Illustrator: Hugh Lofting
Series: Doctor Dolittle #2
Published by Yearling on May 1st 1988
Genres: Adventure, Middle Grade
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Doctor Dolittle heads for the high seas in perhaps the most amazing adventure ever experienced by man or animal.
Lofting’s writing style is curious- it’s definitely for kids, but every now and then a sentence emerges that could clearly not be understood by anyone but an adult. Especially anything Bumpo says. Honestly I had a hard time figuring out his vernacular myself.
I love this book. There are a few inconsistencies with the language issue- because language is a terribly complicated thing! Such as a dog being able to understand a man’s English so completely without it being taught, and yet being unable to communicate anything himself. And I find it highly unlikely that a man should be able to make the signs of so many animals when he does not have the same body parts. Imagine being able to speak the language of beetles and butterflies without having antennae or so many legs. But it’s a nice thought, to be able to do that, and I love it. I wish I had that capability.
Honestly Doctor Dolittle is extremely inspiring. It really makes you want to get in touch with nature and animals especially. I didn’t have a very good relationship with my dog before, but while reading this I decided to go out and spend some quality time with her, and now I believe we’re far better than before. I don’t think I’m going to be able to learn her language, heheh, but I still think we have a lot to learn from each other.
It’s really a fascinating idea to be able to communicate and speak so many languages, and although I don’t feel like this was portrayed in the most accurate way, it was great for a kid’s book. It was really something to see a conversation between two creatures and the only way you can tell that one (or both) isn’t human is by knowing that Polynesia is a parrot, for example. I mean, perhaps their intelligence or vocabulary might not lend certain animals the ability to converse as well as we can, but it’s interesting just for the point of view. In fact, point of view is really the main theme of this book.
The adventures were wonderful too. Unexpected and miraculous, not without misfortune.
Good vs. Bad
Less than perfect:
This was a fantastic book when I was a kid and even more wonderful now. It’s perhaps not the most realistic, but still presents a lot of themes to think about and is great for kids. The writing style shifts but not enough to prevent comprehension. The plot is exciting and miraculous but not without misfortune. Would I read more by this author? I intend to read the whole series. Would I recommend this book to others? Yes indeed.