The Story of Doctor Dolittle

by Hugh Lofting

The Story of Doctor Dolittle

The Story of Doctor Dolittle is the first of his Doctor Dolittle books, a series of children's novels about a man who learns to talk to animals and becomes their champion around the world.

Source: Lofting, H. (1920). The Story of Doctor Dolittle . New York, NY: Frederick A. Stokes

An introduction by Hugh Walpole.
Chapter 1: Puddleby
John Dolittle, a knowledgable doctor in Puddleby-on-the-Marsh, finds that his love of animals is taking a toll on his finances.
Chapter 2: Animal Language
A suggestion from the Cat's-meat-man prompts John Dolittle to undertake a new venture, starting with the understanding of the animal language. Amongst the animals, word spreads of a new doctor with a special ability.
Chapter 3: More Money Troubles
As time passes the good doctor's collection of animals only continues to increase. A visiting crocodile further exacerbates the doctor's money troubles. Intending to be married, Sarah leaves Puddley-on-the-Marsh.
Chapter 4: A Message From Africa
After receiving an urgent message regarding an epidemic, Dr. Dolittle prepares for a voyage to Africa.
Chapter 5: The Great Journey
Dr. Dolittle's maritime travels come to an abrupt end. As the doctor and his passengers prepare to go ashore, a stowaway is discovered aboard ship. Dr. Dolittle introduces himself to the natives before embarking on the next leg of his journey.
Chapter 6: Polynesia and the King
After a less than pleasant encounter with the King of Jolliginki, Polynesia helps the doctor gain his freedom.
Chapter 7: The Bridge of Apes
The king, angered Polynesia's deception, pursues Doctor Dolittle as he rushes towards the Land of the Monkeys. Chee-Chee uses his knowledge of the island to ensure the Doctor's safety. Doctor Dolittle witnesses the famous "Bridge of Apes".
Chapter 8: The Leader of the Lions
The doctor, busy taking care of the sick and dying monkeys, asks a favor of the the King of Beast. Exhausted, the doctor finally gets some much needed sleep.
Chapter 9: The Monkeys Council
The monkey council, disappointed by news of the doctor's inevitable departure, decide to give a gift to show their gratitude.
Chapter 10: The Rarest Animal of All
The monkeys, intent on giving the doctor a gift, set out to hunt down the extremely rare and unusual pusmi-pullyu. The good doctor is honored with a dinner and a monument of sorts.
Chapter 11: The Black Prince
Having become lost while heading towards the shore, Doctor Dolittle and the animals are once again taken prisoner by the King of Jolliginki. Polynesia has a conversation with Prince Bumpo.
Chapter 12: Medicine and Magic
Polynesia gives word to Gub-Gub before Prince Bumpo pays a visit to Doctor Dolittle. After the doctor fulfills his promise, Prince Bumpo prepares a ship for the parting doctor. Doctor Dolittle and the animals head back to Puddleby.
Chapter 13: Red Sails and Blue Wings
Sailing off the Barbary Coast, the doctor and his crew encounter a hostile ship.
Chapter 14: The Rats' Warning
As the ship come to rest of the coast of the Canary Islands, Doctor Dolittle receives a dire warning from a departing rat. Two sparrows bring word of pirates.
Chapter 15: The Barbary Dragon
With the pirates having boarded the doctor's ship, the doctor and animals take control of the pirate ship. The sinking of the doomed ship puts Ben Ali at the mercy of the doctor and a large fish.
Chapter 16: Too-Too, The Listener
Once again set sail on their journey home, the doctor and the animals take a look around the pirate ship. Another castaway is found.
Chapter 17: The Ocean Gossips
After breaking down the panel, Doctor Dolittle discovers a young prisoner aboard the pirate ship. Doctor Dolittle brings some positive news back from the sea.
Chapter 18: Smells
Failing to find any sign of the boy's uncle in the ocean, the doctor devises another plan to locate him.
Chapter 19: The Rock
Jip, having picked up the scent of the boy's uncle, guides the ship to his location.
Chapter 20: The Fisherman's Town
The red haired fisherman shares his story. Doctor Dolittle takes the fisherman home. For there efforts, both the doctor and Jip receive tokens of gratitude.
Chapter 21: Home Again
Doctor Dolittle returns to England where he displays the pushmi-pullyu for all to see. The doctor returns to Puddleby a rich man. Life begins to return to normal for the doctor and his animals. Meanwhile, far away in Africa, the other animals ponder the good doctor's fate.
  • Year Published: 1920
  • Language: English
  • Country of Origin: England
  • Readability:
    • Flesch–Kincaid Level: 4.2
  • Word Count: 29,003
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Keywords: adventure, helping others
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