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The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle (Doctor Dolittle #2)

3.99  ·  Rating Details  ·  11,561 Ratings  ·  420 Reviews
Narrated by nine-year-old Tommy Stubbins, crewman and future naturalist, this book chronicles the delightful voyages of Doctor Dolittle and his faithful friends Polynesia the parrot and Chee-Chee the monkey as they survive a perilous shipwreck on Floating Island and other surprises.
Mass Market Paperback, 352 pages
Published May 11th 1999 by Yearling (first published 1922)
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Hyaroo Probably you'd manage without. This book does refer to the events of the first book quite a bit, but the story itself is standalone, the characters…moreProbably you'd manage without. This book does refer to the events of the first book quite a bit, but the story itself is standalone, the characters and concept are introduced clearly enough, and the narrative does a decent enough job of bringing you up to speed.

I'd say you'll be able to understand this book just fine without having read the first one, even if a couple of details and callbacks might make a little more sense if you have. (less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Miz Lizzie
My mother read this book to my brother and me when we were children in the 1960s. I remember loving the story and, especially, being enamored of Dr. Dolittle's ability to talk with the animals. It became controversial in the 1970s when the portrayal of the African characters was considered to be offensive and racist. The version I recently re-read is the lightly edited version by the McKissacks to remove the offending descriptions and illustrations. It does not, however, remove the rather offens ...more
Lynne
Sometime in my mid-20s, upon re-reading this book, I realized that John Dolittle was my main role model in life, and that hasn't changed. Compassionate, obsessive compulsive, an animal lover, a brilliant scientist, a talented linguist, an itinerant traveler, owner of a fireplace that you can sit inside to toast things on sticks, a crusading truth seeker and champion of the underdog (no pun no pun)--shouldn't we all aspire to these things? I've read all the books in the series and I own multiple ...more
Kathryn
May 14, 2009 Kathryn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
The now-controversial "Voyages of Doctor Doolittle" would perhaps not fare well with many modern children, even with updated artwork and the removal of non-PC passages, as it's a bit old-fashioned and over-long. However, I really enjoyed the style and some of Lofting's passages were quite beautifully written. This is a glorious old-fashioned adventure complete with exotic locations, animal allies, shipwrecks, Indian wars and even a giant sea snail! But best of all is our hero, John Doolittle, on ...more
Kate
So I don't think of these reviews as a book report, enough people summarize the book for you to get the gist. What I will say is that the book does have language and cultural insensitivities in it, as a lot of books from previous generations do. However, as I read this one to the kids I edited language out myself and used the cultural references, especially to bull fighting in Spain and "Indians" as a spring board for discussion with my children about how times have changed and how we no longer ...more
Emily
Feb 08, 2011 Emily rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book as a kid, still love it now & want to keep reading the series. If only I had time. Reminds me a LOT of the Twenty-One Balloons!

(Read this for my Newbery class.)

As a sequel, I really appreciated that Lofting took the time to introduce us to his new character, Stubbins, before bringing us back to the Doctor. I read the first book when I was a kid, but honestly, didn't even remember it (or that this book WAS a sequel) until I did some research on the first 8 Newbery winners. (F
...more
Laura
I was actually surprised at how well this book managed to keep my attention. I was really kind of expecting that I would find it very boring and would have to struggle through it. But that wasn't the case at all. Instead, I found myself reading through it quite fast, wondering what would happen. The only thing I had against this book was that it seemed a little "simple" for a juvenile book, but I think that maybe that is because I am a lot older then its intended audience. I would recommend this ...more
Rae
Jul 07, 2014 Rae rated it it was amazing
This has been the very first book that I have read—and the very beginning of my rooted fascination towards literature. It was given to me by my favorite cousin when I was in 5th grade, never knowing that somehow it’ll change my tediously unvarying childish amusements and diversions during that time. You think I missed out on my childhood? No. Instead, I think my childhood friends are those that had missed out on this terrific experience.

