The Jungle Bookby Rudyard Kipling
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The Jungle Book tells the story of Mowgli, a young boy abandoned in the jungle of India and raised by a pack of wolves. With the help of Bagheera, a wise black panther, and a bear called Baloo, the wolves teach Mowgli the ways and laws of the jungle.
PreS-Gr 2—This retelling opens with Mowgli showcasing his jungle skills as taught to him by Baloo and Bagheera. Vibrant digital vignettes display Mowgli not only surviving but thriving in a wild setting. Moving on to Mowgli's backstory, readers are introduced to villain Shere Khan. Through the tiger's dialogue, readers learn that Mowgli was abandoned in the forest by his parents, and can safely assume that Shere Khan means to harm him—though it is merely evidenced by the way the tiger roars his claims to the child and not explicitly stated in text. Fortunately, Mother and Father Wolf leap to Mowgli's defense and offer him love and protection as adoptive parents. As a young boy, Mowgli is safe and happy in his jungle home, but as he grows, the animals who vowed to protect him age and younger animals rise up to take leadership of the pack. The younger animals are vulnerable to Shere Khan's bad intentions, which puts Mowgli in a position where he must prove himself at a special pack meeting. This retelling is a great beginner version for young listeners as the lush beauty and exciting activities one can enjoy only in the wild are highlighted over the more mature elements of the story, such as abandonment and Shere Khan's plans to kill the child. The dynamic digital cartoon artwork supports this by depicting the jungle animals with large, expressive eyes and soft lines that take the bite out of fearsome features like claws and sharp teeth. VERDICT A solid addition to most library collections.—Samantha Lumetta, Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, OH
A picture-book adaptation of "Mowgli's Brothers," the first tale in Kipling's The Jungle Book, with a little bit of "Kaa's Hunting" thrown in. Driscoll gets the basic details of the stories down: Mowgli is adopted into the wolf pack under the protection of Bagheera and Baloo; Mowgli learns the ways of the jungle; Mowgli runs off and gets in trouble with the monkeys; Mowgli notices his difference from the animals in his family; Mowgli steals fire from the nearby village and uses it to defeat Shere Khan; Mowgli leaves the jungle to go live with men. And, unfortunately, the entire narrative is just about as bloodless as that summary. Blanco's illustrations are ever-so-slightly retro in palette and line, his animals slinky and sinuous, with human-shaped eyes. Though not conspicuously like the animated Disney versions of the characters, they have an affinity, particularly in the depiction of tousle-headed Mowgli and bug-eyed Kaa. (Readers familiar with the 1967 Disney film will be puzzled to find the latter character Mowgli's friend and ally rather than a threat.) His junglescapes are distinctly un-jungly. Taken as a whole, the illustrations cannot compensate for the lackluster text. It has none of Kipling's verbal artistry nor even enough of its own to make the events it recounts exciting or moving. Adults who want to move beyond the Disney versions are advised to skip this book and stick to a read-aloud of Kipling's original, sumptuous prose. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Read an Excerpt
Now Chil the Kite brings home the night
That Mang the Bat sets free --
The herds are shut in byre and hut
For loosed till dawn are we.
This is the hour of pride and power,
Talon and tush and claw.
Oh, hear the call! -- Good hunting all
That keep the jungle Law!
Night Song in the Jungle
It was seven o'clock of a very warm evening in the Seeonee Hills when Father Wolf woke up from his day's rest, scratched himself, yawned, and spread out his paws one after the other to get rid of the sleepy feeling in their tips. Mother Wolf lay with her big gray nose dropped across her four tumbling, squealing cubs, and the moon shone into the mouth of the cave where they all lived. "Augrh!" said Father Wolf, "it is time to hunt again." And he was going to spring downhill when a little shadow with a bushy tail crossed the threshold and whined: "Good luck go with you, 0 Chief of the Wolves; and good luck and strong white teeth go with the noble children, that they may never forget the hungry in this world. "
It was the jackal -- Tabaqui the Dish-licker -- and the wolves of India despise Tabaqui because he runs about making mischief, and telling tales, and eating rags and pieces of leather from the village rubbish heaps. But they are afraid of him too, because Tabaqui, more than anyone else in the jungle, is apt to go mad, and then he forgets that he was ever afraid of anyone, and runs through the forest biting everything in his way. Even the tiger runs and hides when little Tabaqui goes mad, for madness is the most disgraceful thing that can overtake a wild creature. We call it hydrophobia,but they call it dewanee -- the madness -- and run.
