|Age||4 (most episodes)|
5 ("D.W.'s Perfect Wish" and few more episodes)
|Residence||Reads' House, Elwood City|
|Family||Jane Read (mother)|
David Read (father)
Thora (paternal grandmother)
Dave (maternal grandfather)
|Book debut||Arthur's Nose|
|Latest Appearance||Arthur Turns Green|
|Cartoon debut||"Arthur's Eyes"|
|Voice Actor||Helena McAnham (Living Books)|
Michael Caloz (s1 - s3)
Oliver Grainger (s4 - s6; APC)
Jason Szwimmer (s7 - s10; AIORnR; PfB s1)
Luciano Rauso (AMP)
Robert Naylor (s11 - s15; PfB s3)
Jake Beale (s16 - s17)
Andrew Dayton (s18 - present)
Like the rest of her family, D.W. is an anthropomorphic aardvark. Her brown hair and the shape of it comes from her mother, Jane. She has brown hair in the form of a bob cut, which is up to her cheeks; plus, she has bangs. She wears a white long-sleeved blouse, pink jumper, frilly white or cream-colored panties, light pink pantyhose and blue Mary Jane shoes. D.W. also has many alternate outfits: Her footsie pajamas, pink frilly swimsuit, red polka dot dress (usually worn to formal occasions), her Arthur outfit, gymnastics suit, and many more. In some of the books, she wore pink overalls. In the episode Double Tibble Trouble, she wore green overalls. In the summer she either wears a dress and a short sleeved shirt, or shorts and a blue T- Shirt, like in D.W.'s Deer Friend, when she went camping. She also wears her blue T- Shirt with gray jeans. In the episode D.W. All Fired Up, she wore purple overalls, with green pockets. In "D.W. Swims with the Fishes", she wore a one-piece ordinary pink swimsuit instead of her typical pink frilly swimsuit.
Despite her superficial appearance, D.W. is often annoying to Arthur (he considers her a pest) and sometimes, she takes pleasure in getting him in trouble, but deep down, she truly loves her brother. D.W. gets along well with most of her friends, but often becomes very dramatic when things don't go her way and sometimes becomes too bossy. She is known for her many short-lived obsessions and temper tantrums, two of her longest-lived ones being Mary Moo Cow and the song, "Crazy Bus," both of which annoy Arthur to no end. She also has an imaginary friend named Nadine, whom she plays with and confides her problems to when no one else is around. She hates her full name and she has everyone call her "D.W." for short instead. She also seems to be very protective of Kate.
Based on Marc Brown's real-life younger sister Kim Brown, D.W.'s character reflects (possibly Marc's) view of a bratty younger sibling who often makes things more difficult than they need be. Kim travels the country, presenting at schools telling her story as "The Real D.W."
Being a preschooler, she often doesn't understand the definition of words and she tries to use complex words for her age, such as "taxpaying" and she accidentally turns them into words like "taxipaying". She also doesn't grasp important topics like where babies come from, in which she thought that they come from a large baby store.
D.W. has cephalophobia (the fear of octopuses and squids), and once she endured a short-lived fear of fire drills (and anything else related to fire). She is a picky eater and once, she had a profound hatred of spinach. She once had a snowball from D.W.'s Snow Mystery which was stolen from the fridge (apparently by aliens) and she frequently blames Arthur for its disappearance, which is a running gag. She did this continually until Arthur tried to make her feel better by giving her what looked like her snowball, at which point D.W. admitted he couldn't have taken it from her.
D.W. is also gullible. She believes that anything she sees on TV that is enhanced to look good is good. This is suggested in "D.W. Goes to Washington," where Arthur brings up the story when they went to "Santa's Igloo" where you shared a sundae with "Santa" and you had to buy a sundae to share it with the guy in the Santa costume. Also, she is frequently tricked by the Tibble Twins into doing silly things that get her in trouble, even though she has acknowledged many times that the Tibbles always lie.
When D.W. was a baby, she originally had just clumps of hair, but in later seasons, it depicted her with a similar, but shorter, hairstyle. While D.W. was a baby; she was wearing a pink shirt, white disposable diapers, and pink socks. As such, she also had the same crib that had eventually become Kate's crib.
