Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Review: The Jungle Book

Book: The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
Challenge Prompt: Read a book that was made into a movie
Pages: 216

The Jungle Book has been made into a number of movies, most recently the Jon Favreau-directed film from earlier this year, and most famously the 1967 Disney animated film.  Though I have not seen this year's film and I haven't seen the Disney version for some time, from what I know, there are significant differences between those versions and the original book.

First off, about half the book is not really about Mowgli.  Which is not necessarily a problem.  I particularly enjoyed "Rikki-Tiki-Tavi," about a mongoose who protects his human family from a pair of cobras.  (Side note: if you've never seen a video of a mongoose fighting a cobra, check it out.  It's crazy.)  "Rikki-Tiki-Tavi" is a popular story in its own right, having been published on its own many times.  "The White Seal," about the eponymous Kotick, was also an enjoyable story.  

Then, of course, there are the stories about Mowgli.  The "man-cub" adopted by wolves has many rip-roaring adventures of his own, not the least of which is when he is kidnapped by the Bandar-log (the monkey-people) and has to be rescued by unlikely allies Bagheera, Baloo, and Kaa.  Though Mowgli plays a minor part in the back half of the book, he is still undoubtedly the hero.

But after all, the book is entitled The Jungle Book, not The Mowgli Book.  It certainly is a story of the jungle, and as someone who grew up adoring movies and books about animals (I wanted to dress up as Nala from The Lion King for like a year when that movie came out), I very much enjoyed reading about Kipling's anthropomorphic animals.

Final recommendation: Read it!  It goes pretty quickly and the stories are interspersed with cute "songs" relating to the previous stories.  It is charming in its simplicity and its wildness (I'm not sure that's the right word, but hopefully you know what I mean).  I think you'll enjoy it - I know I did!

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