I have been so envious of Tommy Stubbins since day one. Wh
...more
Individualfrog
Oct 02, 2012 Individualfrog rated it liked it
I read this recently to my 7-year-old niece, after having read it as a child myself. We had read The Story of Doctor Doolittle before, which I think she may have slightly preferred; I liked this one better for sure. From the first chapters (which she found very dreary) you can see that Lofting put more into the descriptions, which are more lyrical than the perfunctory first book. The plot is still episodic, but the continuing subplots--the Doctor's efforts to find Long Arrow and to learn shellfi ...more
Shawn Thrasher
Aug 13, 2011 Shawn Thrasher rated it liked it
Proto-Peta, early environmentalist, anti-colonialist - if you've only seen the movies, you're in for a taste of something different (a touch of the radical?) when you read the books. Voyages isn't the best of the Dolittle books (even though it won the Newbery) but it's certainly never dull. 90 years ago, if you were some little farm boy on the Kansas prairie, winter wind blowing outside, then the adventures of a vet who could talk to animals, his voyages fraught with danger and shipwreck, and on ...more
Christiane
Fantastical adventures of young Tommy Stubbins, the amazing Doctor Dolittle, and a menagerie of talking animals. In many ways ahead of its time (1922) in terms of animal rights (the Doctor is firmly against lions and tigers in zoos, bullfighting, and scooping up fish to live in an aquarium) the book does have uncomfortable moments when Lofting is writing about human beings rather than animals. Most versions of "The Story of Doctor Dolittle" (which I haven't read yet) and the "Voyages" have been ...more
Richard
Jan 26, 2015 Richard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another childhood favorite. When I was little, I really wanted to be Tommy Stubbins and go with the good doctor. I played Dr Dolittle games and fantasized. It got me interested in looking at nature and being amazed at the beauty of everything around me. I loved this book and all of the Dolittle classics. My paperback copies from childhood all fell apart, and I bought, and re-read, the whole series in hard cover as an adult. I've read this book at least 10 times, and the last time was in 2006 on ...more
Adelina
Feb 15, 2014 Adelina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
I have fond memories of watching Disney’s version of Doctor Dolittle as a child. The music is catchy, and the adventures were so grand. Plus, how cool would it be to talk to the animals? A few yeas ago my sister gifted me the book, which is when I realized, I had never actually read this classic story. I put it on my shelf to eventually be read, and just never got around to it. I finally started reading it to my kids as their bedtime story. I’ve found the enjoy real people movies (as I call them ...more
Kat!e Larson
Mar 24, 2016 Kat!e Larson rated it really liked it
This book is delightful! It's the first Doctor Dolittle book I've read (although it's the second one, that didn't cause me any confusion) and I look forward to reading the rest! It's such a fun, creative adventure. And I adore the doctor himself. He's such an adorable Hufflepuff. And the other characters are fantastic as well; especially the brilliant Polynesia. I really just adored everything about this story.
Wendy
Jul 20, 2014 Wendy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: newbery
Some of this was great, especially in the first half (too many books I've been reading lately have great first halves and peter out from there). I can't help feeling like it would have been a better book if he'd stuck to England--and then there'd be a lot less of that messy racism problem--but then it wouldn't be The Voyages, would it?...
Elizabeth
The kids loved this one, but I thought it was just okay. It has a very Pippi Longstocking vibe to it, but not as good. I liked the first half much better than the latter, when he went on his voyage. I did really like that the chapters were so short, meaning I was willing to a read a chapter or two every night, as opposed to some others we've read recently (looking at you, Greenglass House), which required a good 30- to 40-minute commitment, which wasn't going to happen most school nights.
Helen
Oct 17, 2015 Helen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm surprised that I've never picked up Dr. Dolittle's various adventures until recently. The descriptions are lush, and there are all sorts of delightful details that bring the settings and stories to life. Each chapter is manageably short and sets up the next adventure to come.

I hope these tales encourage dreams, awe, and wanderlust in generations of children to come.

I do agree that race portrayals are a problem in these stories, though it's difficult to do much about it without changing the v
...more
Jade Lauron
Having read this Newbery winner, I've decided that I believe NONE of the Dolittle series is any longer appropriate for children. While you can sanitize out the racist language quite easily, you cannot remove the subtle and insidious "white savior" issues inherent to this classic.

