Voyages of Doctor Dolittle

Voyages of Doctor Dolittle

by Hugh Lofting
Publisher: J.B. Lippincott Co.
27th Impression, ©1922, Item: 74208
Library Binding, 364 pages
Used Price: $4.00 (1 in stock) Condition Policy

The adventures of Dr. Dolittle and his tireless young friend Tommy Stubbins have delighted readers for nearly a century. Dr. Dolittle is a naturalist who's discovered the secret of talking to animals in their own language, and he spends much of his time traveling the world seeking exotic specimens. Don't let the movies fool you: Hugh Lofting was an imaginitive and capable writer, and the stories of the good Doctor make fine reading for readers of all ages.

In The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle, nine-and-a-half-year-old Tommy Stubbins accompanies the Doctor to his magic garden in the English seaport village of Puddleby-on-the-Marsh, to coastal Spain, and to Brazil by way of Spidermonkey Island. Lofting offers the kind of detail one only seems to find in children's literature—the fact that the Spaniards eat bananas fried in olive oil, for instance, sets the scene perfectly while not boring us with too much information.

Tommy Stubbins narrates, and describes the world of 1839 as though it were a wonderland. Some of the places he and Dolittle go are indeed fantastical, but there's also plenty that's familiar, and we get the sense that we're experiencing the world in the same way explorers experienced it when much of it was still undiscovered by Europeans. We also meet representatives of other races that reflect the attitudes of Westerners in the early 19th century.

Some see these depictions as racially insensitive, and most modern editions have excluded the offending references. This edition is not one of those. Racism is a sin, but it's apparentthat Lofting is no racist—he's simply reflecting attitudes of the expanding world at the time. At any rate, we think it's better for parents to edit as desired, rather than for social censorship to reign.

The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle is elegantly and comically written, the illustrations are whimsical, and the adventures of Tommy, the Doctor, the parrot Polynesia, and their friends are thrilling, hilarious, and unique.This particular edition of the book is a reprint of the 1922 edition.

Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur.Read more of his reviews here.

 

Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he's a husband and father who loves church, good food, and weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.
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