Written By: Jean Fritz Reviewed Edition: Coward-McCann, Inc., New York, 1958 No ISBN Shown Hardcover, 57 pages Quotes Table of Contents
The Animals of Doctor Schweitzer tells stories about the pets and tamed wild animals who lived with Albert Schweitzer at his hospital in Lambarene. It begins with the story of Monsieur le Pelican, and continues with stories of Thekla the boar, Tchu-Tchu the dog, and several others. The stories are partly about the animals, and partly about Albert Schweitzer and his compassion for all life.
This is a children's book, with large font text and pencil drawings on about half the pages. While I am not a good judge of reading levels, I would suggest that the text is aimed at children with third or fourth grade reading levels. The content is suitable for people of any age.
"When visitors and new patients arrive, [Monsieur le Pelican] is the first one to greet them under the mango tree where canoes dock. He lumbers up from behind a tree or rock and looks over each newcomer carefully. Day and night he must be on guard, he seems to say. Not only at the river back and at the doctor's door; the whole hospital comes under his wing. Sometimes he follows the African sheep to pasture and, mounting an old stump, he stands guard while they graze. There is one big, horny ram who is his particular friend. He always stands close and pays special attention when Monsieur le Pelican starts lecturing from his stump. Surely this is what he is doing. He nods his head, flaps and points his wings, and becomes very excited. Perhaps he is warning the sheep against the dangers of the world outside. Perhaps, some people say, he is repeating one of the Great Doctor's own sermons."
"The Great Doctor wasn't looking and Leonie [the tame young antelope] reached her lovely long neck up until her head rested on the edge of the doctor's table. There in front of her was a stack of crinkly, crumply papers. Very gently Leonie opened her mouth and she crinkled the papers and she crumpled them and she chewed them all up. She didn't know, of course, that she was eating a chapter of the Great Doctor's famous book, The Philosophy of Civilization.
When the Great Doctor discovered what had happened, he shook his head and he smiled. 'Ah, Leonie,' he said, 'I see you have a taste for literature.' And he wrote his chapter again. After that he kept his work on a shelf too high for Leonie to reach and from time to time he brought Leonie a supply of manioc leaves to chew."
Table of Contents of The Animals of Doctor Schweitzer
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