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"D.W.'s Library Card"
Season/Series: 4
Number in season: 1a
Original Airdate: United States October 4, 1999[1]
Canada January 17, 2000[2]
Written by: Peter K. Hirsch
Storyboard by: Mario Cabrera
"The Long, Dull Winter"
"Arthur's Big Hit"
Read transcript

"D.W.'s Library Card" is the first half of the first episode in the fourth season of Arthur. It was later adapted into the book D.W.'s Library Card.


When D.W. discovers that she can get her library card, she rejoices at the world of books waiting for her. (Now if only she could sign her name to get the card in the first place...)[3]


To start the episode, Arthur explains to the viewers that he loves coming to the library and what he likes most about it is how quiet it is. D.W. then comes in and starts pestering her brother, which leads to him saying, "Except on the days when I have to bring [my sister] with me."

D.W.'s Library Card

After Arthur tells D.W. to go pester someone else, she runs into Binky, who reads a book about the composer Frédéric Chopin to her. When Arthur comes by to get his sister, Binky tries to cover up what he was reading by claiming he was telling D.W. the story of "Choppin'", a karate master. After they leave Binky and walk past a cart with lots of books on it, D.W. sees a book called Hopalong the Frog, which interests her. D.W. asks her brother to check out the book for her on his library card, but he refuses, not wanting to check out what he considers a "baby book" on his card. After he puts the book back where D.W. found it, she says that sooner or later, she will have her very own library card and check out whatever book she wants.

Eventually, D.W. goes to watch one of Mr. Ratburn's puppet shows with her fellow preschoolers, and after the show ends, D.W. asks Ms. Turner, the librarian when she and her classmates will be old enough to get their library cards. Ms. Turner explains to her that she and her classmates are old enough to have their library cards. This gets D.W. and the other kids excited, and when they ask how many cards they can have, Ms. Turner explains that the kids can each have one library card and that the only real requirement for them is that they have to be able to write their full names on the card.

Despite her initial excitement, D.W. gets worried about this last thing, as she doesn't know how to read or write. The Tibble twins brag that they know how to write their names, but D.W. expresses worry about how she'll be able to write out her full name ("Dora Winifred Read"), especially since hardly anyone (including herself) says it. The twins assure her that it's at least a lot simpler than having a name like "Aloysius Zimmerplotz" (who keeps running out of space every time he tries to write his name on a piece of paper).

As they're walking home from the library, D.W. brags to her brother about how once she gets her library card, she's going to check out whatever book she wants, with the first book being Hopalong the Frog. However, Arthur reminds his sister that she doesn't know how to read or write, but D.W. claims that she'll practice writing out her full name once they get home. D.W. soon gets to work doing so, but has great trouble with writing out her full name—her final attempt with writing out her full name ends with "DoBa Minifred ReaBed." While she and Arthur are later having dinner with their parents and Kate, D.W. complains to her parents about how she's been having trouble with writing out her full name for her upcoming library card. But Jane points out that D.W. has just written out "Dora Winifred" in the mashed potatoes that are part of her dinner. D.W. has David add more potatoes, and she adds her last name, "Read". When D.W. looks down at the potatoes, she realizes that she's spelled her name out perfectly, which gets her excited.

The next time D.W.'s at the library is for her and her classmates to get their first library cards. D.W. focused on practicing her writing out her full name while the rest of her classmates are in line to get their cards. After the Tibble twins get their cards, they bet that D.W. will end up messing up on writing her full name and end up not getting her library card. D.W. confidently states that she's already written out her full name 100-times, but when she gets in line to get her card, she starts getting nervous about what the Tibbles said. As soon as she walks up to Ms. Turner's desk, she writes out her full name on the card, and finally gets her first library card, which she shows off to her mom and brother.

D.W. then goes to check out her first library book, which is Hopalong the Frog. However, when she goes to the place where she and Arthur last saw it, the book isn't there anymore. Arthur figures that the library workers probably just put it back on the shelves and suggests that they just go ask about it at the front desk. They do so, and Ms. Turner explains to them that someone has already checked out the book and that Hopalong the Frog won't come back for at least a week. The librarian admits that it might come back sooner, but the due date for it is next Saturday.

D.W.'s ultimately forced to leave the library and wait for the book to come back, during which she pesters Ms. Turner about it. On the night before the book is due, D.W.'s pestering her brother about her worries about not being able to check out Hopalong the Frog, but Arthur says that the book is due in twelve hours. The next morning, D.W. wakes up Arthur at 6:30 and tells him that she wants to get to the library as soon as it opens. Once they get to the library after it opens, D.W. once again asks if Hopalong the Frog has been returned yet. When Ms. Turner explains that it still hasn't been returned and admits that it might end up being late (meaning that it might not be returned until the next day or even later), D.W. gets mad. Arthur points out that D.W. could just check out a different book, but D.W. claims that she only wants to check out Hopalong the Frog. Though Arthur's tempted to just leave D.W. at the library by herself, he ultimately stays with her while she waits for her book to be returned because she said she'll just tell Jane that he left her alone.

