Sir Hugh Walpole, in his introduction to the tenth printing of The Story of Doctor Dolittle, praised Lofting as a "genius" for his understanding of what delights children, for his line drawings, for his creation of the character of Doctor Dolittle, and for giving life to animals. In this latter area in particular, Walpole claims that Lofting is the true successor to Lewis Carroll.
Though Walpole's comments are often quoted, they are hyperbolic. Lofting has considerable imaginative talents as a storyteller and illustrator, but his work lacks the psychological depth of Carroll's. Though Carroll and Lofting share a love of fantasy and language, Lofting's work is more on a level with P. L. Traver's Mary Poppins series than with Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
The central charm of The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle lies in the character of the doctor himself and his caring and respectful treatment of animals. Other stories, such as The Wind in the Willows and Charlotte's Web, have animals who speak human language; Doctor Dolittle is one of the few human characters who cares enough about animals to communicate with them. Dolittle's concern for animals obviously is the author's concern; episodes like the Fidget's recreation of the miseries of aquarium life and the bullfight which Dolittle wins by not harming the bulls show Lofting's feelings about the humane treatment of animals.
Lofting also packs...
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