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The Story of Doctor Dolittle

Adapted from a story by Hugh Lofting

Once upon a time, many years ago — when our grandfathers were little children — there was a doctor and his name was John Dolittle. He lived in a little town called Puddleby-on-the-Marsh. All the people, young and old, knew him very well and when he walked down the street in his high hat everybody said:

“There goes the doctor. He’s a very clever man.”

All the dogs and cats knew him and even the birds that lived in the roof of the church knew him.

The house in which he lived was quite small but his garden was very large and had a lot of grass and flowers. His sister, Sarah Dolittle, took care of the doctor and the doctor took care of the garden. He loved animals and kept many pets. He had goldfish in the pond at the end of the garden, rabbits, white mice, a cow, a horse, chickens and many, many more. His favourite pets were Dab-Dab the duck, Jip the dog and Polynesia the parrot. His sister always said that she could never keep the house tidy when there were so many animals.

One day when an old lady came to see the doctor she sat on a hedgehog which was asleep on the sofa. The old lady never came again. Then his sister, Sarah Dolittle, came to see him and said: “John, people will not come to see you if you have so many pets in the house. A doctor cannot have a living room for hedgehogs and mice. Mr Jenkins and Mr Parsons say that they will never come near your house again. Soon we will have no money because the best people won’t have you for a doctor.”

“But I like my pets more than the ‘best people’,” said the doctor.

His sister left the room, she knew she couldn’t talk to him about his pets.

So, as time went on, the doctor got more and more pets but nobody came to see him. Only the Cat’s-meat-Man came because he liked all animals. John Dolittle had more and more pets and it took a lot of money to buy them food. So he sold his piano. Then he sold his brown suit that he wore on Sundays. And now when he walked down the street in his high hat people said to one another, “There goes John Dolittle. There was a time when he was the best doctor in town. Look at him now. He hasn’t any money and his socks and shoes are nothing but holes.” But the dogs and the cats and the birds loved him as before.

One day the doctor was in his kitchen with the Cat’s-meat-Man.

“You should take care of people’s pets,” said the Cat’s-meat- Man. The parrot Polynesia stopped talking and started to listen.

“You know so much about pets,” said the Cat’s-meat-Man. “My wife read your book about cats to me. It’s wonderful. You know how cats think. You could make a lot of money. Do you know that? I can send you all the people who have pets that are not very well. You can be their doctor.”

The Cat’s-meat-Man left the doctor to think about his idea. The parrot flew on to the doctor’s table and said: “That man is clever. That’s what you must do. Take care of animals and not people.”

“Oh, there are a lot of animal doctors,” said John Dolittle.

“Yes, there are a lot,” said Polynesia. “But they are not as good as you. Now listen and I’ll tell you something. Did you know that animals can talk?” “I knew that parrots can talk,” said the doctor.

“Oh, we parrots can speak two languages — people’s language and birds’ language,” said Polynesia. “If I say, ‘Polly wants a bis­cuit,’ you understand me. But listen: Ka-ka, oi-ee, fee-fee?”

“What did you say?” said the doctor.

“I said, ‘Is the porridge hot yet?’ — in birds’ language.”

“You have never talked that way to me before,” said the doctor.

“Tell me some more.”

He went to get some paper and a pencil.

“Now don’t go too fast and I’ll write it down. Give me the Birds’ ABC first —slowly now.” And that is how the doctor came to know that animals have a language of their own and that they can talk to each other. Soon, with the parrot’s help, the doctor learnt the language of the animals so well that he could talk to them and understand what they said.

When the Cat’s-meat-Man told everybody that John Dolittle was now an animal doctor people began to bring him their pets. He had a lot more work than before. And you will understand that the pets were so happy that at last they had a doctor who really knew what they wanted or needed.


  1. Word List

Even – even a little children know that. He nerer even opened the letter. It’s cold there even in July. Even if it rains.

Church – old, new, big, English. There are many churches in Kiev. They go to the church on Sundays.

