Book Cover
Title The Jungle Books
Author Rudyard Kipling
Cover Art ---
Publisher Airmont Publishing - 1966
First Printing 1894
Book Cover
Title Just So Stories & The Jungle Book
Author Rudyard Kipling
Illustrated By Rudyard Kipling
Publisher Collector's Library - 2004
First Printing 1894
Category Children
Warnings None
Main Characters Mowgli, Bagheera, Baloo, Shere Khan, Kaa
Main Elements Anthropormorphic

  • Mowgli's Brothers
  • Kaa's Hunting
  • "Tiger-Tiger!"
  • The White Seal
  • "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi"
  • Toomai of the Elephants
  • Servants of the Queen
  • How Fear Came
  • The Miracle of Purun Bhagat
  • Letting in the Jungle
  • The Undertakers
  • The King's Ankus
  • Quiquern
  • Red Dog
  • Spring Running

The world of The Jungle Books is the charming and entertaining realm of animal fables. Geographically, the stories range from the dens of the Seeonee Wolf Pack in India to the Novastoshnah seal colony in the Bering Sea, from a shrine high in the Himalayas to a garden of an English bungalow in the village of Segowlie. The geography of the stories, however, is secondary to the large and varied casts of remarkable animals which people them.

The Jungle Books provide a delightful journey into a world which is quickly disappearing. Mowgli and his personified friends will continue to challenge the imagination and win the favor of young readers. In our modern world of speed and space, these stories give us a quiet sojourn into the jungle kingdom of the past. It is not a prime consideration that Rudyard Kipling reflected in many of these stories the particular concerns of his own age, the age during which Charles Darwin once and for all time linked mankind to the world of the jungle. Perhaps it is in connection with this latter consideration that older readers can also profit from an initial reading, or, as is more likely, a rereading of Kipling's famous fables.

As a child, I saw the Disney movies. So when I started reading this collection of short stories I recognized the characters...but not the plots. You could see how the movie was based on the books, but let's just say Disney altered the story just a tad.

That said, I have to admit I didn't like the stories all that much. The language was kind of stilted (well, it was written over a century ago), and of course it was a bit of a shock to find Kaa as one of the good guys...well ok, as good as a python might be expected to be given the circumstances. Overall the stories are much more violent, graphic and dark compared to the movie. Not surprising considering Disney managed to make a movie about the Hunchback of Notre Dame, a gothic horror story.

The Mowgli stories are interspersed by various other stories, and on the whole I liked those tales better, maybe because I didn't much care for Mowgli himself. Didn't much care for the character in the movie either so thats just me. Perhaps because I read these stories for the first time as an adult and not a child that I didn't enjoy them as much as I might have had. Perhaps I need to do what is suggested by the back cover of the book, read them from a more scholarly point of view rather than just read them as little stories about animals.

So while your children will probably enjoy these stories more than me, I would highly recommend another set of stories by Kipling, the Just So Stories. I found even as an adult that they were enchanting, and certainly not as dark as The Jungle Books.

May 2011 - I picked up the second book as I was collecting the Collector's Library series of classics. I also thought I would be able to replace the old copy of the Jungle Books that was falling apart on me. But buyer look carefully at the very last letter. The Collector's Library has only the Jungle Book, not the Jungle Books of which there are two! So looks like I will have to hang onto that old used copy for a while longer.

Posted: April 2010


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