Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Story of Doctor Dolittle

This is a classic children's book which I remember loving as a child, so I thought I'd read it to my girls.  They loved it.  Hugh Lofting creates such an awesome world in this book:
A few chapters into the book, Dr. Dolittle decides to stop treating human patients and begin treating animal patients.  His sister, who is his housekeeper, gets mad and leaves.  Then the animals take over with all of the housekeeping duties.  Catherine said to me "this book got pretty silly pretty quickly - I have never heard of a dog sweeping the floor!" 

My girls do a great job of stopping me as we go and asking me to define words they do not know.  "Housekeeper" was one of the words they asked me to define.  Then, for the next few days, we try to use the word as much as we can to learn it.  Catherine of course has to put a princess spin on it, and reminded me that Cinderella was a housekeeper.  I told her that Snow White was also a housekeeper, for the dwarfs.

As the plot progresses, there is a crisis in Africa and lots of monkeys need medical care.  Dr. Dolittle and his house animals travel to Africa to treat the monkeys, then they travel back to England.  On the way they shipwreck, encounter pirates, and have quite a few adventures.

Over the summer Catherine went to geography camp (I know, only home schoolers would do that to their children).  She learned some songs and dances relating to maps.  One song she learned was about the countries of northern Africa, which included a wing/arm-flapping step for the Canary Islands.  For weeks after geography camp, she did those songs and dances.  But we have not done them since. 

When we read the part of the story in which Dr. Dolittle lands on the Canary Islands, Catherine was screamed out "I know where that is!" and sang song.

I highly recommend this book.  It is silly, adventurous and teaches a little bit about geography!

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