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The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle

The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle

3.7 141
by Hugh Lofting

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Doctor Dolittle heads for the high seas in perhaps the most amazing adventure ever experienced by man or animal. Told by nine-and-a-half-year-old Tommy Stubbins, crewman and future naturalist, the voyages of Doctor Dolittle and his company lead them to Spidermonkey Island. Along with his faithful friends, Polynesia the parrot and Chee-Chee the monkey, Doctor Dolittle


Doctor Dolittle heads for the high seas in perhaps the most amazing adventure ever experienced by man or animal. Told by nine-and-a-half-year-old Tommy Stubbins, crewman and future naturalist, the voyages of Doctor Dolittle and his company lead them to Spidermonkey Island. Along with his faithful friends, Polynesia the parrot and Chee-Chee the monkey, Doctor Dolittle survives a perilous shipwreck and lands on the mysterious floating island. There he meets the wondrous Great Glass See Snail who holds the key to the greatest mystery of all.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Thanks to Patricia and Fredrick McKissack, Dr. Dolittle is back. Not the comic Dr. Dolittle of the recent movie but the delightfully eccentric doctor of Puddleby-on-Marsh. This Newbery classic has been reprinted with some slight editing to remove references that would offend today's culture. Now young and old can enjoy the charming, rotund animal linguist through the eyes of his 12-year old apprentice, Tom Stubbins, as they search for the elusive botanist, Long Arrow, and the even more elusive Great Glass Sea Snail. On board is Bumpo, the African prince who delights in using long words when short ones will do; Jip, the dog; and the irrepressible parrot, Polynesia. They stop in Spain to rid themselves of a pesky stowaway. While there, the doctor uses his animal linguistic ability to trick the town into outlawing bullfighting. After calm sailing, they encounter a storm and are shipwrecked. Fortunately, they find themselves close to Spidermonkey Island where Long Arrow was last seen. With the help of a Jabizri beetle, they locate the botanist who is trapped in a cave. Dr, Dolittle, the quintessential peace lover, is forced to lead a battle against a neighboring tribe for which he reluctantly accepts the role of king of the island. When the injured Great Glass Sea Snail arrives, Dr. Dolittle is convinced to return home inside the snail that teaches him the language of the shellfish and takes him home along the ocean floor so he can study this previously unknown world. 2001 (orig. 1920), HarperCollins Publishers, Ages 8 to 12.
—Moira Rose Donohue
Children's Literature - Keri Collins Lewis
In the village of Puddleby there lives a doctor who loves animals more than anything in the world. He has a variety of pets, from mice and a horse to his favorites, Dab-Dab the duck, Jip the dog, Gub-Gub the pig, Polynesia the parrot, and Too-Too the owl. When his human patients refuse to come to his office because of the animals, Doctor Dolittle and his sister Sarah run out of money to care for all of the creatures. In an effort to save the doctor from ruin, his friend the butcher suggests he become a veterinarian and treat animals instead of humans. Polynesia the parrot teaches him the language of birds, Jip teaches him the language of dogs, and soon the kind doctor's reputation for helping animals stretches around the world. Doctor Dolittle's famous adventures return to their roots in this abridged retelling from the Hugh Lofting original. In an effort to bring the classics to a young audience, Sterling Publishing has created the "Classic Starts" series, shortening the stories and presenting them in easy-to-understand language. Questions for discussion designed to make the story relevant to modern readers by focusing on its universal themes, are included at the end of the book. While fans of the modern movies may not recognize much in this pre-automobile British rendition of the beloved doctor, his winsome nature and the personalities of the various animals with whom he can speak will win over readers who love a good adventure tale, animal stories, or both. Reviewer: Keri Collins Lewis
School Library Journal
Gr 4-8-Doctor Dolittle sets sail towards the mysterious Spider Monkey Island accompanied by by nine-and-a-half-year-old Tommy Stubbins. By Hugh Lofting. Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

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Neeland Media LLC
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269 KB
Age Range:
9 - 11 Years

Read an Excerpt

Part One

The First Chapter

The Cobbler's Son

My name was Tommy Stubbins, son of Jacob Stubbins, the cobbler of Puddleby-on-the-Marsh; and I was nine and a half years old. At that time Puddleby was only quite a small town. A river ran through the middle of it; and over this river there was a very old stone bridge, called Kingsbridge, which led you from the marketplace on one side to the churchyard on the other.

