The Cranky Old Reader

I'm a Goodreads refugee, looking for a new home. Old books for children, science fiction, fantasy, mysteries, and humor are my main areas of interest. I've little interest in books that were written after 1975 or so, and prefer books that are older still. There are, however, a few still-living authors that I respect.

Doctor Dolittle in the Moon

Doctor Dolittle in the Moon - Hugh Lofting Doctor Dolittle in the Moon is the eighth book in the Dolittle series. It takes up the story directly from the end of the previous volume, Doctor Dolittle's Garden.The storyline changed rather radically in the middle of the book; it represented a profound shift in tone. Instead of trying to cope with the foibles and difficulties of human society such as the Doctor's near-constant (albeit unwilling) need for money, the plot began to focus instead on exploration and mystery, as strange and unknown creatures and forces seemed to be impelling John Dolittle off the face of the Earth entirely.Doctor Dolittle in the Moon continues in that new key. It presents an entirely new environment, the lunar environment: an apparent utopia. Utopias are often somewhat dull places, but Hugh Lofting's Moon (which is, of course, in utter violation of everything we know about the Moon today) is actually rather an interesting place. Lofting's descriptions are vivid and memorable, representing some of his best work. The sense of mystery is strong and intriguing. All in all, it's a refreshing change in this classic series.I won't go into great detail. Here's the important thing: I read Doctor Dolittle in the Moon to my son, Sebastian, aged seven. He loved it. We've read the previous seven volumes over the last two or three years, and some of them were more or less interesting than others, but Doctor Dolittle in the Moon took the prize. I'd told him while reading one of the earlier books that Doctor Dolittle would eventually visit the moon, and he'd been looking forward to reading about the trip ever since. Even so, his reaction surprised me.He had me bring the book in the car, to read to him driving to and from the train station (my wife was driving, not me!). He had me read it to him while he was flossing and brushing his teeth. The mystery of the identity of the Moon Man mesmerized him. And last night, he had me start reading to him early and stayed up late - we spent nearly two hours reading, until we finished the book. I had expected him to fall asleep, but instead he became more awake as the story progressed. Fortunately he fell asleep fairly quickly after I finished the book.I'm fond of the book (my parents gave me a copy when I was young), but Sebastian loved it. I would have given it a four (or a 4.3 in a fractional scale), but he'd give it a solid "5". He's already very eager to start reading the sequel, Doctor Dolittle's Return.A few notes: Unlike some of the earlier Dolittle books, this one has no racial or cultural issues which might provoke censorship (some of the earlier Dolittle books are badly bowdlerized). According to Wikipedia, Lofting originally intended this to be the final Dolittle book. If so, I don't know what changed his mind - but he wrote four more Dolittle books, as well as two related books.Along with Doctor Dolittle's Return, this book represents one of the better-written and more interesting parts of the Dolittle series.

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