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Just So Stories (Puffin Classics) Paperback – June 19, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0141321622 ISBN-10: 0141321628
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The graceful prose and pungent humor of these 12 tall tales (which include such favorites as "How the Camel Got His Hump" and "The Elephant's Child") place them in the same league with such children's classics as Winnie the Pooh and Alice in Wonderland. Kipling's verbal dexterity remains audible over time--even the openings of his fantastic fictions hark to a golden age of storytelling. Frampton's elegant, elaborately detailed woodcuts are attractive embellishments to this hefty 122-page collection. Stylistically, however, they are perhaps more suited to the tastes of adults than children, as they are neither as colorful nor as playful as the stories. They do not reach out and hook the audience in the distinctive, visually arresting manner needed to keep pace with this eminent author's topsy-turvy logic. Ages 8-12.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 3 Up-This volume calls itself The Complete Just So Stories because it includes one additional Taffy adventure ("The Tabu Tale") not included in the first edition, as well as "Ham and the Porcupine," the last story of Kipling's career, neither of which are usually printed with the collection. These additions are neither better nor worse than the other just-sos: this volume's real distinguishing feature is its illustrations. Brent's colorful, realistic, slightly naive watercolors recall Persian miniatures in their composition and style. What makes them stand out is their borders, bright mosaics of tiny multicolored tesserae, rich with lapis blue and gleaming with gold, in varying geometric patterns. A narrow strip of similar design edges each page. This book is undeniably lovely, but those who purchased the edition with David Frampton's woodcuts (HarperCollins, 1991) or the version with Safaya Salter's paintings (Holt, 1987) should not feel any discontent either.
Patricia Dooley, formerly at University of Washington, Seattle
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 1000L (What's this?)
  • Series: Puffin Classics
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin Books (June 19, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141321628
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141321622
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.7 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (232 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #764,239 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

170 of 176 people found the following review helpful By Barry P Wilson on November 6, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Kipling's JUST SO STORIES certainly rank in English-speaking children's literature right along with A. A. Milne's WINNIE THE POOH and Kenneth Grahame's WIND IN THE WILLOWS. They are fun to read to children 4-8, and even MORE fun for them to read for themselves at ages 7-11 (they're marvelous vocabulary builders --"the mariner of infinite resource and sagacity" <grin>). My English-raised mother heard the stories when they were new and read them to me when I was a child, I read them to my own children, they read them to theirs, and I believe that same cycle has been repeated among millions of families since the stories appeared at the beginning of the 20th century.
It is my impression that today the JUST SO STORIES do not enjoy the popularity with children (and parents) that they once had. That may be because they are occasionally "politically incorrect" in their depiction of historical attitudes regarding race and culture. Joel Chandler Harris's UNCLE REMUS stories and even Mark Twain's HUCKLEBERRY FINN are sometimes removed from local library shelves on the same basis. In this reviewer's view, inattention to the works of Kipling and Harris and Twain deprives English-speaking children of some appreciation of the culture and civilization in which they live today. Worse yet, it deprives them of the fun of reading FOR fun.
Rudyard Kipling, referred to by one reviewer here as "not a very good writer" was the first English writer to win the Nobel Prize (not the Pulitzer) for literature, in 1907.
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70 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Gwyn Gwyrdd on July 8, 2004
Format: Audio CD
I recently purchased this set on cd with a gift certificate for my young daughter. The price tag may have put me off at any other time, but since I was getting it with a certificate, I went for it. I read these stories cover to cover repeatedly as a little girl and took great delight in the hilarity of the answers to such questions as "how did the leopard get his spots?" or "how did the camel get his hump?" Kipling's stories are marvelously nonsensical - which makes them fit for a child's world. However, it was not until hearing them read aloud on this very set that I realized his rhyme and use of repetitive words or phrases is very similar to our modern master of children's literature: Dr. Seuss. It would not surprise me to find that Seuss took his inspiration from the works of Kipling. This is not striking to a reader, but as you listen to his words brought to life by the human voice it is hard to miss.
Geoffrey Palmer, of As Time Goes By, is one of my favorite actors. His voice and interpretation of these beautiful stories enhances the experience so much that I was laughing out loud listening to him in my car. His dry sense of humor is felt in his characterizations of the cast and the lulling of his voice lends a calming, gentle, and sophisticated quality to the text. I now can simply not imagine these stories being read by anybody else.
Finally, the classical musical selection is superb and adds an intelligent whimsiness to the piece. I would highly recommend this set as a lovely gift for any child you find "tenacious and full of segacity". What a delightful alternative to the screech of today's cartoons and children's "pop" albums full of Britney Spears remakes.
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50 of 54 people found the following review helpful By W. Weinstein on September 25, 2001
Format: Paperback
Kipling�s classic volume of stories concerns the great questions of history; How the Whale got his Throat, How the Camel got his Hump, How the Alphabet was Made and many other thorny dilemmas. The language is sophisticated yet often whimsical and children love to hear the words read aloud. It is tempting to scan ahead and change things, substitute more contemporary phrases for the old but, if you can, resist the urge. Kipling was a master of the language. His writing is balanced and fluid and while it may seem dated when taken piece by piece, its sum is far greater than its parts. Read The Cat that Walked by Himself and you will never look at your own pet in quite the same way again.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Lodrelhai on March 20, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Being a free Kindle edition, I was expecting that the drawings and their attached descriptions would be missing. What I was not expecting was for the little poems often found in the stories to also be missing. Things like the Sloka the Parsee sings after the Rhinoceros eats his cake, that are usually block-quoted and italicized in published versions, are not included. The stories can certainly be followed without them, but as the text that IS there specifically says a little poem or song is going to be related to the reader, the gaps are quite obvious.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Mainemoonlight on December 31, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I had a hard time finding the original. I read the reviews of various editions closely and learned that many "Just So Stories" are not unabridged as this one is. I highly recommend this edition. The book is large and I cannot see why anyone would want to read anything but pure Kipling. My six year-old is getting a real kick out of this book. We read a few stories per week. Reading something written 100 years ago is good for us!
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