Review Detail

4.5 2
Kids Fiction 1379
If Only I Was Dr. Dolittle
(Updated: December 04, 2013)
Overall rating
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
Slightly older readers have all seen one too many talking My Little Pony or nonsensical “bow wow” from Blue via Blue’s Clues to become wary of any sort of media featuring talking animals. Sometimes they’re just too dang annoying or childish to really merit spending time with these Chatty Kathy critters. So when a captivating book featuring only talking animals comes along, it’s a pleasant surprise. Barry Wolverton’s "Neversink" really stands out as one such story.

Wolverton shows the key to talking animals is giving said animals a sort of sophistication. There is no need for barks intermingled with simple monosyllabic words, or to have the animal convo so dumbed down it becomes condescending to young readers. Wolverton’s characters have such an air of intelligence and wit around them that you can’t help but be pulled in by their conversations.

Furthermore, the adventure of Wolverton’s animal characters has some importance to it, rather than a “Let’s all go play in the sandbox!” kind of feel. Lockley J. Puffin actually has to save his entire species from famine all while attempting to overthrow a corrupt government. I just don’t think there are enough clues in the world for Blue to tackle those kind of challenges. Wolverton’s characters, however, have all the qualities needed to handle just such an adventure, and they make me wish I had some Dr. Dolittle-like powers to have a nice chat with all of them.
Good Points
Sophisticated and witty banter from animal characters.
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