The Story of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting


By: Hugh Lofting (1886-1947)

An adventurous children’s novel, The Story of Doctor Dolittle is the first book in the Doctor Dolittle series. The novel depicts the many adventures of Dr. John Dolittle as he learns the language of animals and takes on various feats including exotic travel, a dangerous encounter with pirates, and a mission to set right from wrong.

The novel begins with the introduction of Dr. John Dolittle, an animal lover and respected physician, who lives in the small English town of Puddleby-on-the-Marsh with his unmarried sister. Due to an increase in the number of animals in his home, he loses many of his clients which results in a decline of wealth. Even his sister is repelled from the amount of animals in their home. However, one day Dr. Dolittle learns the secret to speaking with animals from his parrot Polynesia, who teaches him the language of animals. Consequently, he leaves behind his unfulfilling job surrounded by people and instead decides to take up a veterinary practice.

This career change proves to be the correct one, as Dr. Dolittle quickly becomes renowned throughout the animal kingdom. Eventually he finds himself on the way to Africa along with his most trusted animal companions to help cure a monkey epidemic. Yet, unfortunate events lead to a shipwreck and Dr. Dolittle and his animal friends are imprisoned by the king of Jolliginki, who is a victim of colonization and for this reason dislikes all Europeans. The protagonist and his escort undergo many adventures in their task to spread kindness and animal awareness throughout.

An optimistic and heartwarming novel, The Story of Doctor Dolittle leaves no one feeling indifferent, as Dr. Dolittle risks losing everything including his house, family and wealth for the sake of proper care and love of animal life. Abundant with humor and a fun easy-to- follow plot, Lofting özgü successfully created a rich fantasy world with vivid portrayals of memorable characters which have entertained generations time after time.

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