In the Living Books computer games, she had a brown complexion and orange hair in Arthur's Teacher Trouble and then had a pale complexion and light brown hair in Arthur's Birthday, and she wore a purple shirt instead of a white one while wearing a jumper or overalls. It was likely because of color and tone restrictions during the 16-bit era of computers and software. In these two games, she was voiced by Helena McAnham and it was by far her only female voiceover in the series, and the cartoon show that first aired in 1996, a few years after the first release of those two Living Books games had always voiced her with a male voiceover. D.W. was originally voiced by Michael Caloz in the first three seasons. Oliver Grainger took his place for Seasons 4-6, then Jason Szwimmer took over for Seasons 7-10. As of Season 11-15, she is voiced by Robert Naylor and Sofia Sacha Naylor provides her singing voice in Arthur's Perfect Christmas and "In My Africa." Since Season 16, she is currently voiced by Jake Beale.
In the later games during the 32-bit era of computers and software (such as Arthur's Thinking Games), her appearance was the same as she looks in the cartoon show.
- Arthur Read: Usually Arthur and D.W are seen fighting with each other, especially over their TV time and when she annoys him, but they also truly love and care for each other. A usual theme with Arthur and D.W, is Arthur usually forgets to play with D.W the games he promised her. It was noted that Arthur used to play with D.W all the time, until Arthur believed that D.W liked "baby stuff." She is naturally better than Arthur in many activities such as fishing, storytelling, and coming up with a tune for music, which made him very jealous of her. In most of her brother's fantasies, D.W. was often cast as an antagonist.
- Kate Read (Baby Kate): Baby Kate is D.W's younger sister who looks up to D.W. and does favors for her regularly with Pal, e.g. finding her lost sock. In the time she was born, D.W. was displeased when she had to share her room with Kate, and was planning various ways to get rid of her, or else she wants to move away. At one time, D.W. threatened to pinch Kate for taking away her toys and was sent to her room for ten minutes. Despite her initial disfavor of Kate, D.W. has come to deeply love and care for her little sister, and take an active interest in her development.
- Pal: D.W. and Arthur's dog Pal are in a love-hate relationship. Pal likes D.W. and D.W. regularly dislikes him and thinks that he is dumb, but sometimes treats him nicely, as they can be seen playing together in the theme song.
- David and Jane Read: D.W. has a great relationship with her dad. She is also daddy's little girl and often tries to use him to get away with some of her behaviors, but usually fails. Two examples of this is during the episode of D.W.'s Baby, she stated that Kate had put Dave's shoes into the dishwasher and during Go to Your Room, D.W., when she was caught out of her room and Dave sent her back. Her mom is a bit different. D.W. has a good relationship with her mom too, but it seems as though she is a bit more strict than her dad. Her early rivalries with her baby sister, Kate for example. When she is mean to her, this can invaribly lead D.W. into trouble with her mom.
D.W has many preschool friends such as Emily, The Tibbles and James.
- Emily: Emily is D.W's best friend, but is often trying to compete with her and is jealous often. She is of French descent and has a French nanny named Marie-Helene.
- Tommy and Timmy Tibble: The Tibbles are D.W's friends, but often try to compete with her and pester her. They are also known to lie to D.W., often misleading her into doing foolish things for their own amusement. D.W. often finds herself at odds with them, but they usually make up later. Once also, the boys hurt her badly in Attack of the Turbo Tibbles by hitting her with a swing (Only because they imagined they were playing a show that's for kids ages 6 and up, maybe even 13).
- James MacDonald: James is a friend of D.W.'s who is very shy at times. D.W. tried to get him to kiss her once in Kiss and Tell, thinking she would become a princess like Emily (who felt like a princess when she was kissed in Paris). He eventually did kiss her, but not much came of it, other than D.W. looking slightly shocked and she had difficulty speaking for a while afterwards. This may be because she and James (despite their young age), have feelings for each other. They are usually on pretty good terms with each other.
- Lisa: Lisa is a girl in D.W.'s pre-school who may or may not be a friend of D.W. She once got D.W. into a very bad mood when she didn't invite D.W. to her birthday party, as D.W. was insulted when Emily was invited and not her in D.W.'s Very Bad Mood. Very little is known about their current relationship.
- Vicita Molina: Vicita and D.W. are next-door neighbors and occasionally play together. They are able to relate to each other easily because Vicita is only half a year younger than D.W. They generally get along and Vicita often looks up to D.W., but D.W. can occasionally be bossy and dislikes it when Vicita excels at games that she doesn't in Arthur and Los Vecinos. They appear to be almost as close as sisters, if not as close.
- Binky Barnes: D.W. is friends with Arthur's classmate Binky. They became friends after D.W. ate a green potato chip and was tricked by Arthur into thinking they were poisoned in The Chips are Down. She told Binky this and they became friends after they decided to spend the last of their days together, only to learn later that their poisoning was nothing more than a prank. They remained friends and they have even done ballet together in D.W., Dancing Queen, and have remained on good terms since.
