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The Story of Doctor Dolittle (Books of Wonder) Hardcover – September 26, 1997


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The Story of Doctor Dolittle (Books of Wonder) + The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle (Sterling Classics)
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Series: Books of Wonder
  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Library Binding edition (September 26, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780688140014
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688140014
  • ASIN: 0688140017
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #99,885 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Doctor Dolittle--a 19th-century English physician--has never been one for worrying much. Even after his human patients desert him (when one too many sit on one of the doctor's unusual parlor pets), he manages to convert gracefully to animal medicine. Having mastered animal language along the way (with the help of his caustic yet amusing parrot, Polynesia), he has a good head start in his practice. Then, one cold, dark winter night, as the doctor and his pets sit around the fire, a message arrives, via sparrow, from Africa. A terrible epidemic has broken out among the monkeys, and Doctor Dolittle is the only one who can save them. The beneficent physician checks his money box--not a penny left. But the fate of Africa's ailing apes lays squarely on his shoulders.

And so begins the delightful, whimsical adventures that are still enthralling readers three quarters of a century after their original 1920 publication. Hugh Lofting, winner of the 1923 Newbery Medal for The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle, has more than a knack for storytelling. His ability to imbue in his characters--human and animal--distinct, unique personalities is remarkable, and his respect for the rights of all who share the planet shines throughout. (Ages 9 to 12) --Emilie Coulter

From Publishers Weekly

Kleinbaum's adaptations, accompanied by Lofting's illustrations from the original editions, bring the classic books to younger readers. Ages 6-9.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Both my 5 and 7 year old have enjoyed this book.
crayons
This was one of my favorite books when I was young, and now I'm reading it to my own child.
Ian Fletcher
I can't imagine not reading this wonderful book to young children.
Teacher

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

132 of 142 people found the following review helpful By G. Powell on August 4, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I liked the story of Dr. Dolittle. However I would like to warn modern readers, that the full version of this book is Racist. So the Editors have carefully changed the story of the African Chief who wished to become Cacausion in appearance to one where he wishes to become a lion. Now, I agree that the story is better this way, but mucking around with books after the author is dead and can't defend or fix them is right out. So in that vein I can't recommend this edition of this book. The editors should have changed the title to "The Modern Dr. Dolittle" or some other name which implies that the story isn't the orginal. They do it all the time with the bible, "King James Ed.", "Good News for Modern Man" etc.
If you are going to read to children, books which treat people unfairly you should take the time explain why this was a poor idea even in its day. Or not read them at all. Or own up to the fact that you've changed the story.
On the plus side the illustrations are great, M. Hague is a great artist.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 1, 1998
Format: Paperback
I read "The Story of Doctor Dolittle" for the first time when I was seven. Recently I read the new edition illustrated by Michael Hague. This new edition is terrific. The revisions are obvious to one who read the original work, but they are sensible and reflect Lofting's intentions while reflecting modern thought. Hague's illustrations are beautiful. I would still recommend that older children and adults read the original, to learn a bit about Lofting's time and because the author's illustrations are wonderfully simplistic. This is also a good read-aloud for younger children, because many, when they are able to read it for themselves, will unfortunately have lost interest in such a fanciful story.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By J. O'Connor on July 15, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I presume anyone reading the reviews already is familiar with the storyline of Dr. Dolittle. I highly recommend this version with only a slight reservation (see below) because its illustration and editing would make an excellent introduction to children as well as a gift possibility and a lifelong keepsake.

I heartily disagree with the reviewer who discredits this edition because it has been updated to modern civilities. The reviewer mistakenly suggests that the edition conceals that changes have been made. To the contrary, the foreword fully describes the editors' concerns for literary sensitivities as they made changes.

If your purpose is to collect unabridged books, do shop elsewhere. But if you share my intent of introducing this wonderful story to children, this book serves the purpose very well. There is minimal distraction from unnecessary anachronisms.

I think this edition would serve children well through elementary school. I would nominate unabridged editions for older children to help teach them about society's changing attitudes towards racism.

My slight reservation (mentioned above) about this edition is that racial stereotypes do persist. In Africa, the (white) doctor is referred as "the good man" while the African king is unjust, his son is goofy, and both the king and his son are easily fooled. These characterizations ARE unavoidable without drastically changing the storyline. However, the story explains the motivation for the king's injustice and is a worthy point of discussion with a young reader.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Lightspring on January 27, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I read this book to my two children, ages 7 and 3. Both children were completely mesmerized and could hardly wait for the next day's installment. A bit of editing was necessary while reading to tone down certain parts, especially those dealing with the pirates (who threatened to eat poor Gub-Gub the pig) and the leaving-behind of some of their favorite animal characters, Polynesia the parrot and Chee-Chee the monkey. The illustrations were especially well-received, and could easily be presented at the appropriate points in the story to illustrate exactly what was being read. All in all, we thoroughly enjoyed this book and are looking forward to purchasing the sequel, which is the one I remember from my own childhood, _The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle_.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on December 13, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Wonderful! Wonderful! Wonderful! Opens up a whole new world of relationships among humans and animals, world of imagination, and world of humor and wonder. It seems every human would benefit from reading this book. If you haven't gotten for your child, grandchild, niece or nephew, you may want to do so, or just read it yourself.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 22, 1998
Format: Audio Cassette
Martin Short brings pure magic to the Airplay Audio Cassette The Story of Doctor Dolittle. My kids and I laughed and listened, over and over again. Martin Short creates a distinct voice for every animal, and the humans, too. Another important aspect is Airplay's version is unabridged, but all the dated prejudices have been dumped in favor of a much more engaging encounter with poor Prince Bumpo, this is a children's story everyone can enjoy.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By crayons on April 2, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Both my 5 and 7 year old have enjoyed this book. In fact, they have enjoyed it so much that we are now reading The Voyages of Dr. Dolittle. This book is even better. They wake in the morning asking to be read this book. The Voyages of Dr. Dolittle would be great for a teacher to to read aloud just before writer's workshop. Great descriptors!
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