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"D.W. and the Beastly Birthday"
Original Airdate: United States May 29, 2017 [1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12]
United Kingdom December 25, 2018 (part 1)[13] and December 26, 2018 (part 2)[14]
Written by: Peter K. Hirsch
Storyboard by: Gerry Capelle
Bernie Denk
Olivier Migneron
Dev Ramsaran
Cilbur Rocha
"Special: Arthur - It's Only Rock 'n' Roll"
"Special: Arthur and the Haunted Tree House"
Read transcript

"D.W. and the Beastly Birthday" is a one-hour[15] special that premiered on May 29, 2017, on PBS.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12]


"Time to put on your party hats and dancing shoes - D.W. is turning five! When her birthday doesn't go as planned, D.W. runs away to the magical island of Ukubonga. Meanwhile, Arthur has skipped her birthday party to go on a school trip to the planetarium - but instead of transporting him into outer space, it transports him 4 years into the future! This is one party you don't want to miss."[16][17]


Real world

D.W. celebrates her fifth birthday with Emily, Bud and the Tibbles. She is angry because her birthday has not gone as expected. The weather is bad, she did not get the Fluff McGuffin doll she had been dropping hints about, Emily wore a prettier dress than her, Bud beat her at every game, and the Tibbles overdid it with whacking the piñata. Even the cake is wrong. She suggests playing Hide and Seek and when Timmy complains, she tells the others that it is her birthday and everyone has to do as she says. Bud is “it” and D.W. hides under the staircase with Nadine. Nadine asks where Arthur is.

Arthur is on a field trip to the planetarium and happy to avoid D.W.’s birthday. Ladonna disapproves, but Arthur tells her about D.W.’s fourth birthday where he had to give horsey rides to all the kids because D.W. said so. Ladonna agrees that was bad, but she is shocked to learn that Arthur bought a card dedicated to “the world’s best little brother” and forgot to buy a present. He plans to buy chocolate after the planetarium.

Meanwhile, D.W. wonders if the others have given up looking for her. To cheer her up, Nadine gives her a magic ticket to Ukubonga. She warns D.W. that the island will give her whatever she wants and that often turns out “not so great”.

Meanwhile, the big kids sit down in the planetarium's theater while Mr. Ratburn walks out to answer a call from Mr. Haney. Buster suggests traveling back in time to get D.W.’s present. Brain explains that you can only slow down time by moving very fast while everywhere else time would pass at its normal pace.

D.W.’s dream

D.W. reads the spell on the ticket and finds herself on a beach with a boat. She sails in the boat and is attacked by a giant octopus. When she says that it is her birthday, the octopus becomes obedient and carries D.W.’s boat.

Arthur’s dream

Buster wakes Arthur up because something unusual has happened. Mr. Ratburn tells the kids, that a wormhole has transported them four years into the future.

Arthur, Buster, Ladonna and Muffy walk home and see a few new buildings and a new generation of holographic cell-phones. Arthur wonders if his family will recognize him, and Ladonna reminds him that he has not changed but they have.

When Arthur gets home, he is enthusiastically greeted by a girl who resembles D.W., but is in fact five-year-old Kate. It is D.W.’s ninth birthday and she is out partying with her friends. The rest of the family welcomes Arthur back as if he had merely been away for the weekend. He learns that D.W. now wants to be called Dora.

Kate shows Arthur Dora’s room, which used to be Arthur’s. It looks slightly more girlish than in Arthur’s time. Kate tells Arthur that Dora does not allow her in her room and gives an impression of Dora chasing her out, which sounds not unlike Arthur. Kate is happy that she has Arthur to play with now.

D.W.’s dream

The octopus puts D.W. down in front of a tropical island. D.W. gives it her tiara as a tip. When she calls out, she almost gets eaten by four monsters. When the monsters see the ticket, they instead hail D.W. as queen. The monsters introduce themselves. They resemble D.W.’s friends, but lack the traits that annoyed D.W. on her birthday. Bobblebay (Timmy) and Bobbleboo (Tommy) like being quiet, Muk (Bud) is no good at games and Filomena (Emily) wears rags. Since the monsters do everything D.W. says, she gives orders to have a party.

Arthur’s dream

Arthur plays ‘Tower of Tofu’ with Kate and gets bored. He is saved from playing horsey by Dora returning home. Dora is now taller than Arthur, wears glasses and cool clothes. She is happy to see Arthur, but threatening to Kate when she learns that Kate has been in her room.