Roof – on the roof, under the roof, above the roof. They need a new roof. I see many birds on the roof.

Quite –small, big, new, fresh. I fell quite well. I quite agree (understand). She is quite alive. It’s quite another story.

Take care – parents take care of their children. His sister takes care of him. When you have a pet you should take care of it.

Pond – There are ducks at the pond. There is a pond at the end of the garden. The pond is full of fish.

Tidy – gird, boy, room. To keep tidy. She kept the house tidy. You should be tidy. Wash your face to look tidy.

Hedgehog – hedgehogs live in the forest (like apples, mushrooms, mice). I have a small hedgehog. I bought a hedgehog  from the forest.

Again – come again some other day. Do it again (sat it). I repeat again and again.  Why did you take it again?

As time went he became well (big, clever, a good sportsmen.)

Only – you, children, grown-ups,  pupils of our school. I see only one bird. I know only her sister.

Nothing but – she has nothing but a cow. They had nobody but their granny. His sooks are nothing but holes.

Before – dinner, breakfast, June. As before. Friendly as before.

Should – You shold take care of her (buy her a new dress, go there now, not fish here, touch nothing).

Language – The English language, the Ukrainian kanguage. I want to know 2 or 3 languages. What languages do you know?

  1. False or true:
  1. Once upon a time there was an actor.
  2. That was the time when out mothers were little children.
  3. The doctor lived in a village.
  4. All the people knew him because he was a good doctor.
  5. He loved snakes and kept them at home.
  6. His brother said it was good to have so many animals.
  7. People stopped coming to see Doctor Dolittle.
  8. Doc. Dolittle sold everything to buy food for his animals.
  9. Only thr Cat’s-Meat-Man visited Doc.Dolittle.
  10. Doc.Dolittle’s siter had a good idea.
  11. The idea was to take care of old people.
  12. Polinesia was a donkey.
  13. The parrot loved the idea to take care of the animals. That are not well.
  14. Polinesia asked Doc.Dolittle to be an animal doctor.
  15. Polinesia knew 4 languages.
  16. Doctor Dolittle began to learn the birds ABC.
  17. Soon the Cat’s-Meat-Man knew the language of animals.
  18. Doc.Dolittle has a lot of work with people’s pets.
  19. The doctor really knew what animals needed (wanted).
  1. Check your facts

1) John Dolittle sold his a) horse and cow, b) house, c) piano and suit.

2) Dab-Dab was a a) dog, b) duck, c) parrot.

3) Who taught John Dolittle how to speak to the animals? a) The Cat’s-meat-Man, b) Sarah Dolittle, c) Polynesia.

4) John Dolittle’s sister’s name was a) Mary, b) Jane, c) Sarah.

5) Who lived in the roof of the church? a) cats, b) parrots, c) birds.

  1. Check your grammar

Try and find all the past simple verbs in the text and then give their present tense.

  1. Answer the questions

1) Where did John Dolittle live?

2) What animals lived in his house?

3) Did Sarah Dolittle like the animals?

4) Why did people stop coming to see John Dolittle?

5) What did the Cat’s-meat-Man tell him to do?

6) Was Polynesia a clever parrot? Why do you think so?

7) Why did the animals like John Dolittle?

8) Do you like animals? Read the text again and make a list of the animals.

  1. Tell us about:
  1. John Dolittle and his pets.
  2. Your favorite animal or pet.
  1. Synonyms:     Antonyms:

Called – named     Young – old

High –tall     High- low

Everybody – everyone   Clever – fool, stupid

Clever – smart    Everybody – nobody

Quite – rather     Always – never

Take care – look after   Tidy – untidy

Favorite – loved    Best – worst

To start – to begin    To leave – to enter

I want – I need    To sell – to buy

That way – so     Everything – nothing

Fast – quick     Before – after

Each – other     To send – to get

One – another    More – less

Happy – glad     Fast – slow

      Happy - unhappy







30 січня 2019
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