The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle

by Hugh Lofting

The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle

The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle was the second of Hugh Lofting's Doctor Dolittle books to be published, coming out in 1922. It is nearly four times longer than its predecessor and the writing style is pitched at a more mature audience. The scope of the novel is vast; it is divided into six parts and the illustrations are also more sophisticated. It won the Newbery Medal for 1923.

Source: Lofting, H. (1922). The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle. London, England: Lippincott Publishing.

An introduction by the books narrator, Tommy Stubbins.
Part 1, Chapter 1: The Cobbler's Son
Tommy Stubbins tells about his life in Puddleby-on-the-Marsh and his three friends, Joe, Matthew Mugg, and Luke.
Part 1, Chapter 2: I Hear of the Great Naturalist
Having come across an injured squirrel, Tommy is directed to the office of John Dolittle by his friends. Matthew tells Tommy of the good doctors many voyages. Upon arriving at the doctor's house, the visitors encounter the loyal dog Jip, but find that the doctor is no where to be found.
Part 1, Chapter 3: The Doctor's Home
Tommy returns to the doctor's house after making a delivery for his father, the cobbler. While attempting to beat the weather, Tommy accidentally runs into Doctor Dolittle. Having been invited into the Dolittle home, Tommy is shocked by what he sees.
Part 1, Chapter 4: The Wiff-Wiff
Having gotten a thorough picture of the inner workings of the Dolittle house, Tommy inquires about some of the various exotic animals that are in the doctor's home. After dinner, Doctor Dolittle accompanies Stubbins to see the injured squirrel.
Part 1, Chapter 5: Polynesia
En route to the Stubbins home, Doctor Dolittle describes Polynesia and the role she played in his development as a doctor and his understanding of various animal languages. An old friend makes a surprise visit bringing word of various friends and acquaintances.
Part 1, Chapter 6: The Wounded Squirrel
The doctor treats the injured squirrel after a short musical demonstration in the Stubbins home.
Part 1, Chapter 7: Shellfish Talk
Eager to see the rest of the Dolittle estate, Tommy arrives early, greeted by Polynesia. The doctor and Tommy discuss the language of solitary animals.
Part 1, Chapter 8: Are You a Good Noticer
Word spreads of the doctor's return home, prompting visits from various animals. Polynesia explains the finer points of understanding animals.
Part 1, Chapter 9: The Garden of Dreams
The narrator gives a description of the Dolittle garden and its exotic inhabitants.
Part 1, Chapter 10: The Private Zoo
Tommy is given a tour of the animal's quarters.
Part 1, Chapter 11: My Schoolmaster, Polynesia
Polynesia begins her tutoring of Tommy on the nuances of understanding animals and their language. Doctor Dolittle performs another of his many services for a local dog missing his owner.
Part 1, Chapter 12: My Great Idea
Tommy suggests an arrangement to Doctor Dolittle. The doctor tells of the mysterious naturalist, Long Arrow.
Part 1, Chapter 13: A Traveler Arrives
Tommy's abilities continue to progress under the tutelage of Polynesia. A long lost friend returns from Africa.
Part 1, Chapter 14: Chee-Chee's Voyage
Chee-Chee, having grown homesick without Polynesia, makes her way back to Puddleby.
Part 1, Chapter 15: I Become a Doctor's Assistant
The Stubbins' household prepares for dinner with the doctor. Tommy's parents and Doctor Dolittle discuss Tommy's possible life as a naturalist.
Part 2, Chapter 1: The Crew of "The Curlew"
Tommy's role as the doctor's assistant gives him a certain amount of status he before had. Preparations are made for the next voyage, as Doctor Dolittle awaits word from long arrow.
Part 2, Chapter 2: Luke the Hermit
The doctor pays a visit to Luke the hermit, who is surprisingly absent from the area.
Part 2, Chapter 3: Jip and the Secret
Jip reluctantly reveals the fate and location of Luke the Hermit.
Part 2, Chapter 4: Bob
Doctor Dolittle visits Luke the Hermit and his dog Bob at the courthouse.
Part 2, Chapter 5: Mendoza
Luke's trial commences and Doctor Dolittle is called as a witness for the defense.
Part 2, Chapter 6: The Judge's Dog
Prior to the start of his testimony, Doctor Dolittle proves himself to the court.
Part 2, Chapter 7: The End of the Mystery
With Doctor Dolittle's help, Bob finally sets the record straight regarding the death of Bluebeard Bill.
Part 2, Chapter 8: Three Cheers
After a short deliberation, the jury return with their decision.
Part 2, Chapter 9: The Purple Bird-of-Paradise
A long awaited visitor finally makes their appearance, only to be insulted by an angry sparrow.
Part 2, Chapter 10: Long Arrow, the Son of Golden Arrow
Doctor Dolittle receives word about the disappearance of Golden Arrow's son, Long Arrow.
Part 2, Chapter 11: Blind Travel
Disappointed by the disappearance of Long Arrow, Doctor Dolittle plans his next expedition, unsure of his destination.
Part 2, Chapter 12: Destiny and Destination
Using the atlas as their guid, the doctor and Tommy pick their next destination, Spidermonkey Island.
Part 3, Chapter 1: The Third Man
As the Curlew prepares to depart, an old friend arrives just in time to join the crew.
Part 3, Chapter 2: Good-Bye!
After a number of delays, the Curlew departs to great fanfare and celebration by the citizens of Puddleby.
Part 3, Chapter 3: Our Troubles Begin
