Doctor Dolittle in the Moon
|Publisher||Frederick A. Stokes|
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
|Preceded by||Doctor Dolittle's Garden|
|Followed by||Doctor Dolittle's Return|
Doctor Dolittle in the Moon (1928) was intended to be the last of Hugh Lofting's Doctor Dolittle books, and differs considerably in tone from its predecessors; the stripped down narrative does not have room for any of the sub-plots and tales previously present. Instead there is a growing sense of an event about to happen that is almost spooky in tone. There are some very complex passages for a children’s book; for example, it begins with a meditation about what the writer expects from the reader and vice versa.
Doctor Dolittle has landed on the Moon and each day brings a new discovery. He meets Otho Bludge the Moon Man, a Stone Age artist who was the only human on the Moon when it broke away from the Earth. The animals of the Moon flock to Doctor Dolittle, and he discovers how to communicate with the intelligent plants there. But will the lunar flora and fauna ever let him leave?
There is no pretence that the Lunar environment, described in meticulous detail, in any way conforms to what was known to science at the time of writing; thus, the book can be considered as fantasy more than science fiction.
Dr. Doolittle in the Moon was ahead of its time in that it introduces the subject of Ecology (although it does not have a term for it.) Dr. Doolittle helps guide the Lunar Council (headed by Otho Bludge, a ten-foot tall Stone-Age Artist and expatriate terrestrial) plants learn to maintain their balance of power by negotiating agreements on how many seeds each of them would legally produce every year.
The book delves into the subject of "The Days Before There Was a Moon", as remembered in tales that Chee Chee the Monkey's Grandmother told him when he was little. The story of how the moon was created is closer to science that some of the other fantasy elements of the book. Otho Bludge, the stone-age sculptor, came to be the man on the moon because he was transported on the lump of rock that had broken off the Earth, and became the moon. Alone for many years, the sole human on the Moon, Otho Bludge, weary of rendering his own image as reflected in the water, longed for the sight of another human being. In answer to his longing, he was visited by a vision of Princess Pepiteepa, who poses for him, then fades away.
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