Hugh Lofting's The Story of Dr. Dolittle reigns as the first in the beloved Dolittle series. While living with his spinster sister, the doctor realizes he can speak with animals, which leads him into plenty of trouble. David Case is one of the most engaging audio performers. His narration is crystal clear and upbeat, but his caricatures are the real delight. He is a one-man troop of actors, giving each line of dialogue totally unique attributes. When Case has this much fun with the story, so will listeners.
Hugh Lofting, winner of the 1923 Newbery Medal for The Voyages of Dr. Dolittle, has a gifted knack for imbuing unique, distinct personalities in his characters, human and animal alike.
©1995 Phoenix Recordings; (P)2004 Tantor Media, Inc. Originally published 1920.
David Case (who also widely recorded under the name Frederick Davidson) was the worst possible choice for this children's classic. He seems to have narrated tons of audiobooks and read every one of them in exactly the same mannered style, with the voice of a sneering, supercilious, effeminate headwaiter. (The fact that he was chosen to narrate many of George Orwell's books strikes me as beyond ludicrous, as Case had precisely the cold, snobbish, pseudo-upper-class English accent that Orwell despised.) One also has the sense that Case is reading this material for the first time and just winging it -- which I gather is true of most hardworking professional readers, but the good ones miraculously manage to conceal this fact.
"Dolittle" deserves someone with a warmer voice, a voice intended for children's storytelling. I'm partial to Bernard Mayes, Martin Jarvis, Jonathan Cecil, and David Thorn, having enjoyed a number of their readings on Audible, but there surely are dozens of others equally adept.
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