This is one of the many adventures that the quaint Doctor Dolittle has with his animal friends. Dr. John Dolittle MD was a prosperous doctor in a town called Puddleby-on-the-marsh. But he grew poorer and poorer because his patients did not share his love for animals. He had, living with him, besides goldfish and squirrels and mice, Dab Dab the duck, Jip the dog, Gub Gub the pig, Too Too the owl, Polynesia the parrot, and even a wonderful two-headed animal called the pushmi-pullyu. The doctor understands the language of most animals, and is respected as a great man by animals all over the world.
The doctor, however, is very poor, and his pet animals convince him that putting the pushmi-pullyu on a circus show is the only way to earn some money. At the circus they meet Sophie, a fine, five-foot performing seal. Sophie is in the circus against her will. She is pining for her family in Alaska. Doctor Dolittle is the only one who can understand her and help her.
The Doctor has to transport Sophie to the sea, more than a hundred miles away, so that she may swim home to her family. The escape from the circus (where all the animals help to cover her escape) and the adventures that befall the odd couple of the doctor and the huge seal make a thrilling, often hilarious read. The bloodhounds are on their trail; Sophie has to be disguised as a lady, to travel by coach; and they are mistaken for highway robbers.
Can the doctor get any help at all in his impossible mission? Does Sophie escape into the sea? Read the book to enjoy the comic and fearful path that leads to Sophie’s freedom.
Hugh Lofting, a British engineer serving in the USA during World War I, made up many stories to send to his children in England. One of the characters was the animal-loving country doctor called Doctor Dolittle. Lofting’s own illustrations make these stories and their characters come alive for us. The first book, the Voyage of Doctor Dolittle, was published in 1922 and won the Newberry award for the Best Children’s Book of the Year. The Doctor Dolittle stories are funny, thrilling, and are as enjoyable today as they must have been, fifty years ago.