on August 22, 2011
"The Jungle Book" is a collection of stories (or fables) and songs/poems by Rudyard Kipling, and was originally published in 1894. The book consists of 7 short stories, separated by seven poems. The first three stories involve Mowgli, but the other four stories are not part of that series, nor do they all take place in the same jungle or any jungle at all. What these stories do have in common is the anthropomorphizing of animals as characters in these stories. As with all fables, these stories impart a moral message to the reader.
"Mowgli's Brothers" is the first story in the book and was originally published in January of 1894 in "St. Nicholas Magazine". The story is about Mowgli being adopted by the wolf family which then raises him. With Shere Khan hunting in their area of the jungle, the Father Wolf (Akela) and the mother (Raksha) find and take in a human baby. At the wolf council, Baloo speaks for the cub, and Bagheera buys his life with a fresh kill. As time passes, Shere Khan turns most of the wolves against Mowgli, and they plot to overthrow Akela as the leader. Mowgli is then sent away from the wolves, vowing to return with Shere Khan's hide. This story is followed by the "Hunting-Song of the Seeonee Pack".
"Kaa's Hunting" is a short study from March-April of 1894. It takes place sometime during the period covered in "Mowgli's Brothers", though it isn't mentioned in that story. It is a story about Mowgli's abduction by monkees, a.k.a the Bandar-log. Baloo and Bagheera, rescue Mowgli with the aid of Kaa. This story is followed by the "Road Song of the Bandar-Log".
"Tiger! Tiger!" was a short story published in February of 1894 in magazines before being published in this collection. This covers the confrontation between Mowgli and Shere Khan. Mowgli has been kicked out of the jungle and has been adopted by a couple who believe he is Nathoo, the child that they lost. Mowgli tries to fit in, but he alienates himself from the others because he doesn't accept their misconceptions about the jungle. Shere Khan returns and is plotting to kill Mowgli, but he is warned by one of his wolf friends (Grey Brother) whom he goes to visit regularly. Mowgli comes up with a plan to kill Shere Khan, but when successful he gets into an argument with Buldeo, the hunger. Buldeo tries to take Shere Khan's skin, but Mowgli refuses to give it to him, so Buldeo turns the entire village against him and Mowgli finds himself an outcast of both the jungle and the village. This story is followed by "Mowgli's Song".
"The White Seal" is a short story published in August of 1893. The story is about Kotick, a rare white-furred seal who spends his life searching for a home where seals will not be hunted by humans. He is isolated from the other seals by his goal, but he finally discovers a place that the Sea Cows know which is free from man. This story is followed by "Lukannon".
"Rikki-Tikki-Tavi" is a story from November of 1893. In this story an English family save a young mongoose (Rikki Tikki) who becomes their pet. Rikki Tikki first saves the families young boy Teddy from a dust brown snakeling. Rikki Tikki takes to patrolling the house while the family sleeps, and it is during this that he is warned by Chuchundra that there are two cobras (Nag and Nagaina) that are planning to kill the family. Rikki Tikki first takes on Nag, waking the father who kills Nag. Nagaina then swears vengeance, but Rikki Tikki gets help from Darzee (a tailor bird) and locates Nagainaj's nest and then uses the eggs to distract Nagaina to save Teddy again. This story is followed by "Darzee's Chant".
"Toomai of the Elephants" is a short story from the December of 1893. In this story little Toomai is told that he cannot be an elephant handler unless he sees the dance of the elephants. When the great elephant Kala Nag hears the call of the elephant from far off in the jungle, he goes to find the elephants, taking little Toomai with him. This story is followed y "Shiv and the Grasshopper".
"Her Majesty's Servants" was originally published in March of 1894. This story is about the various animals used to support Her Majesty's armed forces in India. The animals discuss their roles in the army, each taking pride in the function they perform. This is followed by "Parade-Song of the Camp Animals" which closes out the book.
This is a good collection of short stories, though there is a definite variability in the quality, and of course they don't all take place in the jungle. Rudyard Kipling wrote poems, short stories, and novels. Having lived in India, England, and the United States, and also spent a fair amount of time in South Africa. He drew on the rich cultural history that he enjoyed to create some wonderful tales. He remains one of the best known writers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. "The Jungle Book" is one of his best known works, though most know it through films which do not accurately represent the stories within. It blends his short fiction with some of his poems, but I find it a bit too uneven to give it five-stars.
on November 24, 2010
Legends are made from legends. Rudyard Kipling dug deep into the tales of the jungle from his years living in India, and drew from them the kinds of stories that live forever.
