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The Jungle Books ()

Nobel Prize Winners

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.


Grade: (A)


See also:

Rudyard Kipling (4 books reviewed)
Nobel Prize Winners
Rudyard Kipling Links:

    -WIKIPEDIA: Rudyard Kipling
    -The Kipling Society
    -ENTRY: Rudyard Kipling (Poetry Foundation)
    -POEM: If (Rudyard Kipling)
-Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)(kirjasto)
    -Kipling Society homepage
    -The Nobel Prize in Literature 1907 (Official Site)
    -Rudyard Kipling Winner of the 1907 Nobel Prize in Literature (Nobel Prize Internet Archive)
    -Rudyard Kipling: An Overview (Victorian Web)
    -AITLC  Guide to   Rudyard Kipling (The ACCESS INDIANA Teaching & Learning Center)
    -BIO: Kipling: a Brief Biography  (David Cody, Associate Professor of English, Hartwick College, Victorian Web)
    -Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)(Ben Freer)
    -Rudyard Kipling (Spartacus)
    -Rudyard Kipling
    -Rudyard Kipling and Scouting
    -ETEXT: The Jungle Books (Project Gutenberg)
    -ANNOTATED ETEXT: The Jungle Book (Self Knowledge)
    -ETEXTS: Rudyard Kipling (Project Gutenberg)
    -ETEXTS: Links to Etexts of (Joseph) Rudyard Kipling (Mumbai/Bombay)
-ESSAY: HOW RUDYARD KIPLING'S 'KIM' HELPED CREATE MODERN ESPIONAGE: Kipling's tale of imperial adventure whipped Britain into a frenzy for spies. Soon, a new agency was created. (HUGH WILFORD, 6/13/24, CrimeReads0
    -ARTICLE: Marlboro Journal; 1892 Bank Box Opens A Lid on Kipling's Past  (FOX BUTTERFIELD, The New York Times)
    -ESSAY: Rudyard Kipling &  the god of things as they are  (John Derbyshire, New Criterion)
    -ESSAY: Diamonds are forever? Kipling's imperialism (Denis Judd, History Today)
    -ESSAY: Summary of the Mowgli Stories
    -ESSAY: Rudyard Kipling and Tacoma (Tacoma Public Library)
    -ESSAY: Kipling and Freemasonry (Grand Lodge Webmaster, Grand Lodge of British Columbia)
    -REVIEW: of THE JUNGLE BOOK By Rudyard Kipling. Illustrated by  Michael Foreman GUNGA DIN By Rudyard Kipling. Illustrated by Robert Andrew Parker (Jonathan Cott, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: John Bayley: Paleface, NY Review of Books
        Rudyard Kipling and His World by Kingsley Amis
        Kipling: The Glass, the Shadow and the Fire by Philip Mason
    -REVIEW: V.S. Pritchett: A Gentle-Violent Man, NY Review of Books
        The Strange Ride of Rudyard Kipling: His Life and Works by Angus Wilson
    -REVIEW: V. S. Pritchett: Contradictory Kipling, NY Review of Books
        Rudyard Kipling by Lord Birkenhead
    -REVIEW: of QUEST FOR KIM By Peter Hopkirk (RICHARD BERNSTEIN, NY times)

    -BUY IT: The Jungle Book (1967)(
    -Review of RUDYARD KIPLING'S THE JUNGLE BOOK 1994 (Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)

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