The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle
Voyages of Doctor Dolittle.jpg
AuthorHugh Lofting
IllustratorHugh Lofting
Cover artistHugh Lofting
CountryUnited States of America
SeriesDoctor Dolittle
GenreChildren's novel, animals
PublisherJ. B. Lippincott & Co.
Publication date
Media typePrint (hardback and paperback)
Preceded byThe Story of Doctor Dolittle 
Followed byDoctor Dolittle's Post Office 

The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle was the second of Hugh Lofting's Doctor Dolittle books to be published, coming out in 1922. It is nearly five times as long as its predecessor and the writing style is pitched at a more mature audience. The scope of the novel is vast; it is divided into six parts and the illustrations are also more sophisticated. It won the Newbery Medal for 1923.

It was one of the novels in the series which was adapted into the film Doctor Dolittle.


Tommy Stubbins, the narrator of the story, finds a squirrel injured by a hawk so the mussel man informs him to get help from Doctor Dolittle. Tommy goes to Mathew Mugg to find out where the doctor lives who tells him that the Doctor can speak the language of animals so they go to his house but find out he's gone away on a voyage and is guarded by his dog Jip. Later the Doctor comes home to meet Tommy and takes care of his squirrel then explains when Tommy sees a strange fish creature in his house that it's a Wiff-Waff and is trying to learn shellfish language but eventually ,he quits it as it is too hard to study. Unexpectedly Polynesia turns up in Puddleby from Africa who informs the Doctor that Bumpo is studying in Bullford then Tommy gets the Doctor, with the help of Polynesia to teach him the animal languages. After Polynesia teaches Tommy the language of animals, so he can understand Jip and Dub-Dub, Chee-Chee comes from Africa disguised as a lady and tells about his voyage to Puddleby. The Doctor then gets a vessel called The Curlew and is thinking of taking Tommy, Polynesia, and Luke the Hermit. They find out from the hermit's dog, Bob, that he was sent to prison for murder but Bob is a witness so when the court is in the process the Doctor proves to the judge that he can talk to animals when this is settled he translates Bob's story to English. When the story is finished the judges conclude that the hermit is innocent.

Later, the Purple Bird of Paradise informs the Doctor that Long Arrow, son of Golden Arrow, who is a friend of the Doctor, is missing so after they play the game Blind Travel, which would determine where in the world they would voyage, they decide to take a trip to Spider Monkey Island to find Long Arrow. The Doctor, Tommy, Bumpo, Polynesia and Mathew start the voyage across the sea but on the way they discover some stowaways and drop them off at Penzance. Their first stop is in the Capa Blanca islands of Spain where a bullfight is in process so the Doctor makes a deal with the bullfighters that if he can beat them in a fight they would agree to stop bullfighting ever again. Bumpo makes a side bet of 3000 pesetas that the Doctor will win. The Doctor talks to the bulls and they agreed to stick to the plan to make everyone think that he outwitted them. When the fight is over and the doctor wins against the other bullfighters, the ps crew set off again the Doctor shows Tommy he has caught a fidgit that talks English so he consults it and finds out that to go underwater deeper to observe the ocean is to find the Great Glass Sea Snail.

Afterwards there is a storm which wrecks the ship leaving Tommy alone without anyone in sight then the Purple Bird of Paradise tells him that his friends are on Spider Monkey Island so with the help of the porpoises Tommy reaches the island and the crew. Tfinds out from catching a Jabizri, a rare beetle, that Long Arrow is stuck inside Hawk's Head Mountain so they try to find an opening but fail so they use the Jabizri to locate it. When they find a slab in the mountain they dig under it until it collapses and Long Arrow is free. The Doctor finds out from the people of the island that the island is going southward and is going to perish so the doctor gets some whales to push the island back to South America. After this the Doctor is told by the Popsipetels, the people of the island, that they will be attacked soon by their rivals the Bag-jagderags so the Doctor uses the birds of the island as well as the Popsipetels to battle them. The Doctor and his army win but the people then decide after so much he did for them that they would crown him king of their island. So for many months the doctor rules the island and makes good changes for the Popsipetels and everything as he stays king. One day though Polynesia spots the Great Glass Sea Snail so she and Tommy tge again. He talks to the Great Glass Sea Snail and learns that it is because of the island colliding with South America that it ends up on the shores of Spider Monkey Island so the Doctor asks the snail to take him in his shell with his crew back to England. The Doctor abandons Spider Monkey Island and sets off with Polynesia, Tommy, Mathew, Chee-Chee and Jip and makes his journey through the ocean in the shell of the Great Glass Sea Snail. When they come back to England the Doctor and his crew go back to Puddleby in the doctor's house and Dub-Dub says they are just in time for tea.


  • Tommy Stubbins – Narrator of the story who becomes Doctor Dolittle's assistant.
  • Doctor Dolittle – The Doctor who can talk to animals.
  • Mathew Mugg – The cat's meat man who knows everyone in Puddleby.
  • Joe – The man who finds Tommy and Doctor Dolittle a boat for their journey.
  • Luke the Hermit – A man accused of murder before he joins the Doctor's voyage.
  • Chee-Chee – A chimp who comes from Africa and is a friend of the Doctor.
  • Dab-Dab – A duck who is the Doctor's housekeeper.
  • Bumpo – An African man who comes to England to study.
  • Long Arrow – A naturalist who goes missing on Spidermonkey Island.
  • Jip – The Doctor's dog.
  • Polynesia – The Doctor's parrot
  • Bob – Luke the Hermit's dog who claims his innocence.
  • The Great Glass Sea Snail – The giant snail who takes the Doctor and his crew in its shell back to England.
  • Colonel Bellowes- A snobby man who briefly appears in the beginning of the book.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
The Story of Mankind
Newbery Medal recipient
Succeeded by
The Dark Frigate