Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle and Other Tales by Hugh Lofting

Stars: ****1/2

NOTE: The picture isn't of the version I read but I can't find it right now. When I go home I'll write down the ISBN and next time come and find the right graphic.

I had never heard of Doctor Dolittle until the Eddie Murphy movie came out and although the movie was silly, the idea of being able to talk to animals was an interesting one. So when I found out it was a book first I knew I wanted to read it. One day I found it at a library sale and I took it home.

The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle, if you don’t already know is the story of the adventures of a Human Doctor, turned Animal Doctor who can speak almost every animal language. He is the best animal doctor around. His life goals are to see the bottom of the sea and to find the legendary sea serpent. He travels around the globe meeting new animals and people, healing sick and hurt animals and learning new things.

The premise is very cute and creative and I enjoyed reading about Doctor Dolittle’s adventures. It’s nice to read a book with a plot that is entirely different from other books instead of the same basic story over and over with a few changes.

I can see why it won the Newbery Medal although I’m curious as to what other books were in the running that year as most of the other Newbery Winning Books I’ve read so far were a lot better.


Amanda (the librarian) said...

There were no Honor Books that year. When I get back to work on Tuesday, I'll check a couple sources I have to see what else might have been possibilities. Other well-known children's books that were published in 1923 (as was The Voyages of Dr. Dolittle) were The House at Pooh Corner and Bambi, A Life in the Woods, but neither were first published in the USA and thus were ineligible for the award.

Amanda (the librarian) said...

Oops, I mean published in 1922. Interestingly, Lofting was British, but his books were always published in the USA first - perhaps he was living here by then. Even in 1922-23, the award was restricted to authors who were citizens or residents of the USA.

Based on the sources I'm using (Peterson and Solt, Newbery and Caldecott Medal and Honor Books: An Annotated Bibliography, 1982; and Cooper and Cooper, Children's Fiction 1900-1950, 1998), there doesn't look like there was much published in 1922 that met the criteria for the Newbery.