The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
I found this Papermill Press copy at The Bookman one day, and it was so vividly orange that I just had to buy it. It stands out so much on my bookshelf, it’s actually quite hilarious. I wouldn’t trade it for any other copy.
Read: September 4 – September 8, 2023
Book contains: hunting; animal captivity
More Than Expected
A series of fairy tales mainly set in India, featuring animals of the jungle and animals in partnership with humans.
I was surprised to find that this book is not only full of stories, but also songs that tie into those stories. It was also interesting to discover that not only did it contain the story of Mowgli, the young boy raised by wolves who fights Shere Khan the tiger, but also other stories, including but not limited to the story of a white seal, one of a snake-killing mongoose, and one of dancing elephants. There was more to this book than originally met the eye.
Another classic, so I was able to find a wonderful LibriVox recording on Spotify by Great Audiobooks. It was all read by the same person, who was quite good at pronouncing everything and differentiating his voice for the characters. I especially liked the swinging, musical tone his used for the songs. Happily, I realized while reading that this is one of the few Papermill Press classic copies that had very few mistakes. (They often have spelling or punctuation errors, which is incredibly annoying, because the books themselves are so beautiful.) This book only had a few punctuation errors, but nothing else.
As there are multiple stories, the point of view sometimes switches. Most of the books are written in third person, while the last story in the book is in first. It’s typically also in the past tense, and each story has a song or two at the beginning, end, or in the middle. The story of Mowgli was the first and longest, and it had quite a few songs throughout the reading.
There were so many characters in each story, most of which are animals. There are the more famously known Mowgli, Shere Khan, Bagheera the panther, Balou the bear, and so on, and the other stories often had between five and ten named characters as well.
The main relationships are between friends and family, of course, as this book is for children. Some relationships are very casual, but others tug at your heartstrings.
Kipling has a chipper way of writing and, added with the songs, is very bright overall, even in spite of some of the content (hunting and war and such). The way of writing was very lyrical. It’s simple enough for children to understand, but also elegant enough to be enjoyed by adults.
I would recommend this book as a great classic for children, though at the parents’ discretion, as there are a few scenes that may not be appropriate for all children (i.e., the stampeding and skinning of a tiger).