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Book Review – The Story of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting

This was a book that I didn’t take the time to read as a kid. I saw it on our book shelf at home as another book I bought for the boys to read and jumped right in. This version of Lofting’s story was Condensed and Adapted by Kathryn Knight. I did a little research into what that really means. According to Yahoo! Answers, condensed means that the story has been shortened. It has left all the important plot points in, but may have taken a lot of the sub plots out. Adapted means that it takes a more adult story and makes it readable for children. It removes the big words and simplies the story to make it easier to understand.


Selma’s Book Review

Book Title

The Story of Doctor Dolittle


Hugh Lofting

Condensed and Adapted by Kathryn Knight

Type of Book

Middle Grade


Hugh Lofting created the character of Doctor Dolittle during the time he served in the British Army during World War I. He wrote letters home to his children telling them stories based on the character of Doctor Dolittle to protect them from the evils of what was happening in the war. When he arrived home, he started writing those stories into chapter books for children. The series of ten stories about Dolittle won the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award in 1958 and the story The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle won a Newberry Medal in 1923. Two more Dolittle stories were published after he passed away and his stories have  been made into movies.

Summary of the story

Doctor John Dolittle, M.D. was just a normal everyday doctor. He started his practice in England treating people, but figured out that he had a way with animals, so he started treating animals at his home. Since animals can’t pay for his services, he needed to find a way to bring some money in to pay the bills. At the same time he received news that some monkeys needed medical help in Africa. So, he took all of the money he had left and set sail for Africa to help them.

Reactions to the book

I enjoyed the story. Dolittle’s interaction with the animals makes it a fun read for kids and adults. It is a very engaging story.

This edition of Lofting’s story has been condensed and adapted from the original story. It makes me want to read the original to see what I’m missing. In a note at the beginning of the book, Knight writes,

The Story of Doctor Dolittle has been carefully condensed and adapted from the original version (which you must read when you are ready for every detail). We kept the well-known phrases for you. We kept the important imagery and heart of the tale.

It is a great thing that these classic stories are condensed and adapted for younger readers to enjoy. I like the fact that she points out that there is another version that kids can read when they are ready. Since I liked the story, it is something that I’m going to check out.

If you are interested in learning more about the author, you can check out this posting about him on Encyclopedia Britannica Hugh Lofting

If you would like to purchase a copy for your kids or a kid who is special to you here is the link to in on The Story of Doctor Dolittle

#BookReview #MiddleGrade #DoctorDolittle #HughLofting #EncyclopediaBritannica #WritingJourney #Condensed #Adapted

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