Dot and Dash

The Dot and Dash Series
by Mildred A. Wirt (as Dorothy West)

The little girl seldom went anywhere without her dog.  In fact, they were seen together so often that neighbors who lived near the Davidson place usually spoke of "Dot and Dash" as if they were one person.

                                                         —page 3, Dot and Dash at Happy Hollow

The five volume Dot and Dash series was written by Mildred A. Wirt Benson under the pseudonym of Dorothy West.  The series was published by Cupples and Leon from 1938 to 1940.  The series is aimed at younger girls from 6 to 10 years of age.
Titles in the Dot and Dash Series:

  1. Dot and Dash at the Maple Sugar Camp, 1938
  2. Dot and Dash at Happy Hollow, 1938
  3. Dot and Dash in the North Woods, 1938
  4. Dot and Dash in the Pumpkin Patch, 1939
  5. Dot and Dash at the Seashore, 1940

The main character is Dorothy "Dot" Davidson.  Dot is 6 years old during the first volume and turns 7 at the end of the story.  Dot purchases a black and white terrier at an auction and names him Dash.  Dot and Dash are inseparable from that point on and share many exciting adventures.  Dot's neighbor, Roger, is also a frequent participant in Dot and Dash's adventures.

The Davidson family's housekeeper is Mrs. Green, a name that is interestingly similar to the name of Nancy Drew's housekeeper, Mrs. Gruen.  Mildred Wirt Benson frequently placed sly references to the Nancy Drew series in her various writings.  Benson wrote as Carolyn Keene for the Nancy Drew series during the same time that she wrote the Dot and Dash series.

Pictured at the left is part of a letter from Arthur T. Leon of Cupples and Leon to Mildred Wirt Benson.  The final paragraph states "I might also mention that we have decided to use the name "DOROTHY WEST" on the DOT AND DASH SERIES and if for any reason this does not appeal to you, please wire us on receipt of this, as we are now setting up some advertising plates with this name on them."

Click on the image to view a larger version of the image.

Dust Jacket Gallery

  #1 Dot and Dash at the Maple Sugar Camp                        1938
Dorothy "Dot" Davidson visits Mrs. Harrison out in the country while her father, Dr. Davidson, takes care of a patient.  Mrs. Harrison is having an auction sale, and Dot eagerly watches.  Dot soon sees a dog that is to be sold.  Dot immediately falls in love with the dog and wants to buy him.  Sadly, Dot only has 20¢ and bids that amount.  Mrs. Harrison lets Dot have the dog, and Dot names him Dash.

Dot also takes home a peacock as a gift from Mrs. Harrison and names the peacock Peeky.  Dot has great fun with her two new pets, but soon Mrs. Davidson requires medical attention for a lingering illness.  Dot and Dash go to Vermont to visit Uncle Jack and Aunt Betty at their maple sugar farm.  Dot greatly enjoys helping Uncle Jack with the syrup until she falls ill from eating too much maple sugar.  Later, Dot helps Aunt Betty sell maple sugar out at the main road, but disaster strikes when a man leaves with a jar of sugar and doesn't pay!  Dot feels responsible for the loss and spends much time watching for the strange man.

Dot and Dash at the Maple Sugar Camp
Dot and her uncle went from tree to tree emptying the pails of sap.
In time, Dot finally spots the man and waits for him in his car.  Dot falls asleep, and the man unknowingly drives hundreds of miles with Dot asleep in the floor.  Dot's adventure comes to a surprising ending, and days later, Dot returns home with her father and her mother, who is now recovering from her illness.
  #2 Dot and Dash at Happy Hollow                                      1938
A pony ride for 50¢!  Slim the cowboy is in Dot's neighborhood offering children the chance to ride his pony, Diamond, for 50 cents.  Dot and her friend, Roger, each ride the pony.  Unexpectedly, Slim falls ill and collapses from lack of food.  Dr. Davidson has Slim brought to the Davidson home where he ministers to Slim.  As Slim recovers, he mentions how he came east from the Happy Hollow Ranch to seek his fortune and learned a bit too late that his plan was a bad idea.

Dr. Davidson suggests that Slim return to the ranch, but Slim has no money for the trip.  Dr. Davidson hires Slim to do extra jobs around the home, and Slim gradually earns enough money for the trip.  Dot and Roger help out by planning a circus to raise money for Diamond to make the trip.

