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Doctor John Dolittle, the veterinarian who can actually talk to animals, sets sail on the high seas for new adventures! Accompanied by his young friend Tommy Stubbins and the beloved animals of his household – Polynesia the parrot, Jip the dog, and Chee-Chee the monkey – the good doctor is off to forbidding Spider Monkey Island to examine the rare jabizri beetle. But the mysterious island holds another, darker secret: The famous Indian naturalist, Long Arrow, has mysteriously disappeared – and Doctor Dolittle urgently needs to speak with him. Doctor Dolittle and his friends brave a shipwreck, find the floating island, and meet the incredible Great Glass Sea Snail – the keeper of the greatest mystery of all.
MY name was Tommy Stubbins, son of Jacob Stubbins, the cobbler of Puddleby–on–the–Marsh; and I was nine and a half years old. At that time Puddleby was only quite a small town. A river ran through the middle of it; and over this river there was a very old stone bridge, called Kingsbridge, which led you from the market–place on one side to the churchyard on the other.
Sailing–ships came up this river from the sea and anchored near the bridge. I used to go down and watch the sailors unloading the ships upon the river–wall. The sailors sang strange songs as they pulled upon the ropes; and I learned these songs by heart. And I would sit on the river–wall with my feet dangling over the water and sing with the men, pretending to myself that I too was a sailor.
For I longed always to sail away with those brave ships when they turned their backs on Puddleby Church and went creeping down the river again, across the wide lonely marshes to the sea. I longed to go with them out into the world to seek my fortune in foreign lands—Africa, India, China and Peru! When they got round the bend in the river and the water was hidden from view, you could still see their huge brown sails towering over the roofs of the town, moving onward slowly—like some gentle giants that walked among the houses without noise. What strange things would they have seen, I wondered, when next they came back to anchor at Kingsbridge! And, dreaming of the lands I had never seen, I’d sit on there, watching till they were out of sight.