Voyages of Doctor Dolittle, The
New York: Fredk. A. Stokes Co., 1922. Item #04286
The Second Doctor Dolittle Book
The Second Book to Win the Prestigious Newbery Medal
In the Original Color Pictorial Dust Jacket
LOFTING, Hugh. The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle. Illustrated by the Author. New York: Fredk. A. Stokes Co., 1922.
First edition, first printing of the Second Doctor Dolittle Book in the Original Pictorial Dust Jacket.
Octavo (8 1/16 x 5 5/16 inches; 205 x 135 mm.). [xiv], 364 pp. Inserted color frontispiece with original 'explanatory' printed tissue-guard, one inserted color plate facing page 162, and eighteen full-page line illustrations, all by Hugh Lofting. Very slight stain in gutter of pp. 146/147 due to a small pressed leaf.
Publisher's gray cloth, front cover decorated and lettered in black and with a duplicate of the color frontispiece "The Posipetal Picture-History of King Jong Thinkalot" laid on. Spine lettered in black, three-color pictorial end-papers, top edge stained blue. In the exceptionally scarce color printed pictorial dust jacket. One small chip at top of jacket spine and another one inch chip at the bottom of the lower jacket panel. A very fine copy in an almost fine and untouched dust jacket. Very scarce in dust jacket.
Hugh John Lofting (14 January 1886 – 26 September 1947) was a British author, trained as a civil engineer, who created the character of Doctor Dolittle, one of the classics of children's literature. He traveled widely as a civil engineer, before enlisting in the Irish Guards regiment of the British Army to serve in the First World War. Not wishing to write to his children about the brutality of the war, he wrote imaginative letters which later became the foundation of the successful Doctor Dolittle novels for children.
Hugh Lofting's character of Doctor John Dolittle, was an English physician from Puddleby-on-the-Marsh in the West Country - who could speak to animals. The character first saw light in the author's illustrated letters to children, written from the trenches during the War of 1914 to 1918, when actual news, he later said, was either too horrible or too dull. The stories are set in early Victorian England in the 1820s-1840s (The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle gives a date of 1839).
The Story of Doctor Dolittle: Being the History of His Peculiar Life at Home and Astonishing Adventures in Foreign Parts Never Before Printed (1920) began the series and won the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award in 1958. The sequel The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle (1922) won Lofting the prestigious Newbery Medal. Eight more books followed, and after Lofting's death two more volumes appeared, composed of short unpublished pieces.
The internal chronology of the books is somewhat different from the publishing order. The first book is followed by Doctor Dolittle's Post Office (1923), Doctor Dolittle's Circus (1924) and Doctor Dolittle's Caravan (1926). Only then follows the second book, The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle (1922), continued by Doctor Dolittle's Zoo (1925). After that, the publishing order is restored; Doctor Dolittle's Garden (1927) is followed by Doctor Dolittle in the Moon (1928) and Doctor Dolittle's Return (1933), ending with Doctor Dolittle and the Secret Lake (1948).
The series has been adapted for film and television many times, for stage twice, and for radio too.
Our great friend of nearly fifty years, Leslie Bricusse wrote the song "Talk to the Animals" for which he won the Oscar for 'Best original Song' at the 1968 academy awards.
"If we could talk to the animals, learn all their languages,
Maybe take an animal degree,
We'd study elephant and eagle, buffalo and beagle,
Alligator, guinea pig, and flea!"