Birth and Abduction
Bonnie was born with a full head of blonde hair that was longer on the sides. One of the attending nurses put ribbons on her hair and dubbed her "Bonny Braids". Tracy was opposed to the nickname at first but was not able to settle on a different one. The birth of the Tracy's first child was a national news story and letters from all over the country began to arrive. Some of these letters suggested alternate names, but many expressed fondness for "Bonny Braids" so Dick and Tess ultimately decided to keep it. Bonnie's future sister-in-law Sparkle Plenty (who was four years old at the time) immediately took a liking to the baby and they became fast friends.
Bonnie also drew the attention of professional photographer Louise "Crewy Lou" Brown, who convinced the Tracys to let her photograph the newborn. It turned out that Brown took Bonnie's photos for her portfolio so she could gain access to the home of wealthy socialite/criminal Fortson B. Knox so she could steal from him. Crewy Lou was later abducted by her brother Brainerd so he could kill the family "black sheep". Crewy Lou managed to escape and kill her brother. Coincidentally, the Tracys were driving nearby and Crewy Lou managed to steal the car, not realizing that Bonnie Braids was asleep in the back seat.
Crewy Lou was surprised when Bonnie awoke and started to cry, which aggravated Lou's mental state. Lou abandoned the car and Bonnie Braids, who was weakened by hunger and began to succumb to the cold night mountain air. Fortunately, she was found by a nearby farmer who was out hunting and was brought into the warmth of his and his wife's house. She was warmed up and fed goat's milk. Tracy, having been told by a dying Crewy Lou where the car had been abandoned, found his baby at the couple's house. They initially said that they were going to keep her, but relented when Tracy showed them a picture of himself, Bonnie and Tess. Tracy was grateful for what they had done to save Bonnie, and a distraught Tess was reunited with her baby.
Bonnie began to grow and continued to play with Sparkle Plenty. During an outing to the North Woods by the Tracy's and the Plenty's, Tracy took Sparkle and Bonnie out on a motor boat in the lake. Tracy was shot by the young singer called Tonsils and fell overboard. Sparkle was forced to steer the boat while Bonnie screamed in terror. Sparkle steered the boat into a rocky outcropping near the shore, which was hidden from view. The two girls survived for several days on rations that they found in the boat. The were eventually found with the help of Rifle Ruby.
It was around this time that Bonny's name began to be spelt "Bonnie".
She was often seen during the Christmas season, during holiday celebrations at her family's home.
Bonnie visited the Tracy home for Christmas in 1969, but had already returned to her teaching job when the house was firebombed in an assassination attempt by the Apparatus. As a result, she was not injured in the explosion which temporarily blinded her father.
Bonnie next appeared in 1979 when Tess was pregnant with Bonnie's little brother Joe. Bonnie had grown into a young woman, still with her signature braided pigtails. She had moved to Washington state and became a teacher at Camp Chaparral on the Yakima Indian Reservation. She was living in an apartment above a pharmacy, and was good friends with a young detective named Joe Sampson. When Tracy, Tess, Vitamin Flintheart (whom she affectionately called "Uncle Vitamin") and Honey visited her in Washington, she happily embraced her family and got to see her niece for the first time since she was a baby.
Bonnie conveyed her remorse for not making it home for Moon Maid's funeral, but Tracy assured her that Junior knew that she was thinking of him. After treating her family to a home-cooked dinner, she took them on a tour of Washington and the Yakima Reservation. During the time when Tess and Vitamin were carjacked in the woods by teenage criminals Bony and Claudine, Bonnie remained at Camp Chaparral with her father and niece.
When it was time for her family to head back home, Bonnie gave her mother a new baby carrier for Joe on the plane (which would unfortunately play a role in Quiver Trembly sneaking a gun on board the plane). Bonnie saw her family off and said goodbye to her new baby brother and little niece.
Bonnie would be seen again two years later as Sparkle's maid of honor at Sparkle's wedding to Junior. The ceremony was interrupted by the presence of a bomb in the basement planted by Angeltop Jones, which was defused by Tracy and Sam Catchem.
Bonnie was next seen 1994 as a high school student living at home with her parents and younger brother (despite having been depicted as a professional teacher since 1969, see "Notes" below). Bonnie befriended Kisme Quick, and was subsequently drawn into the case of the dying Mumbles and Feets Diamond.
Bonnie's high school prom was especially perilous. She became the target of a disturbed fellow student who attempted to shoot her with a sniper rifle. She escaped that danger, and was taken to a secluded spot by her date (a young man named Brent). Brent tried to force himself on Bonnie, but Bonnie repelled him using self-defense techniques she had learned from her father. Later, at the police station, she learned that Brent was wanted for sex crimes in 3 states.
In 2004, Bonnie was shown beginning college at City University, where her roommate was a young woman named Maggie Irish. Bonnie seemed to have abandoned her traditional braids at the time. She aided her father during the terrorist hostage crisis arranged by the corrupt Campus Security Chief Flunke.
Bonnie was next seen in 2009 when she visited home with three tickets to a circus. Bonnie was not involved with the investigation into the death of the trapeze artist Louise Trapeze, though she was a witness to the event.
Bonnie did not attend the Hanukkah celebration at Sam Catchem's house in 2011 with the rest of her family.
Bonnie was brought to Tracy's city as a special surprise for the detective during Tracy's appearance on Christmas Early's TV talk show.
Bonnie later announced her intentions to move back to the city. Her teaching job on the Yakima Reservation had ended, as had her relationship with Joe Sampson.
Bonnie accompanied her great-uncle Ray Tracy on an outing that proved to be a trap set by the criminal Abner Kadaver. Bonnie and her uncle were freed by Blackjack (who was secretly aiding Tracy) before any harm could befall them. They were found by police officers and tended to (December 23rd, 2013).
Appearances in Other Media
1967 TV Pilot
Bonnie did not appear in the otherwise unproduced 1960s Dick Tracy TV pilot, but she was included in the opening titles. Bonnie Braids was portrayed by Eve Plumb, who later played Jan Brady on "The Brady Bunch".
- When Bonny first appeared, her name was spelt "Bonny". In later years the spelling changed and it has since been spelt "Bonnie".
- Shortly after the character was introduced, a Bonny Braids doll was produced by Ideal Toys. A similar doll would later be marketed for Honeymoon Tracy.
- Bonnie being shown as a teenager in the 1990s (and starting college in the mid-2000s) creates a continuity error regarding the nature of her earlier role as a teacher on the Yakima Indian Reservation, and her relationship with Joe Sampson in 1979. The Reservation would presumably not have allowed an underage or unqualified teacher, so it's entirely possible that Bonny put off her college education until later in life and was teaching as part of an internship, college-credit program, or other work-study arrangement. Likewise, her parents would not have approved of her relationship with Joe if it was illegal or wildly inappropriate given their ages. However, since she was depicted as a high school student in 1994, the likelier explanation is that this was either a deliberate retcon on the part of the creative team of the mid-90s, or a lack of awareness on their part of the earlier storyline.
- The current creative team of Mike Curtis and Joe Staton have chosen to disregard the de-aged appearances of Bonnie, and have presented her as an adult woman.
- As an adult, Bonnie's hairstyle has consistently been depicted as pigtails, rather than braids.
- During her life, Bonnie has been abducted twice (by Crewy Lou and Abner Kadaver) and held hostage once.