Arthur and Dora have a snack together. Dora is now in fourth-grade and understands why Arthur used to be “crabby”. They watch a Bionic Bunny spin-off which Arthur likes.

D.W.’s dream

On Ukubonga, the monsters and D.W. perform the Big Beasty Boogaloo song.

Real world

Bud quickly finds Emily and the Tibbles. D.W. is still missing, so Bud appoints the others deputy seekers.

D.W.’s dream

D.W. plays Ukubonga Marbles against Muk but grows bored. She asks the others for ideas. They mention another monster named Ruthra who is big, mean, and will bow to no one. D.W. orders an expedition to capture him.

Arthur's dream

The next morning, Arthur is woken by Kate who wants to play and offers him a self-made muffin. Arthur instead goes to have breakfast with Dora and Buster who is visiting.

Arthur, Dora, Buster, Ladonna and Bud go to the Hover Park and ride a kind of skateboard on an airstream. Dora is particularly good at it and all the kids have fun. When Arthur wants to go another round, Dora declines because she has homework to do. Bud takes Ladonna to meet his friends. Dora gives Arthur and Buster her Hover Pass and Buster wonders why Arthur always tried to get away from her.

D.W.’s dream

D.W. confronts Ruthra, who is a large monster that resembles Arthur. She wants him to play with her since she is getting bored of the others, but she insists on him bowing to her first. Ruthra recognizes her ticket but absolutely refuses to bow. On D.W.’s command, the other monsters capture Ruthra.

Arthur's dream

When Arthur returns from the Hover Park, Dora is playing cards with Vicita, but when he asks Dora to watch Cyborg Cindy with him, she says she has to do homework. When she calls him, he is eager to help her with her homework, but she merely wants him to turn down the TV. Arthur is disappointed, but refuses to watch the future equivalent of Mary Moo Cow with Kate. Kate tells him that he is just like Dora, which makes him feel guilty.

D.W.’s dream

Ruthra has been chained up at the beach. He ignores D.W., though she tries to bribe him with a cake. When she tricks him into bowing down, he throws the cake at her and is punished by having to listen to the Nuk-Nuk bird sing a Mary Moo Cow song.

The Bobbles suggests throwing Ruthra into the island's volcano, but D.W. finds him interesting precisely because he does not worship her.

D.W. returns to Ruthra and tells him that she no longer wants him to be obedient. He tells her his story. He used to be Arthur. On his fifth birthday, he hid under the stairs because the party was not going his way. Stanley gave him a ticket and he became king of Ukubonga. Like D.W., he first found it great and then boring because life was too easy. Leaving the island was not possible, so he lived alone and became big, mean and lonely. D.W. vows to leave and to take Ruthra with her.

Arthur's dream

Dora is just having a holographic conversation with the Tibbles in space when Arthur comes in. He apologizes for not wanting to spend time with her when they were younger. Dora admits that she would have been the same. When Arthur asks her to hang out together, she pushes him out.

When Arthur does his homework, Kate comes in with a Fluff McGuffin and remarks that it would be no use to invite Arthur to her tea party. The doll reminds Arthur of young D.W. and he confesses that he misses her. He has an epiphany and joins Kate's tea party.

D.W.’s dream

At night, D.W. frees Ruthra and wants to escape with him in the small boat. The other monsters notice them and call vines from the jungle. Ruthra manages to free the boat, but the vines pull him back while D.W. can escape.

Arthur's dream

Arthur is bored by Kate's tea party and wakes up.

Real world

Arthur wakes up in the planetarium and is happy to find that he is still in the present. He declines an invitation to Muffy's party and runs downtown. He passes the chocolate store, but decides on the toy store instead, where he convinces the store assistant, who is just closing, to let him in.

Meanwhile, D.W. wakes up in the storeroom. She is worried that the others have given up looking for her. She wants to be found.

Arthur returns with a present and discovers that the other preschoolers have indeed given up the search. Since he remembers the storeroom, he quickly finds D.W. and gives her his present, a Fluff McGuffin Doll. D.W. is happy and forgives him for the birthday card. Arthur tells D.W. that he likes her and D.W. likes him too, despite being a terrible birthday card picker. They enjoy each other's company for a moment, then they start bickering again. D.W. teaches Arthur the Beasty Boogaloo Song while her friends resume searching.

The special ends with Arthur, D.W. and the monsters doing the Beasty Boogaloo on Ukubonga.








