Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Pinkney (The Jungle Book: The Mowgli Stories) applies his considerable talents to the smooth retelling and lush illustration of one of Kipling's best-loved animal tales. An English family living in India can hardly foresee their good fortune when a scraggly-looking mongoose literally washes up on their doorstep. But Rikki-tikki-tavi (so named for the clucking sounds he makes) becomes champion protector of garden and household as he courageously defends his new human friends from the dangerous snakes living on the grounds. Kipling's exotic animal world comes to life in the voices of Rikki-tikki and other talkative creatures, and Pinkney carefully structures his descriptive passages to present well-rounded animal characters. The hissing, threat-filled dialogue of wicked cobras Nag and Nagaina and Darzee the bird's excited calls of warning perfectly express their respective personalities. Even pacing allows the excitement to build gradually and rewards readers with several adrenaline-rush payoffs within the story. Full-bodied watercolors showcase visually thrilling confrontations between Rikki-tikki and his slithering enemies, while portraits of Rikki-tikki snuggling with the family are warm without being sappy. A captivating work. All ages. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Dr. Judy Rowen
Rikki-Tikki-Tavi's valiant struggle against two scheming cobras is presented with Pinkney's stunning, sun-dappled watercolors. All of the animals depicted, from the mongoose of the title to the scolding tailorbird, are drawn realistically but remain imbued with individual personalities. In his afterword, Pinkney shares that this tale is one of his childhood favorites. This edition will undoubtedly fill that magic niche for a new generation of children.
Children's Literature - Kristin Harris
Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book is among the most beloved of children's books. Included within is this story of Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, the mongoose. Washed away from his home as a young animal, Rikki-Tikki ends up, half dead, in the garden of Teddy's home. He and Teddy became fast friends. Rikki-Tikki was a very curious animal, and welcomed the opportunity to explore Teddy's house and grounds. It didn't take him long to discover that there were two cobras terrorizing the garden. Soon the battle lines are drawn, and Rikki-Tikki eventually became a great hero. All of the "Candlewick Treasures" series are beautifully illustrated. Each edition is unique. These paintings are reminiscent of Persian miniatures.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 4In this glorious picture book, Pinkney's accessible retelling and dramatic watercolors plunge readers into the lush garden Rikki rules and the life of the family he comes to guard. The large pictures (often spreading across much of a facing page) can barely contain the mongoose's energy as his lithe body twists and turns, evading and attacking the cobras and the brown snake, curling in young Teddy's arms, and basking in the family's adulation. Pinkney's humans are not idealized, and Rikki, while eminently pettable, is not anthropomorphized. The subdued natural colors of the animals contrast with the garden's riot. The splash of a yellow squash blossom; Teddy's crimson shirt; a scarlet hibiscus; or the burnished head of Darzee, the tailor bird, add grace notes to the shimmering pages. This great story has been given the loving treatment it deserves.Patricia Lothrop-Green, St. George's School, Newport, RI
Pinkney dwells on this story of Rikki-tikki-tavi, the sensible, brave mongoose adopted by an English family living in India. The animals speak to each other, so readers know how the little mongoose is aided by the tailorbird, Darzee, and and his wife in escaping death from the menacing cobras who hope to kill the human family and raise their 25 hatchlings in an empty house. Excitement and danger ebb and flow throughout the illustrations for this classic story. The people are drawn with less vitality than the creatures, yet the stances and concerns of the human parents echo those of the animals for their children. Exotic flora borders garden baths; a few detailsan antique inkwellexemplify the period; yet the true strength of the large watercolors is in the framing of deadly fighting and impending attacks. Pinkney puts his heart into a story he loves, and makes it live again.