Online Homeschool Curriculum - Sample Lesson (Lesson 1 Only)

    The Story of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting    

Chapter 1: Puddleby

Performer: LibriVox - Phil Chenevert


Warning to Parents: Chapters 11 and 12 of the original Dr. Dolittle contain objectionable content. These chapters were modernized by Under the Home, but the Gutenberg link on the textbook page leads to an original copy of Dr. Dolittle with the objectionable content.

Once upon a time, many years ago-when our grandfathers were little children-there was a doctor; and his name was Dolittle-John Dolittle, M.D. "M.D." means that he was a proper doctor and knew a whole lot.

He lived in a little town called, Puddleby-on-the-Marsh. All the folks, young and old, knew him well by sight. And whenever he walked down the street in his high hat everyone would say, "There goes the Doctor!-He's a clever man." And the dogs and the children would all run up and follow behind him; and even the crows that lived in the church-tower would caw and nod their heads.

The house he lived in, on the edge of the town, was quite small; but his garden was very large and had a wide lawn and stone seats and weeping-willows hanging over. His sister, Sarah Dolittle, was housekeeper for him; but the Doctor looked after the garden himself.

He was very fond of animals and kept many kinds of pets. Besides the gold-fish in the pond at the bottom of his garden, he had rabbits in the pantry, white mice in his piano, a squirrel in the linen closet and a hedgehog in the cellar. He had a cow with a calf too, and an old lame horse-twenty-five years of age-and chickens, and pigeons, and two lambs, and many other animals. But his favorite pets were Dab-Dab the duck, Jip the dog, Gub-Gub the baby pig, Polynesia the parrot, and the owl Too-Too.

His sister used to grumble about all these animals and said they made the house untidy. And one day when an old lady with rheumatism came to see the Doctor, she sat on the hedgehog who was sleeping on the sofa and never came to see him anymore, but drove every Saturday all the way to Oxenthorpe, another town ten miles off, to see a different doctor.

Then his sister, Sarah Dolittle, came to him and said,

"John, how can you expect sick people to come and see you when you keep all these animals in the house? It's a fine doctor would have his parlor full of hedgehogs and mice! That's the fourth personage these animals have driven away. Squire Jenkins and the Parson say they wouldn't come near your house again-no matter how sick they are. We are getting poorer every day. If you go on like this, none of the best people will have you for a doctor."

"But I like the animals better than the 'best people'," said the Doctor.

"You are ridiculous," said his sister, and walked out of the room.

So, as time went on, the Doctor got more and more animals; and the people who came to see him got less and less. Till at last he had no one left-except the Cat's-meat-Man, who didn't mind any kind of animals. But the Cat's-meat-Man wasn't very rich and he only got sick once a year-at Christmas-time, when he used to give the Doctor sixpence for a bottle of medicine.

Sixpence a year wasn't enough to live on-even in those days, long ago; and if the Doctor hadn't had some money saved up in his money-box, no one knows what would have happened.

And he kept on getting still more pets; and of course it cost a lot to feed them. And the money he had saved up grew littler and littler.

Then he sold his piano, and let the mice live in a bureau-drawer. But the money he got for that too began to go, so he sold the brown suit he wore on Sundays and went on becoming poorer and poorer.

And now, when he walked down the street in his high hat, people would say to one another, "There goes John Dolittle, M.D.! There was a time when he was the best known doctor in the West Country-Look at him now-He hasn't any money and his stockings are full of holes!"

But the dogs and the cats and the children still ran up and followed him through the town-the same as they had done when he was rich.

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    The Story of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting    

Chapter 1: Puddleby

Performer: LibriVox - Phil Chenevert

Directions

Study the story for one week.

Over the week:

  • Read or listen to the story one or more times.
  • Review the synopsis.
  • Study the vocabulary words.
  • Complete the enrichment activities.
  • Discuss the review questions.

Synopsis

Dr. Dolittle is an admired doctor in the town of Puddleby-on-the-Marsh. He lives with his sister, Sarah, and his many pets in a small house with a large garden. His favorite pets are Dab-Dab, the duck, Jip, the dog, Gub-Gub, the pig, Polynesia, the parrot, and Too-Too, the owl. Sarah, who does the housekeeping, dislikes the animals and believes they make the house untidy. Over time, Dr. Dolittle's growing collection of animals drive his patients away. Dr. Dolittle and Sarah grow poorer and poorer, but Dr. Dolittle refuses to part with his beloved pets.

New Words

Housekeeper: A person who manages the running of a household, often including cooking, cleaning, and other tasks.
Hedgehog: A small mammal with a spiny coat and short legs, able to roll into a ball for self-defense.
Parrot: A brightly colored tropical bird with a raucous voice. Many can mimic human speech.
Untidy: Arranged neatly and in order.
Sixpence: An old British coin, last minted in the 1970s.
Bureau: A chest of drawers.

Word definitions in this document derived from Google Search 'define'.

Enrichment

Activity 1: Study the Story Pictures

  • Before reading or listening to the story, study and describe the pictures accompanying the story.

Activity 2: Recite the Book Information

  • Before and after reading or listening to the story, recite aloud the name of the author, the title of the book, and the title of the chapter.

Activity 3: Narrate the Story

  • After reading or listening to the story, narrate the events of the story aloud in your own words.

Activity 4: Draw the Story

  • Draw Dr. Dolittle's favorite pets.
  • Dab-Dab the Duck
  • Jip the Dog
  • Gub-Gub the Pig
  • Polynesia the Parrot
  • Too-Too the Owl

Review Questions

Question 1

What does Dr. Dolittle do for a living?
1 / 4

Answer 1

Dr. Dolittle is a people doctor.
1 / 4

Question 2

Why doesn't Sarah like Dr. Dolittle's animals?
2 / 4

Answer 2

The animals make the house untidy.
2 / 4

Question 3

Why does Sarah get mad at Dr. Dolittle?
3 / 4

Answer 3

Dr. Dolittle refuses to get rid of any of his pets.
3 / 4

Question 4

Why does Dr. Dolittle lose his patients?
4 / 4

Answer 4

Dr. Dolittle's many pets drive the people away.
4 / 4

  1. What does Dr. Dolittle do for a living? Dr. Dolittle is a people doctor.
  2. Why doesn't Sarah like Dr. Dolittle's animals? The animals make the house untidy.
  3. Why does Sarah get mad at Dr. Dolittle? Dr. Dolittle refuses to get rid of any of his pets.
  4. Why does Dr. Dolittle lose his patients? Dr. Dolittle's many pets drive the people away.