After the discovery of some old friends on board the Curlew, Doctor Dolittle is forced to make an unplanned stop.
Part 3, Chapter 4: Our Troubles Continue
The voyage continues smoothly for about a week until another stowaway is discovered below deck.
Part 3, Chapter 5: Polynesia Has a Plan
Polynesia comes up with a plan to deal with Ben Butcher.
Part 3, Chapter 6: The Bed-Maker of Monteverde
After stopping in the Capa Blanca Islands to procure provisions, Doctor Dolittle and his crew find an unusual place to rest.
Part 3, Chapter 7: The Doctor's Wager
Disgusted by the local custom of bullfighting, Doctor Dolittle makes a bet with the influential Don Enrique, with Prince Bumpo making a side bet of his own.
Part 3, Chapter 8: The Great Bullfight
Amid great bursts of laughter from the crowd, Doctor Dolittle enters the ring to challenge the great matador, Pepito de Malaga.
Part 3, Chapter 9: We Depart in a Hurry
Having won his wager, Doctor Dolittle and and his part prepare for a hasty departure, fearing reprisal from the angry citizens of Monteverde.
Part 4, Chapter 1: Shellfish Languages Again
As the voyage continues, Doctor Dolittle once again attempts to understand the language of the shellfish.
Part 4, Chapter 2: The Fidgit's Story
Having gained a greater understanding of shellfish languages, Doctor Dolittle transcribes the Fidgit's life story.
Part 4, Chapter 3: Bad Weather
The Curlew's smooth sailing is interrupted by a sudden patch of rough seas.
Part 4, Chapter 4: Wrecked!
Tommy awakens to a dire situation, awash in the Curlew's wreckage.
Part 4, Chapter 5: Land
The reunited crew of the Curlew slowly continue their voyage towards land.
Part 4, Chapter 6: The Jabizri
In the process of safely traversing the coast, Doctor Dolittle discovers a very interesting insect. The group changes course and heads towards the mountains.
Part 4, Chapter 7: Hawk's-Head Mountain
Doctor Dolittle continues to hastily traverse the landscape, while speculating about the fate of Long Arrow. Mr. Jabizri takes the lead as the mountain gets closer.
Part 5, Chapter 1: A Great Moment
Having discovering the trapped Long Arrow, the group works to rescue the naturalist. Jip once again proves himself to be a hero. Doctor Dolittle's action bring great affection from the rest of the tribe.
Part 5, Chapter 2: "The Men of the Moving Land"
Long Arrow is upset the passing of a village elder. Doctor Dolittle and his group, having been invited to a great feast, make their way to the village.
Part 5, Chapter 3: Fire
Doctor Dolittle introduces the Popsipetel tribe to the gift of fire.
Part 5, Chapter 4: What Makes an Island Float
The doctor turns to the assistance of some passing porpoises to inquire about the current location of the island, finding out something rather interesting in the process.
Part 5, Chapter 5: War!
Doctor Dolittle and Long Arrow's discussion of natural history is interrupted by news of Bagjagderag hostility. Doctor Dolittle is introduced to Big Teeth, agreeing to accompany him in an attempt to achieve a peaceful resolution to the conflict.
Part 5, Chapter 6: General Polynesia
The Terrible Three fight valiantly against the Bagjagderags, but cannot hold back the enemies superior numbers. Polynesia, now in charge of an army of her own, rises to the occasion.
Part 5, Chapter 7: The Peace of the Parrots
Doctor Dolittle, Prince Bumpo, and the injured Long Arrow travel to the land of the Bagjagderag, intending to negotiate a final peace between the tribes. The parrots stand down.
Part 5, Chapter 8: The Hanging Stone
The doctor, Bumpo, and Long Arrow depart the Bagjagderag camp, having made a great impact behaviors and beliefs. The group is taken to the Whispering Rocks, where they learn another of the island's secrets. The Popsipetel prepare to elect a new chief.
Part 5, Chapter 9: The Election
As the election ends, the good doctor finds himself in a peculiar situation.
Part 5, Chapter 10: The Coronation of King Jong
A new kings is crowned as the island finds a permanent home.
Part 6, Chapter 1: New Popsipetel
Now king of the Popsipetels, Doctor Dolittle works tirelessly to improve the lives of every member of the tribe. The doctor gets a new home.
Part 6, Chapter 2: Thoughts of Home
Doctor Dolittle addresses the subject of returning back to Puddleby.
Part 6, Chapter 3: The Red Man's Science
Long Arrow returns, excited to show off some of his findings.
Part 6, Chapter 4: The Sea-Serpent
Awakened by Polynesia, Tommy witnesses a rare sea creature just of the coast. Doctor Dolittle turns to the porpoises in an attempt to free the poor creature.
Part 6, Chapter 5: The Shellfish Riddle Solved at Last
Having been visited by various sea creatures attempting to save the trapped snail, Doctor Dolittle suddenly has a breakthrough with the shellfish language.
Part 6, Chapter 6: The Last Cabinet Meeting
Polynesia works tirelessly to secure a period of rest for the doctor, asking her friends for assistance in the process.
Part 6, Chapter 7: The Doctor's Decision
Polynesia, having already convinced the doctor to take a vacation, attempts to influence even more. Doctor Dolittle and his friends begin their trip home.
  • Year Published: 1922
  • Language: English
  • Country of Origin: England
  • Readability:
    • Flesch–Kincaid Level: 4.2
  • Word Count: 78,066
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Keywords: 20th century literature, british literature, children's literature
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