John Doolittle is a kind-hearted country physician who keeps goldfish in his pond, rabbits in the pantry, white mice in a piano, and a hedgehog in the cellar. He also has an unusual gift: he can talk to animals - a talent that comes in handy, since he prefers treating animals, rather than humans, as his patients. One day, a mysterious call summons him to Africa, where a serious epidemic has spread among the monkey population. Of course, the good doctor sets out immediately with some of his best friends - Jip, the dog, and Polynesia, the parrot, among others. Along the way, they're joined by new acquaintances, including the pushmi-pullyu, a remarkable creature that has a head at both ends of its body. "Any child who is not given the opportunity to make the acquaintance of this rotund, kindly, and enthusiastic doctor/naturalist and all of his animal friends will miss out on something important," said renowned primatologist Jane Goodall.