Doctor Dolittle: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Doctor John Dolittle is the central character of a series of children's books by Hugh Lofting. He is a doctor who shuns human patients in favour of animals, with whom he can speak in their own languages. He later becomes a naturalist, using his abilities to speak with animals to better understand nature and the history of the world.

Doctor Dolittle first saw light in the author's illustrated letters to children, written from the trenches during World War I when actual news, he later said, was either too horrible or too dull. The stories are set in early Victorian England, where Doctor John Dolittle lives in the fictional village of Puddleby-on-the-Marsh in the West Country.

Doctor Dolittle has a few close human friends, including Tommy Stubbins and Matthew Mugg, the Cats'-Meat Man. The animal team includes Polynesia (a parrot), Gub-Gub (a pig), Jip (a dog), Dab-Dab (a duck), Chee-Chee (a monkey), Too-Too (an owl), the Pushmi-pullyu, and a White Mouse later named simply "Whitey".


The books

The Story of Doctor Dolittle: Being the History of His Peculiar Life at Home and Astonishing Adventures in Foreign Parts Never Before Printed (1920) began the series. The sequel The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle (1922) won the prestigious Newbery Medal. The next three, Doctor Dolittle's Post Office (1923), Doctor Dolittle's Circus (1924), and Doctor Dolittle's Caravan (1926) are all actually prequels (or "midquels", as they take place during and/or after the events of The Story of Doctor Dolittle). Five more novels followed, and after Lofting's death two more volumes, composed of short unpublished pieces, appeared.

The books, in order of publication, are:

  1. The Story of Doctor Dolittle (1920)
  2. The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle (1922)
  3. Doctor Dolittle's Post Office (1923)
  4. Doctor Dolittle's Circus (1924)
  5. Doctor Dolittle's Zoo (1925)
  6. Doctor Dolittle's Caravan (1926)
  7. Doctor Dolittle's Garden (1927)
  8. Doctor Dolittle in the Moon (1928)
  9. Doctor Dolittle's Return (1933)
  10. Doctor Dolittle and the Secret Lake (1948)
  11. Doctor Dolittle and the Green Canary (1950)
  12. Doctor Dolittle's Puddleby Adventures (1952)

Gub-Gub's Book, An Encyclopaedia of Food (1932) was an associated book, purportedly written by the eponymous pig. It is a series of food-themed animal vignettes. In the text the pretense of Gub-Gub's authorship is dropped, Tommy Stubbins, Dr. Dolittle's assistant, explains that he is reporting a series of Gub-Gub's discourses to the other animals of the Dolilttle household around the evening fire. Stubbins explains that the full version of Gub-Gub's encyclopedia, which was an immense and poorly organized collection of scribblings written by the pig in a language for pigs invented by Dr. Doolittle, was too long for to translate into English.

Doctor Dolittle's Birthday Book (1936) was a piece of merchandise produced during the gap between Doctor Dolittle's Return and Doctor Dolittle and the Secret Lake.


The books have been accused of racism, due to their usage of derogatory terms for and depiction of certain ethnic groups, in both the text and illustrations. Editions in the United States sometimes had alterations made from the 1960s, but the books went out-of-print in the 1970s. In the United Kingdom, the unexpurgated books went out of print in 1981.

In 1986, to mark the centenary of Lofting's birth, new editions were published which had such passages rewritten or removed (sometimes called bowdlerisation). Offending illustrations were either removed (and replaced with unpublished Lofting originals) or altered.


There have been a number of adaptations of the Doctor Dolittle stories in other media:


A Russian children's novel Doctor Aybolit (Doctor Ouch-It-Hurts) by K. Chukovsky was loosely based on the stories of Doctor Dolittle. Norwegian playwright, songwriter and illustrator Thorbjørn Egner made an album Doktor Dyregod (Doctor good-towards-animals) with songs and story based on Doctor Doolittle.

See also

Characters from the Doctor Dolittle Books


Referenced by the Red Hot Chili Peppers in the song 'Naked In The Rain' from the album 'Blood Sugar Sex Magik'.

External links

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