"Enter, then, and look," said Father Wolf, stiffly, "but there is no food here."
"For a wolf, no," said Tabaqui, "but for so mean a person as myself a dry bone is a good feast. Who are we, the Gidur-log [the Jackal-People], to pick and choose?" He scuttled to the back of the cave, where he found the bone of a buck with some meat on it, and sat cracking the end merrily.
"All thanks for this good meal," he said, licking his lips. "How beautiful are the noble children! How large are their eyes! And so young too! Indeed, indeed, I might have remembered that the children of kings are men from the beginning."
Now, Tabaqui knew as well as anyone else that there is nothing so unlucky as to compliment children to their faces; and it pleased him to see Mother and Father Wolf look uncomfortable.
Tabaqui sat still, rejoicing in the mischief that he had made, and then he said spitefully:
"Shere Khan, the Big One, has shifted his hunting grounds. He will hunt among these hills for the next moon, so he has told me."
Shere Khan was the tiger who lived near the Wainganga River, twenty miles away.
"He has no right!" Father Wolf began angrily. "By the Law of the jungle he has no right to change his quarters without due warning. He will frighten every head of game within ten miles, and I -- I have to kill for two, these days."
"His mother did not call him Lungri [the Lame One] for nothing," said Mother Wolf, quietly. "He has been lame in one foot from his birth. That is why he has only killed cattle. Now the villagers of the Wainganga are angry with him, and he has come here to make our villagers angry. They will scour the jungle for him when he is far away, and we and our children must run when the grass is set alight. Indeed, we are very grateful to Shere Khan!"
"Shall I tell him of your gratitude?" said Tabaqui.
"Out!" snapped Father Wolf. "Out and hunt with thy master. Thou hast done harm enough for one night."
"I go," said Tabaqui, quietly. "Ye can hear Shere Khan below in the thickets. I might have saved myself the message."
Father Wolf listened, and below in the valley that ran down to a little river, he heard the dry, angry, snarly, singsong whine of a tiger who has caught nothing and does not care if all the jungle knows it.
"The fool!" said Father Wolf. "To begin a night's work with that noise! Does he think that our buck are like his fat Wainganga bullocks?"
"Hsh. It is neither bullock nor buck he hunts tonight," said Mother Wolf "It is Man." The whine had changed to a sort of humming purr that seemed to come from every quarter of the compass. It was the noise that bewilders woodcutters and gypsies sleeping in the open, and makes them run sometimes into the very mouth of the tiger.
"Man!" said Father Wolf, showing all his white teeth. "Faugh! Are there not enough beetles and frogs in the tanks that he must eat Man, and on our ground too!"
The Law of the jungle, which never orders anything without a reason, forbids every beast to eat Man except when he is killing to show his children how to kill, and then he must hunt outside the hunting grounds of his pack or tribe. The real reason for this is that man-killing means, sooner or later, the arrival of white men on elephants, with guns, and hundreds of brown men with gongs and rockets and torches. Then everybody in the jungle suffers. The reason the beasts give among themselves is that Man is the weakest and most defenseless of all living things, and it is unsportsmanlike to touch him. They say too -- and it is true -- that maneaters become mangy, and lose their teeth.
The purr grew louder, and ended in the full-throated "Aaarh!" of the tiger's charge.
Then there was a howl -- an untigerish howl -- from Shere Khan. "He has missed," said Mother Wolf "What is it?"The Jungle Book. Copyright © by Rudyard Kipling. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Meet the Author
Joseph Rudyard Kipling was an English short-story writer, poet, and novelist born in India in 1865. He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1907 and is considered one of the great English writers. His children's stories, including The Jungle Book, Kim and Just So Stories, enchanted and continue to entertain children around the world.
Joseph Rudyard Kipling was an English short-story writer, poet, and novelist born in India in 1865. He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1907 and is considered one of the great English writers. His children's stories, includingThe Jungle Book, Kim and Just So Stories, enchanted and continue to entertain children around the world.
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