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Hugh Lofting was born in Maidenhead. His early education was in Shefield, after which he went to the United States and completed a degree in Civil Engineering. He traveled widely as a civil engineer before enlisting to serve in World War I. It is said that he did not wish to write to his children of the brutality of the war so he wrote stories to them that were the foundation of the Doctor Dolittle novels. Seriously wounded in the war, he moved with his family to Connecticut in the United States, he was married three times and had three children. Lofting commented, "For years it was a constant source of shock to me to find my writings amongst 'juveniles'. It does not bother me any more now, but I still feel there should be a category of 'seniles' to offset the epithet." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugh_Lofting

Doctor Dolittle

Hugh Lofting's doctor from Puddleby-on-the-Marsh who could speak to animals first saw light in the author's illustrated letters to his children, written from the trenches during World War I when actual news, he later said, was either too horrible or too dull. The stories are set in early Victorian England, (in and around the 1840s)

The Story of Doctor Dolittle: Being the History of His Peculiar Life at Home and Astonishing Adventures in Foreign Parts Never Before Printed (1920) began the series and won the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award in 1958. Nine more books followed, and after Lofting's death two more volumes, composed of short unpublished pieces, appeared. By their internal chronology the books stack up somewhat differently than the publishing order. The first book is followed by Doctor Dolittle's Post Office (1923), Doctor Dolittle's Circus (1924) and Doctor Dolittle's Caravan (1926). Only then follows the second book, The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle (1922), continued by Doctor Dolittle's Zoo (1925). After that, the publishing order is restored; Doctor Dolittle's Garden (1927) is followed by Doctor Dolittle in the Moon (1928) and Doctor Dolittle's Return (1933), ending with Doctor Dolittle and the Secret Lake (1948). The series has been adapted for film and television many times, for stage twice, and for radio.

Other Works for Children

The Story of Mrs Tubbs (1923) and Tommy, Tilly, and Mrs. Tubbs (1936) are picture books aimed at a younger audience than the Doctor Dolittle books. They concern an old woman, her pets (with whom she can speak) and the animals who help her out of trouble.

Porridge Poetry (1924) is a lighthearted, colorfully illustrated book of poems for children.

Noisy Nora (1929) is a cautionary tale about a girl who is a noisy eater. The book is printed as if hand-written, and the many illustrations often merge with the text.

The Twilight of Magic (1930) is aimed at older readers. It is set in an age when magic is dying and science is beginning. This work is the only one of Lofting's books to be illustrated by another person. (the end papers are shown below)

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This site lists all the first editions with images of the front board or dust jacket and end papers or frontis & title page of the British editions. It should be noted that many of Loftings books, because he lived in America, were first published there by Frederick A. Stokes or J. B. Lippincott & Co, often a year earlier than the UK edition and these different dates are noted for each item. One item not shown is the 1925 copy of 'The Flying Carpet', an anthology which includes a brief Dr Dolittle story. 
Click on the image to enlarge.

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