And, since you cannot remove these things, I feel that it is okay to read the NON-sanitized versions. In fact, I HIGHLY recommend them. I feel that this book would make an incredible read for discussion in a sociology cl
...more
Charlotte
Mar 18, 2013 Charlotte rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-lit-13-25
Tommy Stubbins is a ten year old whose father is a shoe maker. He lives in Puddleby in England. One day he finds a hurt squirrel and is sent to Dr. Dolittle for help to heal him. When Tommy meets the doctor, he finds out he can converse with animals. Tommy convinces Dr. Dolittle to hire him on as an apprentice and soon Stubbins can converse with a few of the animals as well. The Doctor is trying to learn the language of the shellfish because they are some of the oldest creatures alive. The two f ...more
Christian
Mar 03, 2011 Christian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I very much liked reading "The Voyages of Dr. Dolittle," the sequel to "The Story of Dr. Dolittle." I have not read "The Story of Dr. Dolittle," but I believe that I did not need to. In "The Voyages" (for short), Hugh Lofting wrote so that it was Dr. Dolittle's first appearance in a book.
This book was very well written and I enjoyed reading it, even though it was written in early 1900's and based in the 1800's. Hugh Lofting clearly had a great imagination and was also a great author. While th
...more
Ginny
Mar 24, 2016 Ginny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this for my Vintage Book Circle children's literature discussion group. The last time I read this book was 35+ years ago as a new children's librarian. I'm happy to have made its acquaintance again after this long absence. The library copy I read was illustrated by Sonja Lamut. I didn't care for these illustrations, as I thought they seemed too babyish for the story. I'd like to find a copy with the earlier illustrations that I remember. In reading about the author, Hugh Lofting, I was in ...more
Waller
Jul 27, 2008 Waller rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Far and away one of my favorite series when I was young, the Doctor Dolittle books don't bear up so well with time. We are more aware of the implicit racism in characterizations of Africans and South American Indians in this book, and the attempt to bowdlerize the books to make them more palatable to today's inclusive atmosphere don't completely succeed in their own purpose and undermine the novel as a whole. But worst, while the central idea of the series, of a man who can talk to animals, rema ...more
D.C.
Jan 12, 2014 D.C. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: newberies
This is solid, lighthearted entertainment that will keep all ages engrossed for hours on hand. Some of the adventures are kind of random but are still impossibly fun. The new "updated" version (which is pretty much the only one available to the general public) corrects a lot of racial stereotypes present in the original edition. Such changes are obvious, but there is still a rather uncomfortable and fairly racist portrayal of Indians in the main adventure of the story, which is harder to change ...more
Donald
Mar 16, 2010 Donald rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this in 6th grade because it was a Newberry book and because I thought it would be about talking animals. Boy, was I wrong. This book has very little to do with the Dr. Doolittle movie, except that both characters are, well, doctors. It's got an old time feel to it, maybe because it was written in 1922, but, for some reason, that didn't bother me. I don't know what it was, but my 12 year old mind couldn't put it down. At the time this book outweighed any of my previously read books by at ...more
Amy
Apr 15, 2011 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can't believe I never read these as a kid! This book was so cute. I'm sure I would have loved it. I was especially amused at how the Spanish called him "Juan Hagapoco". That made me laugh. It got a little tedious there for a while, while they were on the island; and then it seemed to rush to the end. But the middle parts, with the actual adventure, that was definitely worth reading. I also enjoyed the idea of traveling the sea floor in a giant snail with a transparent shell. Very imaginative.

H
...more
Valerie
Doctor Dolittle doesn't care how you're 'supposed' to sail. As a result; he's always getting shipwrecked: though as Polynesia points out; he usually lands on his feet. There's really only one voyage in this book--though the homeward leg is quite absurd. Not the part about the Great Glass Sea-Snail; I mean. But even granting such a creature--if there's no way of renewing the air supply; air-breathers don't 'adjust' to the stale air: they SUFFOCATE.