"The Jungle Book" is more than how Mowgli, the man cub, learns to live and survive amongst enemies like Shere Khan. The intense mongoose vs cobra "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi," also well-known, is here, as are several lesser-known and unrelated adventures.
Richly written, with details and contexts unfamiliar to Western readers, "The Jungle Book" lifts imagination and language beautifully. Poetic, and written in a literary style, it shines above most modern prose.
This is the stuff of afternoon stories read to older boys and girls. Young teens will while away rainy evenings, unwilling to part until finished. Sometimes scary and always exciting, Kipling also uses the book to teach lessons much greater than a jungle in India.
When chapters were first read to me many years ago, I listened gawk-eyed, listening intently for as long as my mother would read. I read it with different eyes now, but no less a young boy as I worry how Baloo will handle the Bandar-Log monkeys.
It isn't perfect. A few scientific details are fudged (wolf pack breeding structure, for example), but nothing that matters in the big picture. Kipling will have you in the palm of his hand, even though it was first published over 100 years ago.
May "The Jungle Book" by Rudyard Kipling be as amazing to you as it has been to me.
on June 19, 2004
I've been looking for the "Jungle Book" book since I watched both Disney films. Both are wonderful but I do understand what reviewer rockdoc28 meant by there being a watering down of Rudyard Kipling's work.
However, has anyone watched a Chuck Jones' cartoon?
Known as Charles Jones during the earlier cartoon age with Merry Melodies and Loony Tunes, when Jones took over directing the Tom & Jerry cartoons during the 60's, he took a well-gifted hand at directing animated films based on Kipling's stories. Namely "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi" and even "The White Seal"(the latter I didn't know was within "The Jungle Book"). Chuck Jones really did these stories more justice than even Disney and he should have been given the right to redo the entire collection but, I digress... However, to rockdoc28,- and others- I found the comparison/contrast of original and adaptation helpful! So thanks! Also, to Jorge Frid and rockdoc28, the particualr edition I own I found when I attended Downtown Miami's annual Book Fair International.
It's called the Illustrated Junior Library by Grosset & Dunlap Publishers (c) 1950.
It is Kipling's original voice and style and it's simply magnificent.
on November 16, 2003
The Jungle Book
When we say "The Jungle Book" most of us invariably think of Disney's films, both animated and live action, that have become the norm for Rudyard Kipling's immortal children's stories. While the Disney interpretation is fun and enchanting, it makes a dramatic departure from the actual stories and takes considerable creative license in telling just a part of the Kipling stories. Even what we get from Disney falls considerably short of the applicable parts of Kipling's original that Disney used. What? Kaa, the snake, as Mowgli's friend and powerful ally? What? A deeper story of Mowgli's experience as a wolf and his relationships with Mother wolf and Father wolf? Oh yes, much, much more.
Kipling's original masterpiece also includes several other wonderful chapters about the continuing adventures of Mowgli and also adds the marvelous tale of "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi," the heroic mongoose whose battles with wicked cobras in an Indian garden easily matches Mowgli's showdowns with Shere Khan.
The book also includes the tale of "The White Seal." This short chapter of "The Jungle Book(s)" provides a wonderful commentary, in the form of animal parable, on human society, competition, male ego and human pride. Our hero, Kotick, the white seal, through his fearless explorations and his willingness to fight for a dream, changes the minds of his parents, his peers and his society for the better. The invitation to each of us is very clear to find and free the white seal that exists in all of us.
Don't get balled up in the notion that "The Jungle Book" is just for kids. A look beneath Kipling's wonderful prose reveals, like most great children's classics, that the author is using the unintimidating forum of children's literature to speak to kids of all ages with the hope that somehow we'll all finally get it.