The Davidsons travel west with Slim for a vacation at Happy Hollow.  Dot makes friends with the rancher's daughter, Susan, and the two ride together and try to lasso horses.  It is all great fun until both Dash and Diamond go missing!

Dot and Dash at Happy Hollow
Behind the children came the cowboy riders.
Days pass with no sign of the missing animals.  Search parties turn up nothing.  Finally, a young Mexican lad furnishes a clue that leads to a happy ending.
  #3 Dot and Dash in the North Woods                                 1938
A chance encounter at a railroad crossing indirectly leads to Dot Davidson's next adventure.  Dot meets Mr. Andon, vice president of the railroad, and has lunch with him.  When Mr. Davidson comes looking for Dot, he and Mr. Andon speak of how they both love fishing, and Mr. Andon invites the Davidsons to his property up north.

After some thought, Mr. Davidson decides that he can afford to take another vacation.  The plan is to camp somewhere near Mr. Andon's property up north.  Dot's friend, Roger, gets to make the trip as well.   The family purchases all of the necessary supplies, including a new tent.

The Davidsons have their share of troubles after their arrival.  An unfriendly man warns them away from a stretch of woods; Dash's impulsiveness causes endless problems; and a storm drenches the entire family.  Mr. Andon has his own problem:  his cook, George, has run away! 

Dot and Dash in the North Woods
"You've hooked one!" exclaimed the doctor.
Mrs. Davidson agrees to cook for Mr. Andon, and in return, the family stays in Mr. Andon's comfortable lodge.  The only thing that Dot and Roger need in order to make their trip perfect is a ride in Mr. Andon's fast boat.  In time, the children provide valuable information to Mr. Andon and are rewarded with a trip in his boat.
  #4 Dot and Dash in the Pumpkin Patch                             1939
Roger Wing has his heart set on buying a huge pumpkin so that he can make a scary Jack-o-lantern.  Roger and Dot buy a nice pumpkin that gets smashed and later another pumpkin that is accidentally baked into a pumpkin pie.  When the friends try to obtain a third pumpkin, they are unable to locate any nice ones to purchase.

The problem is solved when Mrs. Green announces a trip to her cousin's farm, and both Dot and Roger are invited!  Mr. Siefert, or Uncle Jim, has dozens of pumpkins, and the children can choose as many as they want!  The children have a glorious time finding a pumpkin, and during their search they meet a tramp.  Joe needs a job and gets one at the Siefert farm.

Meanwhile, the children go to town with Uncle Jim and make the acquaintance of Mr. Silas Stovely, the watch repairman.  Old Stovely is a crosspatch who hates children and dogs.

Dot and Dash in the Pumpkin Patch
The man jumped off the moving train.
After Mr. Stovely is particularly rude one day, Dot and Roger decide to scare him with a jack-o-lantern late one night.  The children's prank does not turn out at all as they planned.  Dot and Roger learn a valuable lesson about prematurely judging people, and at the same time, help to bring happiness to old Mr. Stovely.
  #5 Dot and Dash at the Seashore                                       1940
The hot weather has everyone in a bad mood, so Dr. Davidson takes another vacation, this time to the seashore.  Roger gets to go with the Davidsons, so he and Dot are guaranteed to have fun on the trip.  After the family arrives at the hotel, they are told that Dash must be housed in the kennel, much to Dot's distress.

At first, Dash appears to be happy in his new home, but after a few days, Dash begins to act sluggish and uninterested in Dot.  Could Dash be sick?  The children are too busy with their new adventures to pay much attention to Dash.

One day, Dot goes to visit Dash at the kennel and discovers him missing!  Dot sleeps very little that night wondering if she will ever see Dash again.  Curiously, Dash mysteriously reappears the next morning acting more listless than ever.  Dot checks on Dash more frequently and soon notices that Dash disappears every night and reappears the next morning!

Dot and Dash at the Seashore
"Do you want to play with my sailboat?" asked Ellen Mary.
Soon, Dot and Roger learn that the cook has been borrowing Dash each night for his crippled daughter, Ellen Mary.  As much as Dot loves Dash, she now faces the dilemma of whether she should give up her beloved dog to Ellen Mary.  Fortunately, Mr. Davidson finds a solution that leaves everyone content, and the Davidson family returns home from another wonderful vacation.
Back to Mildred Wirt Benson's Stories and Novels for Children
Back to Main Page