  • Vicita does not appear at the party. James and Amanda's absences are explained by them being sick.
  • The name Ruthra is based on the backward spelling of Arthur.
  • This is the only special or episode that does not have an introduction. The title card comes directly after the theme song.
    • The title card for this special is the only title card of the series without a center circle. It is not an exact excerpt from the show, but combines D.W. throwing away her tiara and the piñata breaking.
  • The browser game D.W.’s Island Bugball is based on Ukubonga Marbles and has cameos of the Ukubonga monsters, though Ruthra only appears as a hazard. Bugball is based on miniature golf while Marbles is based on boules. D.W.'s Island Bugball was released on the Arthur page of the PBS Kids website on May 26, 2017.

Episode connections

Cultural references

  • The plot surrounding D.W. is based on Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are,[12] one book which inspired Marc Brown to become a writer and illustrator.[18][19] The monsters on Ukubonga resemble the "wild things" from the book. D.W. gets to the island in a sailboat and becomes the monsters' leader. When she wants to leave, the monsters turn nasty.
  • The conversation about the birthday card lampshades the fact that all Arthur characters are anthropomorphic animals and that some of them, especially aardvarks, look nothing like real-world animals.
  • Nadine does magic like Jeannie in I Dream of Jeannie. She also did so in “Read and Flumberghast”. In other episodes she just snaps her fingers.
  • The golden ticket to the Island of Ukubonga may be a reference to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
  • A wormhole is a speculative structure that might allow time travel.
  • Future D.W. is wearing a shirt with her name (Dora) in Japanese Katakana (ドラ).
  • Dora mentions adult references in Mary Moo Cow, a possible self-reference to Arthur which also has plenty of adult references (e.g. to Oscar Wilde in this special).
  • Cyborg Cindy may be a reference to My Life as a Teenage Robot. The main character is a female teenage cyborg and has hair like bunny ears.
  • The Tibbles floating in space is accompanied by The Blue Danube by Johann Strauss.
  • At the tea party, Kate talks about Mr. Worthing losing teddy bears. This refers to Oscar Wilde's play The Importance of Being Earnest in which Lady Bracknell tells an orphan: To lose one parent, Mr. Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness”.'


  • It seems unlikely that Ladonna would be unaware of a birthday party that her little brother was attending.
  • The planetarium show suggests travelling through a black hole. Black holes are not holes at all but more like extremely dense stars.
  • D.W.’s fifth birthday is on Science Saturday. The wormhole transports Arthur to her ninth birthday, which should be on a Thursday. Yet Mr. Ratburn tells the transported class to “enjoy the rest of the weekend”.
  • When Muk asks, "What's your name?", D.W. is briefly seen in her usual pink and white outfit, rather than her birthday dress.
  • At the end when D.W. and Arthur do the Big Beasty Boogaloo, there are two Bobblebays and no Bobbleboo.

Production notes

  • This is the first one-hour special since "Arthur - It's Only Rock 'n' Roll" in 2002.
  • It is one of two hour-long specials produced as part of the Oasis Animation production deal[20] (alongside Seasons 20 and 21); the second being "Arthur and the Haunted Tree House."
  • The title and synopsis of the special were known unofficially almost a year before the actual release date, based on PBS Kids marketing information that was posted online.[21]
  • The title was confirmed in press releases for the launch of the PBS Kids 24/7 Channel.[22] The press release also confirmed it will premiere on the channel as part of the "PBS Kids Family Night" block (launched on April 21). The synopsis was announced (along with "Arthur and the Haunted Tree House") in an infokit for the block.[23]
  • IMDb lists this episode as "D.W. And the Beastly Birthday Party."
  • A commercial for the special and the surrounding tentpole event (a week of new episodes in the days following the premiere) was posted to the PBS Kids YouTube channel on April 29, 2017.[1]

Home Video

  • The special was released on DVD on August 14, 2018.[24][25]


D.W. and the Beastly Birthday has a gallery at the Elwood City Art Museum.
This article has a gallery to help represent its content. To view it, visit D.W. and the Beastly Birthday/Gallery.




