100 years ago, in 1920, the Story of Doctor Dolittle was first published. The world was introduced to a Doctor who although he treated people, preferred animals even more. After all his human patients had deserted him, put off by his growing menagerie of animals, he starts to run out of money. His parrot, Polynesia, teaches him the language of birds and then other animal languages.
More and more animals arrive at the Doctor’s house in Puddleby-on-the-Marsh and they all need feeding. What is he going to do.
While he is worrying about the food problem a message arrives from Africa. There is a terrible sickness among the monkeys there and they need the doctors help. After borrowing a ship, Doctor Dolittle sets sail for Africa, with Polynesia the parrot, Jib the dog, Dab-Dab the duck, Gub-Gub the pig, and Too-Too the owl. With help from sea creatures they cross the ocean to Africa and after a hard journey across land, chased by a kings army, they find the sick animals.
Dr Dolittle soon treats the monkeys and other animals and it is time to go home to Puddleby. The African animals want to give the Doctor a Thank You present. A Pushmi-Pullyu, a two headed animal that is very rare. When asked why he has two mouths but only speaks with one , he says “But I keep the other mouth for eating – mostly. in that way I can talk while I am eating without being rude. Our people have always been very polite.”
Doctor Dolittle travels home with many adventures on the way and makes lots of money travelling around the country showing the amazing Pushmi-Pullyu. When he arrives home he can pay off all his debts and feed his large animal household.
It was great reading this story again after so any years. There were 11 books in the series originally. This one is a reprint from Alma Classics. It comes with lots of extras, including a bit about Hugh Lofting and a quiz at the end. A good excuse to read the story before seeing the new movie. The complete list is available on the Children’s Book Sequels website.
This book was given to me in return for a frank and honest review.