Aisha Shickler Muhammed Cunningham Jose Zeleya
Cast for 2007–2010
- Caitlin Sanchez - Dora (terminated in October 2010 pending lawsuit)
- Regan Mizrahi - Boots
- Alexandria Suarez - Backpack
- Lenique Vincent - Isa the Iguana
- Jean Carlos Celi - Tico the Squirrel
- Marc Weiner - Swiper & Map
- Adam Seitz - Various
- Matt Gumley - Benny The Bull
Main article: List of Dora the Explorer episodes
- Dora's Mystery of the Missing Shoes (ISBN 978-1416938248)
A Lift-the-Flap Story
- Good Night, Dora!: A Lift-the-Flap Story (ISBN 978-0689847745)
- Where Is Boots?: A Lift-the-Flap Story (ISBN 978-0689847752)
- Let's Play Sports!: A Lift-the-Flap Story (ISBN 978-1416933502)
- All Dressed Up!: A Lift-the-Flap Book (ISBN 978-0689877186)
Treasury books and collection books
- Dora's Ready-to-Read Adventures (ISBN 978-0689878152)
Contains: Dora's picnic, Follow those feet, Dora in the deep sea, I love my Papi!, Say "Cheese"
- Dora's Storytime Collection (ISBN 978-0689866234)
Contains: Dora's Backpack, Little Star, Happy Birthday, Mami!, Meet Diego!, Dora Saves the Prince, Dora's Treasure Hunt, Good Night, Dora!
- Dora's Big Book of Stories (ISBN 978-1416907084)
Contains: Dora's Book of Manners, Dora Goes to School, Dora's Fairy-Tale Adventure, Dora's Chilly Day, Show Me Your Smile!, Dora's Pirate Adventure, Big Sister Dora!
DVDs and videos
Main article: List of Dora the Explorer videos