  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 PBS Kids (April 29, 2017). ARTHUR | Tune in to the All New Arthur Special and New Episodes All This Week | PBS KIDS. YouTube. Archived from the original on November 19, 2020.
  2. 2.0 2.1 PBS Kids (May 17, 2017). ARTHUR | Catch D.W. and the Beastly Birthday on Monday, May 29th! | PBS KIDS. YouTube. Archived from the original on November 19, 2020.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Arthur (May 8, 2017). Where is D.W. going on her birthday? Look out for a 1-hour Birthday Special to start off a whole week of new episodes later this month! #WhereIsDW #BirthdayGirl #newARTHURepisodes #DWBirthdaySpecial. Facebook. Archived from the original on November 19, 2020.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Arthur (May 18, 2017). Get your party shoes on for D.W.’s birthday! The all-new Arthur special premieres Monday, May 29th.. Facebook. Archived from the original on November 19, 2020.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Arthur (May 25, 2017). Happy Birthday, D.W.! Ever feel like your birthday party is a letdown? Here’s a little sneak peek of the #DWBirthdaySpecial airing this Monday (5/29) on PBS KIDS! #newARTHURepisodes. Facebook. Archived from the original on November 19, 2020.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Arthur (May 26, 2017). Walk, run, dance, or ride your way over to PBS KIDS for a week of all-new ARTHUR episodes starting MONDAY 5/29 with the 1-hour #DWBirthdaySpecial! #newARTHURepisodes #almosthere. Facebook. Archived from the original on November 19, 2020.
  7. 7.0 7.1 KUAC (May 27, 2017). Walk, run, dance, or ride your way over to PBS KIDS for a week of all-new ARTHUR episodes starting Monday 5/29 with the 1-hour #DWBirthdaySpecial! #newARTHURepisodes. Facebook. Archived from the original on November 19, 2020.
  8. 8.0 8.1 KUAC (May 24, 2017). D.W. is the birthday queen! Get excited to watch her birthday adventure in an all-new 1-hour special Monday, May 29th at 4 on KUAC TV! #newARTHURepisodes #DWBirthdaySpecial. Facebook. Archived from the original on November 19, 2020.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Detroit PBS Kids (May 29, 2017). Here’s a sneak peek of the #DWBirthdaySpecial airing TODAY on #DetroitPBSKids. Facebook. Archived from the original on November 19, 2020.
  10. 10.0 10.1 West TN PBS @WLJTDT (May 29, 2017). *Drum roll please* The #DWBirthdaySpecial airs TODAY on @PBSKIDS! Tune in and help her celebrate! #newARTHURepisodes #finallyhere #birthdayadventure. Facebook. Archived from the original on November 19, 2020.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Distefano, Christian (May 25, 2017). Ever feel like your birthday party is a letdown? Here’s a little sneak peek of the #DWBirthdaySpecial airing this Monday (5/29) on PBS KIDS ! #newARTHURepisodes #DW. Archived from the original on November 19, 2020.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Milligan, Mercedes (May 15, 2017). D.W. Finally Turns 5 in New ‘Arthur’ Special. Animation Magazine. Archived from the original on May 16, 2017.
  13. CBBC - Schedules, Tuesday 25 December 2018. BBC. Archived from the original on November 19, 2020.
  14. CBBC - Schedules, Wednesday 26 December 2018. Archived from the original on November 19, 2020.
  15. Arthur (May 19, 2017). D.W. is the birthday queen! Get excited to watch her birthday adventure in an all-new 1-hour special! #Birthday #Queen #WhereIsDW #newARTHURepisodes #DWBirthdaySpecial. Facebook. Archived from the original on November 19, 2020.
  16. Arthur: D.W. & The Beastly Birthday. WTTW. Archived from the original on November 19, 2020.
  17. D.W. and the Beastly Birthday - Arthur. Archived from the original on November 19, 2020.
  18. Marc Brown Interview Transcript. Scholastic (2002 or 2003). Archived from the original on June 24, 2012.
  19. Sullivan, Brittany (June 11, 2018). 5 Questions with Marc Brown, children’s author, illustrator & creator of Arthur. Scholastic. Archived from the original on June 13, 2018.
  20. Wolfe, Jennifer (September 29, 2015). Oasis Animation Tapped for New Seasons of ‘Arthur’. Animation World Network. Archived from the original on October 10, 2019.
  21. PrettyCoolStairs (June 24, 2016). Possible Arthur Special Title. The Slums of Elwood.
  22. Milligan, Mercedes (January 15, 2017). 24/7 PBS KIDS Channel Launches Across US. Animation Magazine. Archived from the original on January 17, 2017.
  23. PBS KIDS 24/7 Channel & Live Stream. PBS Pressroom (2017). Archived from the original on November 2, 2017.
  24. Arthur: D.W. And The Beastly Birthday: Jacob Ursomarzo: Movies & TV. Archived from the original on November 19, 2020.
  25. Arthur: D.W. and the Beastly Birthday DVD. Shop PBS. Archived from the original on August 10, 2020.

External links