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The Jungle Books (Oxford World's Classics) Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
I should think that most older people will have read these books before, but for those who are new to these then you may be surprised if you are only aware of the Disney movie. Some of these tales are more violent than portrayed in cartoons, so be prepared, remember Tennyson wrote ‘Tho’ Nature, red in tooth and claw’.
In all, these tales make for entertaining reading and this is both for young and old. Kipling’s writing here really brings to life the landscapes and characters, giving this a little more depth than is usual for such stories. Entertaining people for generations this looks like it will continue to do so for many more generations to come.
I'm glad I came to this as an adult, rather than as a child. I found many of the stories deeply moving, others very funny and others very challenging. Kipling so beautifully understood man, and in the crucible of colonial India his observations come fantastically to life. This is a book for anyone of any age. Full of lessons, love, humour, sadness, sense.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Many of the stories in both volumes feature Mowgli, the child raised by wolves who becomes master of the jungle (the first three stories in The Jungle Book are very obviously the inspiration for the 1967 animated Disney film). Most of the other stories are also set in India, although "The White Seal" in The Jungle Book and "Quiquern" (which is about Inuits) in The Second Jungle Book are exceptions. In nearly all instances, Kipling anthropomorphizes the animals; they speak, and are always prominent characters.
Kipling does a good job of writing in the fable style, although he doesn't always keep things moving at a good pace, and so some stories are more engaging than others.
There is a subtle racism throughout both volumes. Kipling was a staunch imperialist (he wrote the poem "The White Man's Burden" - this phrase has been used by imperialists since to justify imperialism as noble), and when humans feature in these stories, English whites are often presented as culturally and intellectually superior to the native Indians. This racism is still relevant, as it indicates a popular attitude of the day.
Ultimately, the Jungle Books are well worth reading. They have, perhaps deservedly so, achieved a prominent place in the pantheon of children's literature.
Although "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi" and "The White Seal" are just as good as the least of the Mowgli stories, it is the various tales of the boy raised in the jungles of India that are - and justifiably - the heart of the collection.
As a baby, Mowgli is found and raised by a clan of wolves and three godfatherly mentors who each teach him about life in different ways - Baloo the Bear, who teaches him the technical laws he'll need to survive; Kaa the Python, the nearly archtypal figure who teaches him even deeper lessons; and Bagheera the Panther, who perhaps loves Mowgli most of all but understands all too well the implications of the ambiguous humanity of the boy he's come to care for.
The stories have it all, from the alternately humorous and frightening "Kaa's Hunting", where Mowgli learns an important lesson about friendship and it's responsibility, to the epic "Red Dog" that reads like something out of Homer, to "Letting in the Jungle" which, without giving anything away contains a disturbing paragraph that's both glaring and a long time in coming if you've read between the lines in the previous Mowgli stories and yet at the same time so subtle you can almost miss it's importance.
If you didn't read it as a child, read it now. If you did, read it again as an adult.
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