Just So Stories

Overview

How did the camel get his hump? Why won't cats do as they are told? Who invented reading and writing? How did an inquisitive little elephant change the lives of elephants everywhere? Kipling's imagined answers to such questions draw on the beast fables he heard as a child in India, as well as on folk games with language, exploring the relationships between thought, speech, and the written word. He also celebrates his own joy in fatherhood. The tales were told to his own and his friends' children over many years ...
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Overview

How did the camel get his hump? Why won't cats do as they are told? Who invented reading and writing? How did an inquisitive little elephant change the lives of elephants everywhere? Kipling's imagined answers to such questions draw on the beast fables he heard as a child in India, as well as on folk games with language, exploring the relationships between thought, speech, and the written word. He also celebrates his own joy in fatherhood. The tales were told to his own and his friends' children over many years before he wrote them down, adding poems and his own illustrations. They invite older and younger readers to share a magical experience, each contributing to the other's pleasure, but each can also enjoy them alone, as more jokes, subtexts, and exotic references emerge with every reading. This fully illustrated edition includes two extra stories and Kipling's own explanation of the title.

A collection of the well-known stories, including "How the Whale Got His Throat," "The Elephant's Child," and "The Butterfly that Stamped."

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Kathleen Karr
I spent an enjoyable evening rereading Kipling's marvelous creation stories. His hungry whale and imperious butterfly came to life again, while "How the First Letter Was Written" and "How the Alphabet Was Made" reiterated the joys of discovery. Barry Moser's illustrations are very fine, with just the right touch of humor and slyness-particularly his disdainfully "humphing" camel. The only thing missing was an eager audience. These stories cry out to be read aloud, as Kipling himself once did for his own children.
Children's Literature - Deborah Zink Roffino
Kipling loved the pourquoi tale and conjured up all sorts of preposterous explanations for the whims of nature. This is not a retelling, but a volume of Kipling's stories-classic because children and adults can appreciate them in their original and delightful language. These are his simple, reasonable interpretations of how the leopard got his spots, how armadillos came to be and how the camel got his hump. Pourquoi tales can qualify as fables if there is a lesson to be learned and a moral to the story. All Kipling's tales are laced with bits of Indian culture and studies of human behavior told with his genius for energetic, rhythmic language. The dynamic woodcuts, full of bright contrasts, decorate each tale.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6 Of all of the many past illustrators of Kipling's stories, only Kipling himself, in the first edition (Doubleday, 1902; o.p.), captured the Oriental tone of these stories. This ``more-than-oriental-splendour'' comes through in Salter's attractive edition. She has done a full-color, full-page illustration for each of the 12 stories, along with decorations for each title page. The illustrations are bold and stylized with a strong use of color, all set within richly patterned borders. They have a strong sense of Indian folk art, particularly in the gold, browns, wines, blues, and blacks that she uses. These are the sort of illustrations that draw readers in to study each detail. They form the framework for an attractive, well-laid-out format. This newest Just So Stories should serve as a fine introduction for another generation of Best Beloveds to this standard children's classic. Kay McPherson, Central Atlanta-Fulton Public Library
School Library Journal
Gr 1-6-This collection includes Kipling's 12 original Just So Stories narrated by Geoffrey Palmer, whose deep and resonant voice is perfectly suited to the tales. It is satisfying to hear the stories as they were meant to be told-aloud. Kipling originally told the stories to his own children over a century ago. The language is reflective of Kipling's time and place, and children who may have trouble with the language and phrasing will benefit from hearing the stories read. Among the stories included here are "How the Whale Got His Throat," "The Butterfly That Stamped," and "The Elephant's Child." Many of them include a moral or lesson, such as "How the Camel Got His Hump," in which the camel learns a lesson about being lazy and procrastinating. The tales are nicely complemented by bits of classical music including pieces from Saint-Saen's "Carnival of the Animals." The accompanying booklet provides information about Kipling's life and some additional material about the stories. An excellent addition to classic audiobook collections in school and public libraries.-Maren Ostergard, Bellevue Regional Library, King County Library System, WA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
"These stories have the ageless resonance of myth, for beneath his addictive adventures and hypnotic prose, Kipling was grappling with big questions: who are we? Where do we come from? How should we live?"  —Daily Telegraph

"They sing in my head even now . . . What a wonderful storyteller/poet he was."  —Michael Morpurgo, author, War Horse

"The Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling have always held a fascination for me, and doubtless sparked off my love of India."  —HRH The Prince of Wales

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781400130641
  • Publisher: Tantor Media, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/1/2005
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Library ed.
  • Sales rank: 1,443,688
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.80 (w) x 6.28 (h) x 1.01 (d)

Meet the Author

Rudyard Kipling(1865-1936), recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1907, was an English novelist, short-story writer, and poet. His sweeping tales of adventure, including "Kim, Captains Courageous, " and "The jungle Book", won him wide popularity during his lifetime and have been beloved by generations.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One



