Dora the Explorer is the Hispanic title character in an animated cartoon for children. Dora made her premiere in 1999 on Nickelodeon, and by the year 2000 her show had become a network staple. In 2005, she became the first Hispanic character balloon to grace the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Dora is a cheerful, energetic and enthusiastic child with a wide circle of friends and a close and loving family. Each episode finds her character embarking on a mission to do a good deed or to help a friend. The mission usually consists of Dora going to three specific locations where she must find things or complete certain tasks. Sometimes Dora requests help from the audience to locate missing objects or to handle a situation. Needless to say, all of her adventures end in success.
At the end of each show, Dora and her supporters celebrate their victory and encourage the people watching the show to think about their favorite part of the day's adventure.
Dora is usually accompanied by her best friend Boots, a monkey. She is also aided in her quest by her magic purple backpack and her wise geography-savvy singing map. Other minor characters often put in helpful appearances as well.
All heroines, of course, must have an enemy to oppose them. Dora's rather benign enemy is Swiper, who does his best to swipe the objects Dora needs to find to complete her quest. (hence his name). Swiper is portrayed as more annoying than evil and can sometimes be talked into returning stolen items or even performing a helpful act like rescuing a puppy.
The animation is bright, and the simple plotlines and catchy tunes are designed to delight children (and their parents) while passing along important messages about appreciating different cultures, valuing friends and family, and being willing to work to reach a goal.
Dora is quite popular in with children in the United States. She has also become world famous. Dora the Explorer is broadcast in countries from China to Greece to Spain. There is even a Hebrew version.
Dora the Explorer is frequently seen on merchandise as well. Her face graces backpacks, shirts, jackets, shoes, hats, and jewelry. She is also the star of multiple video games including Backpack Adventure, Super Spies, and Dora the Explorer's World Adventure. Unfortunately, many Dora-themed toys are manufactured in China and were affected by the lead-based paint recall.
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