Sailing ships came up this river from the sea and anchored near the bridge. I used to go down and watch the sailors unloading the ships upon the river wall. The sailors sang strange songs as they pulled upon the ropes; and I learned these songs by heart. And I would sit on the river wall with my feet dangling over the water and sing with the men, pretending to myself that I too was a sailor.

For I longed always to sail away with those brave ships when they turned their backs on Puddleby Church and went creeping down the river again, across the wide lonely marshes to the sea. I longed to go with them out into the world to seek my fortune in foreign lands -- Africa, India, China and Peru! When they got round the bend in the river and the water was hidden from view, you could still see their huge brown sails towering over the roofs of the town, moving onward slowly -- like some gentle giants that walked among the houses without noise. What strange things would they have seen, I wondered, when next they came back to anchor at Kingsbridge! And, dreaming of the lands I had never seen, I'd sit on there, watching till they were out of sight.

Three great friends I had in Puddleby in those days. One wasJoe, the mussel-man, who lived in a tiny hut by the edge of the water under the bridge. This old man was simply marvelous at making things. I never saw a man so clever with his hands. He used to mend my toy ships for me which I sailed upon the river; he built windmills out of packing cases and barrel staves; and he could make the most wonderful kites from old umbrellas.

Joe would sometimes take me in his mussel boat, and when the tide was running out we would paddle down the river as far as the edge of the sea to get mussels and lobsters to sell. And out there on the cold lonely marshes we would see wild geese flying, and curlews and redshanks and many other kinds of seabirds that live among the samfire and the long grass of the great salt fen. And as we crept up the river in the evening, when the tide had turned, we would see the lights on Kingsbridge twinkle in the dusk, reminding us of teatime and warm fires.

Another friend I had was Matthew Mugg, the Cat's-meat-Man. He was a funny old person with a bad squint. He looked rather awful but he was really quite nice to talk to. He knew everybody in Puddleby; and he knew all the dogs and all the cats. In those times being a Cat's-meat-Man was a regular business. And you could see one nearly any day going through the streets with a wooden tray full of pieces of meat stuck on skewers crying, "Meat! M-E-A-T!" People paid him to give this meat to their cats and dogs instead of feeding them on dog biscuits or the scraps from the table.

I enjoyed going round with old Matthew and seeing the cats and dogs come running to the garden gates whenever they heard his call. Sometimes he let me give the meat to the animals myself; and I thought this was great fun. He knew a lot about dogs and he would tell me the names of the different kinds as we went through the town. He had several dogs of his own; one, a whippet, was a very fast runner, and Matthew used to win prizes with her at the Saturday coursing races; another, a terrier, was a fine ratter. The Cat's-meat-Man used to make a business of rat-catching for the millers and farmers as well as his other trade of selling cat's-meat.

My third great friend was Luke the Hermit. But of him I will tell you more later on.

I did not go to school, because my father was not rich enough to send me. But I was extremely fond of animals. So I used to spend my time collecting birds' eggs and butterflies, fishing in the river, rambling through the countryside after blackberries and mushrooms and helping the mussel-man mend his nets.

Yes, it was a very pleasant life I lived in those days long ago -- though of course I did not think so then. I was nine and a half years old; and, like all boys, I wanted to grow up -- not knowing how well off I was with no cares and nothing to worry me. Always I longed for the time when I should be allowed to leave my father's house, to take passage in one of those brave ships, to sail down the river through the misty marshes to the sea-out into the world to seek my fortune.

The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle. Copyright © by Hugh Lofting. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Hugh Lofting was born in 1886 in Maidenhead, Berkshire. His Doctor Dolittle books first appeared on paper in the form of letters to his children, Elizabeth and Colin. Lofting wrote a number of children's books besides the Dolittle series, including The Story of Mrs. Tubbs (1923), TommyTilly and Mrs. Tubbs (1936), Porridge Poetry (1924), The Twilight of Magic (1930), and Gub Gub's Book (1932). Lofting also wrote one book for adults, Victory for the Slain (1942). He died in 1947 in Santa Monica, California.

Jerry Griswold is a specialist in children’s literature and American culture. He is the award-winning author of seven books, including Feeling Like a Kid, The Meanings of “Beauty and the Beast,” and The Classic American Children’s Story. Griswold has published over 200 essays in The Paris Review, The Nation, New Republic and elsewhere. He frequently contributes to the New York Times Book Review and the Los Angeles Times. Griswold is an Emeritus Professor of Comparative Literature at San Diego State University, and has been a visiting professor at UCLA, UCSD, and the National University of Ireland. He has lectured all over the world.

