Hugh Lofting was born in Maidenhead in 1886. As a child he kept a miniature zoo in his mother's linen cupboard and enjoyed making up stories for his family. He fought in the trenches during the First World War and it was whilst he was observing the lack of compassion shown to the horses on the battlefields that the idea for Doctor Dolittle was born, as the main character in letters Hugh sent home from the front to entertain his children. The Story of Doctor Dolittle was published in 1920 and followed by a further eleven books. In 1923 Hugh Lofting was awarded the Newbery Medal. He died in 1947.