While D.W.'s hiding behind some bookshelves, she's spying on the front desk for people who're returning books. When she finds Aloysius Zimmerplotz walking up to the desk with a book, D.W. rushes over and asks him if it's a book on frogs. He responds by saying it's called Chippy the Choo-Choo.

D.W. is afraid that Hopalong the Frog might never come back, and then the Tibble Twins greet D.W., and she rushes over to them and discovers that they are the ones who had checked out Hopalong the Frog, and are now returning it. D.W. thinks they damaged the book, but Ms. Turner points out that the book was in that condition before the Tibble Twins checked it out, because the book is old.

The Tibble Twins tell D.W. that they would never damage a library book and that D.W.'s library card might be revoked if she does. Then Ms. Turner scans the book for D.W. along with her library card and makes D.W. a promise to take good care of the book.

D.W. then imagines herself getting ready to read the book, but then accidentally tearing off the front cover. After putting the cover back on, the book crumbles up and turns into a cyclone, and sends D.W. back to the library.

Back at the library, it is not just a library, but rather a library courtroom, with stalactites hanging from the ceiling. An evil Ms. Turner then reprimands D.W. for damaging books, says that she will never have another library card again, and then stamps D.W.'s library card with a large red X-mark.

D.W. is standing in front of the desk that is at the height of a judge's podium and complains that she worked so hard to get the library card, and then the Tibble Twins walk by with a stack of books and taunt D.W. that there are more books for them. Then her evil brother Arthur walks by and insults her by telling her that he told her she couldn't have a library card. Then D.W. falls to her knees and starts to cry that it isn't fair what happened.

Back at home, D.W. is in her room, still worried about the book's condition. Arthur then walks into her room and thinks she will bother him all night to make him read her Hopalong the Frog, so he says they should get it over with.

D.W. then hides the book and claims that Arthur has already done enough for her. Then the days pass by from Saturday the 12th until Saturday the 19th. As D.W. is eating her breakfast, Arthur reminds her it is Saturday, and time to return the book. D.W. seems to be relieved at this news.

D.W. then rushes back to her room to find the book, which she has hidden in a box and covered with one of her blankets. She puts on oven mitts before holding the book. Arthur comes in and questions what D.W. is doing. D.W. says she was too afraid to open the book; it could fall apart and that she might lose her library card. Arthur tells her that he will open the book for her, and does so.

Arthur then finds out he checked out Hopalong the Frog when he was D.W.'s age after he learned to write his name, and then tells D.W. it was the first book he ever checked out. He imagines his younger self (before he got glasses) saying it was his first book.

Arthur then admits that Hopalong the Frog is not a baby book, but he loved the book when he was in preschool, and that it's fun to read to little kids.

Arthur then starts reading the book to D.W., and after reading the whole book, D.W. starts crying. Arthur says it was a happy story and asks if D.W. liked it or not. D.W. says she did like the book, and that she is sad she now needs to return the book. Arthur points out that it is possible to renew the book.

Arthur and D.W. return to the library, and D.W. gets Hopalong the Frog renewed, and then she tells Ms. Turner that Arthur is going to read her the book twice a day, and she will continuously renew the book as many times as possible. Arthur does not like the sound of this, and questions what he has done.






  • First episode to use the 1999-2013 PBS KIDS logo.
  • This is the first episode to use digital ink and paint.
  • The library cards depicted in this episode feature a book with wings, but in "Arthur's Almost Live Not Real Music Festival", the cards included a picture of the cardholder. This may have been to avoid spending time on a scene in which D.W. and the other children had to have their photos taken for their cards. (In reality, library cards in the United States are not typically also photo IDs.)
  • A screenshot from this episode is featured in the picture book If All the Animals Came Inside, which was written by Eric Pinder, but illustrated by Marc Brown. In the scene in question, the main character of the book is in his living room with several rhinoceroses, and he states "The rhinos downstairs would be watching TV. They'd stand in the way and leave no more room for me!". The television shows D.W. with Arthur, reading Hopalong the Frog.
  • This is the first episode D.W. says her full name herself, even though she still prefers her initial name, and she learns how to spell it herself for her library card.
  • According to the calendar in Arthur's room, this episode takes place in September.

Cultural references[]

  • When D.W. looks on the shelf for Hopalong the Frog, you can see a book called "Pete Rabbit", obviously referencing "Peter Rabbit"; and a book called "The Life and Times of Marc Brown".
  • The book D.W. found that was titled The Red Dog is partly a reference to Clifford the Big Red Dog, which itself was adapted as a television series for PBS Kids. It also references an actual book, The Red Wolf (Endangered in America) by Alvin, Virginia, and Robert Silverstein, which appears in the "A Word from Us Kids" interstitial for this episode.

Episode connections[]


  • At the beginning when D.W. has the book "The Red Dog," the dog on the cover is mistakenly colored brown instead of red.
  • While Arthur is wearing his black jacket, the yellow sweater that he usually wears is missing whenever the jacket is seen partially unzipped.

Production notes[]

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