Gary Schmidt is an award-winning children's book author. He received a Newbery Honor and a Printz Honor for his young adult novel Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy, as well as a Newbery Honor for The Wednesday Wars. He is a professor of English at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

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The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 141 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome book
natnoodle3 More than 1 year ago
i read this book before i got my nook and loved it. it was entertaining and always left you wondering what will happen next. it would be great for any young adults and elementary school kids it's really intresting and easy to follow along with. if you are not sure if you want to download this ebook i say yes!!!
MurphyCrew More than 1 year ago
Our family has fallen in love with the Classic Starts Series. This particular book; The Voyages of Doctor Doolittle is a darling story full of adventure that satisfies the interest of both kids; a first grade boy and preschool girl. The questions in the back allow the kids to think about the story and relate it to their own lives. The humor and conversations that materialize after are priceless! I would also recommend this title for fluent readers in lower grades (K-2)where age appropriate content matters.
Baba21 More than 1 year ago
My husband read this book for my 5 year old daughter and they both enjoyed it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have the same book except its a little different
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great book you and your kids will love it. It is a great source of literichure. Exploration is at hand!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Okay you 9 year old person is got to stop swiching and this book awesome.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The best book ever for all ages!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A very good story, but it has some formatting issues, like the title, instead of being on the top of the page, sometimes goes anywhere but the top. There are also some typos, random letters strewn about, and some missing puncuation which mysteriously moves to a whole section. But overall, it's very good. I would give it about 2 1/2 to 3 stars.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story line in the book is great but there are several things wrong with the format. Like i could be in the middle of a page and it will say something completely out of conntext like the voyages of doctor dolittle. It is a little better is you use the smallest text settings but it is not completely avoidable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dr. Doolittle has a funny name that akes it sound very interesting. I wonder where he got his name from. Soinds very cool. Wanna read it someday.
lisa-g More than 1 year ago
The beginning was great but the end was boring. It was hard to finish the book.
lori21 More than 1 year ago
Its an excellent old book to read and its a caldecott book. I love it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is perfect. Everyone who is interested in animals and nature and who likes a good adventure story should read it. Flawless.
Guest More than 1 year ago
From the smallest ant to the biggest whale, Doctor John Dolittle studied and adored animals. In the story, 'The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle' the author Hugh Lofting presented the doctor to the world. Telling them about his voyages he took and the animals he talked to. It all started from a young boy named Jacob Puddleby, who is telling about his wonderful experience with the famous John Dolittle. Jacob's parents did not have enough money to send him to school. Jacob would walk around town and learn his own way. One day he sees a hawk that has a little squirrel in his grasp. Young Jacob scares the hawk just in time before it killed the squirrel. Scared and frightened that the squirrel was injured Jacob takes care of it. However he notices he doesn't have the proper education to treat it. So he goes in search of help the cats meat-man tells him about the greatest doctor ever doctor John Dolittle. There he goes in search for the great doctor. After visiting him everyday he becomes fascinated with animals and sooner or later he is living with the doctor and going on a voyage. The book had its strong points like the characters. John Dolittle seems like a great man, a man who seems to know all the answers in the world. He seems to be the kindest man to ever live. The young boy Jacob Puddleby had a voluminous amount of energy and always helping the doctor and thinking quickly. The book also had some weak points; in my opinion it was to short. This is a more of a mystery and adventure book. Another strong point would be the diversity of all the animals. The characters seem realistic such as Doctor Dolittle a man who loved nature. Also having stock characteristics such as the captain. I really do recommend that people should read this book. It makes you aware of nature and all it's amazing creations. It is a really good beach read, or a story that you can curl up in front of the fire. Either way you should read the book the voyages of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting, it sure to make an animal out of you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This a magnificent book for those who LOVE animals. It is funny and unique. I've read it at least 5 times, Really!!!!! Prefect for 9 to 100yrs old.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Was my first chapter book, belive it or not. May be a little boring for young kids but is awsome for all ages!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Docter Dolittle seems like a both interesting and very good book at one time
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hi i'm Bravestar. Go to the fogotten warrior. For more info
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Typo alert but still good read :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mirade More than 1 year ago
This was a gift for my special little friend who is finally realizing her reading potential after finally having a teacher who understands her form of dyslexia and was able to "break through to her" thought and visual process and help her to make sense of the words and their order. Kudos to special teachers who take the time to really understand their students!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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