Fair Warning: Lofting's casual paternalistic raci
...more
Helen Liang
Apr 03, 2016 Helen Liang rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is very interesting. I will explain to you why. The characteristics that make this book interesting are bravery, boldness, and willingness.

First, I will tell you about the bravery. It occurred when Dr. Dolittle went into a ring full of angry bulls without any background knowledge about bulls. As the bulls trap him in a circle, he made an amazing escape. But do you know what was really fascinating? He never even looked nervous or scared! I never could've done that! I don't even like to
...more
Stephen
There were a series of Dr D books. This is the second. I remember it fondly from reading it to myself in childhood. It was the one adapted for a movie in the 1970s maybe that merged Puddleby-on-the-Marsh scenes with tropical islands.

The first Dr Doolitle book Dr. Doolittle (Original Illustrations & Text) , even without its original illustrations, is not suitable for children unless accompanied by sermons about century-old attitudes on race and geography. In the second half of that first book
...more
2017charlottec
Oct 16, 2014 2017charlottec rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book, "Voyages of Doctor Dolittle," is a real page turner. The main characters are a nine-and-a-half year old named Tommy Stubbins, (but Doctor Dolittle calls him Stubbins) who is a boy who lives in Puddleby, a small town. He learned how to become a naturalist, so he can speak to animals. The next main character is of course, John Dolittle, a quite big man who is a naturalist and can speak to almost every animal in their own language, but he really wants to learn shellfish language, a langu ...more
Linda
How did I never read this as a child? Maybe I read an excerpt of it somewhere...but now that I've just sat down and read the whole thing I realize that this book IS me in so very many ways. So it's a good thing that as an adult I have an obsession with lists and a compulsion to read all the classics and I therefore do things like set about reading all the Newbery Medal winners that I haven't ever read. THIS ONE IS AWESOME. Dr. Dolittle, obviously, is a character who is known even by those who ha ...more
Mary Beth
It's great to go back and see where this story originated from. Also interesting to see the style of children's literature from this time period (including some rather interesting political views popular at the time).

The edition I read was true to the original and NOT edited for political correctness. The forward explained that it had been banned from schools in the US because of the racial slurs, so Hugh Lofting's son re-wrote certain sections to make it more socially acceptable.
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Hugh Lofting was a British author, trained as a civil engineer, who created the character of Doctor Dolittle — one of the classics of children's literature.

Lofting was born in Maidenhead, England, to English and Irish parents. His early education was at Mount St Mary's College in Sheffield, after which he went to the United States, completing a degree in civil engineering at the Massachusetts Inst
...more
More about Hugh Lofting...

Other Books in the Series

Doctor Dolittle (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • The Story of Doctor Dolittle (Doctor Dolittle, #1)
  • Doctor Dolittle's Post Office (Doctor Dolittle, #3)
  • Doctor Dolittle's Circus (Doctor Dolittle, #4)
  • Doctor Dolittle's Zoo (Doctor Dolittle, #5)
  • Doctor Dolittle's Caravan (Doctor Dolittle, #6)
  • Doctor Dolittle's Garden (Doctor Dolittle, #7)
  • Doctor Dolittle in the Moon (Doctor Dolittle, #8)
  • Doctor Dolittle's Return (Doctor Dolittle, #9)
  • Doctor Dolittle and the Secret Lake (Doctor Dolittle, #10)
  • Doctor Dolittle and the Green Canary (Doctor Dolittle, #11)

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“I don't believe in a lot of baggage. It's such a nuisance. Life's too short to fuss with it. And it isn't really necessary” 2 likes
“are they given in exchange for the glory of an African sunrise, for the twilight breeze whispering through the palms, for the green shade of the matted, tangled vines, for the cool, big-starred nights of the desert, for the patter of the waterfall after a hard day's hunt? What, I ask you, are they given in exchange for THESE? Why, a bare cage with iron bars; an ugly piece of dead meat thrust in to them once a day; and a crowd of fools to come and stare at them with open mouths!—No, Stubbins. Lions and tigers, the Big Hunters, should never, never be seen in zoos.” 0 likes
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