How The Whale
Got His Throat



In the sea, once upon a time, O my Best Beloved, there was a Whale,, and he ate fishes. He ate the starfish and the garfish, and the crab and the dab, and the plaice and the dace, and the skate and his mate, and the mackereel and the pickereel, and the really truly twirly-whirly eel. All the fishes he could find in all the sea he ate with his mouth — so! Till at last there was only one small fish left in all the sea, and he was a small 'Stute Fish, and he swam a little behind the Whale's right ear, so as to be out of harm's way. Then the Whale stood up on his tail and said, I'm hungry." And the small 'Stute Fish said in a small 'stute voice, "Noble and generous Cetacean, have you ever tasted Man?"

'No, said the Whale. "What is it like?"

"Nice," said the small 'Stute Fish. "Nice but nubbly."

"Then fetch me some, said the Whale, and he made the sea froth up with his tail.

"One at a time is enough,"' said the 'Stute Fish. "If you swim to latitude Fifty North, longitude Forty West (that is Magic), you will find, sitting on a raft, in the middle of the sea, with nothing on but a pair of blue canvas breeches, a pair of suspenders (you must not forget the suspenders, Best Beloved), and a jackknife, one shipwrecked Mariner, who, it is only fair to tell you, is a man of infinite-resource-and-sagacity."

So the Whale swam and swam to latitude Fifty North, longitude Forty West, as fast as he could swim, and on a raft, in the middle of the sea, with nothing to wear except a pair of blue canvas breeches, a pair of suspenders (you mustparticularly remember the suspenders Best Beloved), and a jackknife, he found one single, solitary shipwrecked Mariner, trailing his toes in the water. (He had his Mummy's leave to paddle, or else he would never have done it) because he was a man of infinite -resource- and-sagacity.)

Then the Whale opened his mouth back and back and back till it nearly touched his tail, and he swallowed the shipwrecked Mariner, and the raft he was sitting on, and his blue canvas breeches, and the suspenders (which you must not forget), and the jackknife —He swallowed them all down into his warm, dark, inside cupboards, and then he smacked his lips — so, and turned round three times on his tail.

But as soon as the Mariner, who was a man of infinite -resource- and- sagacity, found himself truly inside the Whale's warm, dark, inside cupboards, he stumpedand he jumped and he thumped and he bumped, and he pranced and he danced, and he banged and he clanged, and he hit and he bit, and he leaped and he creeped, and he prowled and he howled, and he hopped and he dropped, and he cried and he sighed, and he crawled and he bawled) and he stepped and he lepped, and he danced hornpipes where he shouldn't, and the Whale felt most unhappy indeed. (Have you forgotten the suspenders?)

So he said to the 'Stute Fish, This man is very nubbly, and besides he is making me hiccough. What shall I do? "

"Tell him to come out," said the 'Stute Fish.

So the Whale called down his own throat to the shipwrecked Mariner, "Come out and behave yourself. I've got the hiccoughs."

"Nay, nay!" said the Mariner. "Not so, but far otherwise. Take me to my natal-shore and the white-cliffs-of-Albion, and I'll think about it." And he began to dance more than ever.

"You had better take him home," said the 'Stute Fish to the Whale. "I ought to have warned you that he is a man of infinite-resource-and-sagacity."

So the Whale swam and swam and swam, with both flippers and his tail, as hard as he could for the hiccoughs; and at last he saw the Mariner's natal-shore and the white - cliffs - of-Albion, and he rushed halfway up the beach, and opened his mouth wide and wide and wide, and said, "Change here for Winchester, Ashuelot, Nashua,) Keene.) and stations on the Fitchburg Road"; and just as he said "Fitch" the Mariner walked out of his mouth. But while the Whale had been swimming, the Mariner, who was indeed a person of infinite-resource- and- sagacity, had taken his jackknife and cut up the raft into a little square grating all running crisscross, and he had tied it firm with his suspenders (now you know why you were not to forget the suspenders!), and he dragged that grating good and tight into the Whale's throat, and there it stuck! Then he recited the following Sloka, which, as you have not heard it, I will now proceed to relate —

By means of a grating I have stopped your ating.


For the Mariner he was also an Hi-ber-ni-an. And he stepped out on the shingle, and went home to his Mother, who had given him leave to trail his toes in the water; and he married and lived happily ever afterward. So did the Whale. But from that day on, the grating in his throat, which he could neither cough up nor swallow down, prevented him eating anything except very, very small fish; and that is the reason why whales nowadays never eat men or boys or little girls.

The small 'Stute Fish went and hid himself in the mud under the Doorsills of the Equator. He was afraid that the Whale might be angry with him.

The Sailor took the jackknife home. He was wearing the blue canvas breeches when he walked out on the shingle. The suspenders were left behind, you see, to tie the grating with; and that is the end of that tale.

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