Buy the book, read it, read it to the kids you know and learn the lesson.
on October 22, 2002
While I admire Disney's animation (and am looking forward to their Hamlet-ish The Lion King), I usually gripe about the changes they make in their movies from their source material. All one has to do is read the original Pinocchio, Peter Pan, or, supposedly, Bambi, to berate them for destroying classics. I probably should be bothered as well by their Jungle Book, except that I think that it was one of the cases where the marriage of animation, story and music achieves more than the original. Without the source material, it would be nothing, of course, but the wonderful songs (who can forget "Bare Necessities," "Trust in Me," or "I Wanna Be Like You"?) and the structure that turned Kipling's short tales into a two-hour movie create a gestalt that I'm not sure Kipling's tales do by themselves. This is probably sacrilege to the ears of the true Kipling fan, but I'm nothing if not opinionated.
The stories that make up the Jungle Book aren't solely about Mowgli, though, and it's the others, especially "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi," that make this a definate must have.
on January 4, 2002
There were some things I didn't like in the Jungle Book and that was that some people discrimanted at Mowgli because he was a human and not an animal. For example, the big elephants always didn't like Mowgli because he was a human but the little elephant always stayed his friend no matter what. I like the part that the little elephant was his friend but what about the others. His friends see whats on the inside and not what's on the outside.
Also we see how the bad guy wants to get the good guy. But it's not only in Jungle Book it's always. This book shows the ignorance of people towards animals. We see how different things show new things in life. For example, you can't be plain and boring all the time, you have to try new things in life to explore. But it's not only about life but also other things.
It's sad to notice that sometimes in life, people take advantage of you and in the Jungle Book that is clearly stated. You can see the love between animals and humans and that is what I think is the most important part of the book. The monkeys say thier Mowgli's friend but they aren't there when he needs them only the bear, Baloo is. And I think kids should be read this book becuase, It shows that if you try anything can be overcame. I loved this book, it was one of the most exciting and interesting books I have read in a while.
on January 4, 2002
The Jungle Book was a wonderful novel. It is about an Indian infant called Mowgli who is lost in the jungle, but then was placed in a wolf family. He grows up in the jungle therefore having no manners or any sense of human life. The Jungle Book show how friends can always be mad but then they come around. And they will always be there for you no matter what, if not then they aren't true friends. There is great ambition in Mowgli.
His story is great for all ages. A lot of the characters are explained in detail and you grow to actually love the animals. I think all kids should have read the book rather than see the movie becuase the book is much better.
Some of the values showed in this book are loyalty, trust honor, and courage. This book is valued by many children and it should be read to them as young kids to also expand their imagination. I think that this book was better than a lot of the books that Kipling has written before like "Rikki-tikki-tavi" or "Kim". I guess that I love the whole jungle scene better than any other of his books.
on November 27, 2001
This book was many short stories in it; most of the stories are about Mowgli and a few of them are about other animals and their adventures. My favorite one was Rikki-Tikki-Tavi.
Since this book is mostly about Mowgli, I should say something about it. Mowgli is a boy who was adopted by wolves and grew up to live with them all his life. He can speak their language and they love him. But Mowgli has one enemy, a lame tiger named Shere Kan. The Mother wolf had saved Mowgli from the evil tiger so Shere Kan hates him. Of course, there's a battle at the end. It is a pretty interesting story or, more like, pretty interesting stories.
My favorite story, like I said before, was Rikki-Tikki-Tavi. Rikki, the mongoose who is washed out by a heavy rain and is found by a human boy named Teddy. Rikki is cared for and soon becomes healthy and fit again. One day, Rikki goes out to the large and rather uncultivated garden when he hears two birds chirping sadly. Rikki asks what had happened and one of the birds, named Darzee, tells him that one of their eggs had fallen out and was eaten by the black cobra Nag. At that moment, Nag comes out and tries to kill Rikki by making him pay attention to him while Nag�fs wife, Nagaina, creeps up on Rikki. At the last moment, Rikki notices that Nagaina is behind him and he runs away.
After that incident, Rikki vows to kill the two evil cobras. One day, Rikki overhears Nag and Nagaina discussing on how to kill him. They plan to break into the house, kill the humans with their deadly bite, and then, kill Rikki. Rikki quickly runs back to the house and waits till nightfall. Soon, he hears a drainpipe rattling and sees Nag�fs hooded head creeping towards him with Nagaina right behind him. Rikki hides and waits till Nag comes out. When Nag turns his head towards the beds, Rikki pounces and bites Nag�fs head. Rikki is nearly killed then, but the master of the house, Teddy�fs father, wakes up from all the noise and shoots Nag.
