readallthenewberys: animated gif of Snoopy writing a story with multiple strange subplots (Default)
[personal profile] justice_turtle
Summary: cut for spoilers )

Reaction: OH MY GOSH THIS IS SO MUCH BETTER THAN THE RUN OF THE MILL SO FAR I CANNOT EVEN. It's got pacing! And good dialogue and overall good writing, and is not creepy! And is really, really environmentally sensitive and awesome - Dolittle has rants against keeping tigers and lions in zoos, and against bullfighting, and a Bird-of-Paradise snarks about being hunted for her feathers, and all the things. It's glorious. Plus, the little boy actually sounds like his right age, and generally... if I had read this book as a kid I would have loved it most entirely to pieces forever. :D

Dolittle is a bit colonialist when he tries to rant about politics (the whole spoilers ) arc has some pretty colonialist overtones), and there are a couple of n-bombs dropped by a parrot who's generally a sympathetic character, plus an African prince serves partly as embarrassingly comic relief - although only partly. Get through his first two or three chapters and he mellows down to a sort of... blend between Thor and Jeeves, I want to say. It's kind of epic, and definitely ahead of the rest of these books that've portrayed people of color! :P Just not far ENOUGH ahead, in this particular category. o_O

Conclusion: Four stars. FOR BEING AWESOME. If it weren't for the N-bombs and the colonialism, I'd flirt with giving it five. Definitely worth a read if you can get through those chapters.

ETA Oct 6, 2012: There is a bowdlerized version, but apparently it's very badly done. That link has a good overview of it. The Gutenberg version is complete and unabridged; so is the most recent Penguin paperback, which I read.
readallthenewberys: animated gif of Snoopy writing a story with multiple strange subplots (Default)
[personal profile] justice_turtle
Mmm...kay. We get to the first book I've heard of on the list! It is not enticing. ;-)

The edition I have is a brand new Signet Classic, checked out of the library's "Popular" section. I am now side-eyeing the library fairly hard, because I have heard it rumored that the Dr Dolittle books are pretty racist. (I could get into a whole debate over what belongs in a library's "Popular" section, but I won't. Unless people want to start it in comments. *g* I'm always up for polite discussion in comments.)

Me, myself, I've never read this book at all that I know of, and only a couple of excerpts from the first book, The Story of Doctor Dolittle - I know I've read the part where he learns to talk to animals from his parrot and becomes an animal doctor (Ka-ka oi-ee, fee-fee? is Parrot-speak for "Is the porridge hot yet?"; I spent SO MANY hours as a four-year-old trying to parse the syntax there... no wonder I fell in love with The Lord of the Rings at ten, come to think on), and I've read an excerpt about the Pushmi-Pullyu but I couldn't tell you which book it was from. Honestly, I didn't know there was more than one until I started poking around Newbery Medal history and learned that the first book was published the year before the Newberys started.

Looking at some other Newbery reading blogs (I've linked a few on the comm profile now), I suspect I'm going to start running across books I know from excerpts in ancient school readers but have never read in full. Some of the synopses sound very familiar.

But for now - off we go! With *reads back of book* Dr Dolittle and young Tommy Stubbins.

snippity snip CUT )

So there you have it! Insensitive in spots, definitely colonial, but so much better than most other things I've read from this list I can't even.
readallthenewberys: animated gif of Snoopy writing a story with multiple strange subplots (Default)
[personal profile] justice_turtle

For standard disclaimer, blog rating information, and comment policy, go here or to the comm profile page.

Liveblogs are linked to titles, reviews to the "# stars". Asterisk denotes a book I think should have won the Newbery Medal, whether it did or not. Free online editions are linked in parentheses if available. Bold means previously read, not reviewed yet. Strikeout means unavailable to me except through interlibrary loan. Italics mean I couldn't finish. Plus sign means not a Newbery winner or Honor Book (usually added because another book from the same series or by the same author is on the list, e.g. Little House on the Prairie).

cut for length )


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Read ALL the Newberys!

October 2014

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