24 Aug 2018



John Dolittle is a highly respected doctor in the village of Puddleby-on-the-Marsh, yet he loves animals so much that his house is soon full of them. With all his patients scared away, and the expense of feeding his menagerie mounting, a friend suggests that the Doctor become an animal doctor instead.

With the help of Polynesia the parrot, Doctor Dolittle swiftly learns the language of the animals so that he can talk to all of his new patients. However, when a message comes from Africa, telling of a terrible sickness among the monkeys there, the Doctor and his animal friends depart on a thrilling and dangerous adventure that they are never likely to forget.
- Back Cover Blurb

Once upon a time, many years ago - when our grandfathers were little children - there was a doctor, and his name was Dolittle - John Dolittle, MD.
- First Sentence, Chapter One; Puddlby

"Do you dare to ask me, sir?" he said, glaring at the Doctor. "Do you dare to ask me - ME, the King of Beasts - to wait on a lot of dirty monkeys? Why, I wouldn't even eat them between meals!"

Although the lion looked very terrible, the doctor tried hard not to seem afraid of him.  

"I didn't ask you to eat them," he said quietly. "And besides, they're not dirty. They've all had a bath this morning. ....."
- Memorable Moment, Page 41

SOURCE ... Kindly received from Alma Books.


MY THOUGHTS ... To those who haven't read the book ... 

Read it, it really is one of the classics.

To those who haven't read the book but have seen the film(s), either the original version with Rex Harrison and/or the terrible remake with Eddie Murphy ...

Read the book, its so, so much better than either of the films.

One of my all time favourites since I was knee high to a grasshopper as my nana would say. I've always loved The Story Of Doctor Dolittle mainly because the animals are rather refreshingly animals as opposed to  the almost 'too human' animals so popular in other books of this type and yet, at the same time, we are privy to their thoughts and conversations and  it is more often than not them and their quick thinking that get the esteemed DR out of trouble.

Published countless times over the years, what of this edition from the Alma Books' Children's Classics collection 

With its original illustrations and 'extras' for young readers which includes, amongst other things, information about the characters and a quiz, I thought it a great addition to any library whether it be that of the younger reader new to the adventures of the Doctor capable of talking to the animals or, indeed, those who, mmm, a little older want to share the book with the child/children in their life or merely recapture the magic of their own childhood by re-reading it.

First published in the nineteen twenties, what is actually the first book in a fairly long series, Dr Dolittle is a story loved by generations. 

Yes, certain passages are now considered racist and, yes, the book was banned in certain schools in the US. In light of this, as a publisher, Alma Books, rightfully or wrongfully, saw fit to exercise editorial discretion and amend/remove what today may be deemed controversial/offensive content so perhaps not an edition for those looking for an unabridged edition but otherwise ... go ahead, enjoy what is still a delightfully charming story.


Kelly said...

While I'm certainly familiar with the story of Dr. Doolittle, I honestly can't remember if I read it as a child or not. I do seem to recall the original movie.

This cover on this edition is cute, though that's not how I've always envisioned the "pushmepullyou" (is that how it was spelled??). I seem to remember it being more like a llama.

I sometimes take issue with trying to "sanitize" old books for modern audiences, but maybe this is a case in which it can be done without losing any content.

Brian Joseph said...

I think that I have only seen the several of the film versions. Either way this is a great story. I know what you mean by a lot of intelligent animal stories where the animals are too human.

Suko said...

I did see a movie version of this, many years ago, but I think I'd enjoy reading the book. (Hmm... I wonder about the significance of the doctor's name, Dr. Dolittle.) Thank you for your honest, well-written review.

DMS said...

I am not sure how I have missed this one. I haven't seen either of the movie versions either. Thanks for reviewing it. I don't like to miss out on good reads. :)

nightwingsraven said...

I am not familiar with the
book or the film versions.
But you have convinced me
to add the book to my list.
And I appreciated for instance
your memorable moment.