- Nadine Flumberghast: D.W.'s imaginary friend. They talk to each other a lot, and go on different adventures with each other. They think out many different problems together, usually resulting in Nadine not knowing anything more than D.W.'s knowledge.
- Francine Frensky: Although they don't really interact very often, but Francine is one of D.W.'s friends. She once invited D.W. to her birthday party in D.W.'s Very Bad Mood after Lisa didn't invite her. Also in Arthur's Big Hit, Francine felt awfully sorry for D.W. after Arthur hit her in the arm.
In addition to the Arthur Adventure titles, D.W. has appeared in a number of titles in her own series, including:
- D.W., the Picky Eater
- D.W. Thinks Big
- D.W. Flips!
- D.W. Rides Again
- D.W., Go to Your Room!
- D.W.'s Lost Blankie
- D.W.'s Library Card
- D.W.'s Guide to Perfect Manners (D.W. Says Please and Thank You)
- D.W.'s Guide to Preschool (D.W. Goes to Preschool)
- Glasses for D.W.
- Good Night, D.W.
- D.W. the Big Boss
- D.W.'s Perfect Present
Many of these titles were adapted for the television series, while some were initially aired as television stories and later adapted as books.
- Mrs. Ida B. Forkenstern ("The Half-Baked Sale")
- The phantom of the store ("D.W. Gets Lost")
- O-D.W.-eus ("D.W. Tale Spins")
- DisasterWarning99 ("Sue Ellen Gets Her Goose Cooked")
- Deeangeleenora "Dee" Woo ("D.W. Unties the Knot")
- She is modeled after author Marc Brown's sister, Kim Brown.
- D.W. cannot read and claims to not know time even though she knows when Mary Moo Cow comes on TV and whenever New Year's starts, but it's possible she's gained an in-built clock to these things or she's reminded.
- She can only write her own name.
- It is clearly known that D.W hates Bionic Bunny, but in the episodes, "D.W. the Copycat" and "Arthur and the Crunch Cereal Contest", D.W. is watching and laughing. Though, in the former, she was most likely faking interest in the show as she was acting like Arthur in the episode.
- D.W. has 39 episodes throughout the entire series with her name in the title if you count the episode "Read and Flumberghast", as Read is referring to her last name. Season 1 has the most episodes (10) with her name in them.
- In "Clarissa is Cracked", it is revealed that she closely resembles Grandma Thora as a young girl.
- In the episode, "Postcards from Buster", it is revealed that she used to have an imaginary friend that was a pig named "Snooter". She likely had Snooter before she created Nadine.
- When Arthur says that D.W. doesn't like anything, in "D.W., the Picky Eater", D.W. defiantly states that she likes: peanut butter & jelly, strawberries, chocolate (without nuts), birthday cakes, and chocolate ice cream.
- D.W. also likes spinach (or at least claims to after unwittingly eating it in a pot pie), and yaprak dolmasi, a Turkish dish.
- Despite learning lessons from lots of the episodes, she still is bossy around people, mainly Arthur.
- D.W. is good friends with Vicita Molina.
- She knows how to whistle as seen in "So Long, Spanky".
- D.W. has only had one female voice actor: Helena McAnham, who did not work for the cartoon, but rather voiced D.W. in the Living Books CD games.
- Arthur's Eyes (episode) cameo
- Arthur's Spelling Trubble
- D.W. All Wet (episode)
- Buster's Dino Dilemma (episode)
- D.W.'s Imaginary Friend
- Arthur's Lost Library Book
- Arthur's Pet Business (episode)
- D.W. the Copycat
- Locked in the Library! (episode)
- Arthur Accused! (episode)
- Arthur Goes to Camp (episode)
- Arthur's New Puppy (episode)
- Arthur Bounces Back
- Arthur Babysits (episode)
- Arthur's Cousin Catastrophe
- Arthur's Birthday (episode)
- Arthur's Baby (episode)
- D.W.'s Baby
- Arthur Writes a Story (episode)
- Arthur's Lost Dog
- So Long, Spanky
- Buster's New Friend (episode)
- Arthur the Wrecker
- Arthur's Family Vacation (episode)
- Grandpa Dave's Old Country Farm
- Arthur and the Crunch Cereal Contest (episode)
- D.W. Flips (episode)
- Arthur's Chicken Pox (episode)
- Sick as a Dog