Nagaina, seeing all this, slinks back to her nest. While Rikki regains his strength, he finds out that Nagaina has eggs in her nest and starts searching for her with the aid of Darzee�fs wife. When Rikki finds her, Darzee�fs wife pretends that her wing is broken and hops around Nagaina. Nagaina moves to kill Darzee�fs wife when Rikki runs from behind and takes one of the eggs away. Nagaina turns and tries to strike out at Rikki but Rikki breaks all of the eggs but keeps only one egg unbroken. Rikki threatens Nagaina to get away and Nagaina obeys him. As soon as Nagaina moved away, Rikki breaks the last of the eggs. Rikki and Nagaina battle, both finally falling into Nag and Nagaina�fs hole.
Will Rikki win? Will he survive Nagaina's terrible strenght? If Nagaina wins and is still alive, would she marry again with another black cobra and lay eggs? You'll have to read the book to find out.....
This story was sooo fun and exciting. That is mainly my reason for liking this story better than the others. But I'm not saying that the other stories are not fun. Those other stories were really interesting, especially "The White Seal". This is a book you have to read!
on November 18, 2000
Since he wrote these stories during the several years he spent in Brattleboro, VT, we of the North Country have a particular affinity for Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Books. The most familiar are the Mowgli tales, basis for the very good Disney movie. Mowgli is an Indian infant who is lost in the jungle after Shere Khan (the tiger) kills his family. Bagheera (the black panther) places him with a wolf family that has a newborn litter. Mowgli's new "parents" and Bagheera and Baloo (the brown bear) sponsor him for membership in the Wolf Pack and, much to Shere Khan's chagrin, he is admitted. Mowgli is raised according to Jungle Law, but all the while Shere Khan is plotting his revenge and ingratiating himself with the younger wolves. Eventually, he leads a rebellion against Akela, the pack's aging leader and attacks Mowgli, who beats him away with a burning firebrand. In these and the several other Mowgli stories--there are some prequels--Kipling strikes a nice balance between anthropomorphizing the animals and understanding Mowgli's natural superiority.
Also appearing in this collection is a story I've loved since I first saw the Classic Cartoon version--Rikki Tikki Tavi. It tells the story of an intrepid young mongoose and his life or death battle to protect an Indian villa from a couple of particularly unpleasant cobras. Rikki Tikki Tavi has always seemed to me to be one of the great heroes in all of literature.
These are great stories for young and old. For folks who worry about Kipling's potentially imperialist, racist or racialist overtones (see review), rest assured, these tales are free of such themes. They offer an excellent opportunity to introduce kids to the work of a true master storyteller.
on July 2, 1999
I looked foward to reading the Jungle Book, after reading Kim and seeing how well Kipling wrote. And in the Jungle Book I found absolutely nothing, besides what I venture to mention, that slights my opinion of the quality of Rudyard Kipling's writing. I felt that in this book Kiplng was trying to exercise a mode of writing that was supposed to be at an elementary level, and therefor more suitable for children. I claim the same excuse for the length of the book. Yet I feel that Kipling's mode was not the best that could have been chosen. Instead, the book seemed to have a choppy quality, let me explain myself by saying that one chapter was used on a small event in Mowgli's life, and then several years were skipped, so the contents of the next chapter forced you to use an element of brain power for comprehension. I do not know the reader's, nor the general public's, feelings toward this use of brain power, I only know mine, which are that this usage distracts my from the story, and slightly takes me away from the spell any good book ought to have. I do not for one minute say that any of the contents of the book, extracting to the very singular word, were not put down without great thought, creativity, and originality, which all together produce a degree of brilliance. That degree, however, may alter, and I feel that although the brilliance is most definately there, it is not at it's utmost level. I find no fault of that with the author, except that of Kipling's trying to overtake a goal so difficult even he, with all his brilliance, was not able to peform to allow it to be rated as high as five stars. I do, though, sincerely applaud Rudyard Kipling's, original and, absolutely, in every possible way, amazing work, although I feel it to contain too many small faults to call it equal to its extroadinary reputation. I place the fault of it's too high reputaton sincerely upon those who read the book without knowlegde of it beforehand.