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Rikki-Tikki-Tavi Hardcover – September 26, 1997

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Total price: $33.50
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

With this newly illustrated edition of the treasured classic--written in the 1890s as part of the Jungle Books --readers can once again be captivated by the tale of a mongoose who is taken in by a family of British colonials living in India. Although a few Victorianisms in the text will need to be explained to young readers, the story has held up remarkably well over a century's time. Rikki's fight to defend his family from the menacing cobras Nag and Nagaina remains as suspenseful and emotive as ever. The creatures of the Indian garden come truly alive in Kipling's expert prose--the birds sing out messages of joy and warning; the cobra rears and spreads his sinister hood; the brave mongoose leaps and springs, victorious at last. In Davis's ( The Jolly Mon ; Trouble Dolls ) acrylic paintings, dominated by the greens of the garden and the browns of the earth, readers can clearly see the nut-colored mongoose, his adoptive family in their period dress and the slithering snakes. However, the artist's style and chosen medium produce a somewhat flat, torpid appearance. Razor-sharp writing with rather dull artistic accompaniment. Ages 6-up.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 4. In this glorious picture book, Pinkney's accessible retelling and dramatic watercolors plunge readers into the lush garden Rikki rules and the life of the family he comes to guard. The large pictures (often spreading across much of a facing page) can barely contain the mongoose's energy as his lithe body twists and turns, evading and attacking the cobras and the brown snake, curling in young Teddy's arms, and basking in the family's adulation. Pinkney's humans are not idealized, and Rikki, while eminently pettable, is not anthropomorphized. The subdued natural colors of the animals contrast with the garden's riot. The splash of a yellow squash blossom; Teddy's crimson shirt; a scarlet hibiscus; or the burnished head of Darzee, the tailor bird, add grace notes to the shimmering pages. This great story has been given the loving treatment it deserves.?Patricia Lothrop-Green, St. George's School, Newport,
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 810L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Morrow Junior Books (September 26, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688143202
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688143206
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 0.2 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (987 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,377 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

148 of 162 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 19, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This has been rewritten to dumb it down. The beautiful language originally used by him has been replaced with dumber versions, and entire paragraphs have been removed. As someone who read and loved the original story as a child, I was very disappointed to see this when I began reading it to my 7 year old son.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Shanna A. Gonzalez on September 28, 2009
Format: Paperback
There are two schools of thought regarding illustrated adaptations of literary classics. One school holds that stories that are simplified for early listeners can be ruined in the process, because the listener's first experience doesn't contain the beauty and depth of the original. The second school holds that well-written adaptations can serve as stepping-stones to original works, making them more accessible. I am still between the two camps, but in making decisions about specific classic titles I ask two questions:

1. Is the story content appropriate for a reading level that can't yet master the language in the original? If not, it's probably better to wait until a child is linguistically and emotionally ready for the original.
2. Is the quality of the adaptation high enough that it entices, rather than discourages, readers to explore further? If it can't stand on its own merit but only piggybacks on the original's popularity, it may cause the reader to associate the original with mediocrity.

The answer to question 1 will be different for different families and readers. I would say that Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, a young Indian mongoose who is adopted by a British family and drives the venomous snakes out of their home and garden, may appeal more to boys than girls, and parents of sensitive children should certainly screen this book since it contains dramatic animal violence, multiple attempted murders by talking snakes (in one of these a child is threatened), and Rikki-Tikki's merciless execution of many cobras in their eggs. But this story is a classic for good reason: Rikki-Tikki exemplifies courage, loyalty, defending the helpless, and a relentless commitment to oppose the evil snakes regardless of the cost.
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60 of 68 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on October 23, 2005
Format: Hardcover
As a child, I grew up with Kipling stories. My mother would read me "Just So Stories" and selections from the surprisingly long and complex, "Jungle Book" when I was just a wee lass. And had this lush and lovely version of "Rikki-tikki-tavi" been available to me when I was a kid, I've little doubt that I'd have devoured it just as readily as I did tales like, "How the Elephant Got His Trunk". Though I missed out on "Rikki-tikki-tavi" the written tale, I did take great pleasure in the 1975 Chuck Jones animated (with voices by Orson Wells and June Foray) faithful film of the same story. For those of you eager to instill in your children a sharp jolt of Kipling to the veins, I suggest you start them out on "Rikki", both the film and this lovely picture book, then move on slowly to "Just So Stories" and finally, "The Jungle Book" (but not THAT film). Then, years later, when you're trying to get them to read "Stalkey and Company", you'll have already hooked 'em young.

"This is the story of the great war that Rikki-tikki-tavi fought, all by himself, through the English family's house in India". After finding a half-drowned mongoose outside his home, a young boy named Teddy and his family take in the little creature and nurse him to health. A naturally curious creature, the mongoose (named, you must have guessed, Rikki-tikki-tavi for the sounds he makes) explores the home and decides to stay. Good thing that he does too. Lurking in the garden is the deadly cobra Nag and his wife Nagaina. The snakes determine that Rikki is a threat to their unhatched children and decide that if the family dies then Rikki will leave the area. Now Rikki, with the help of the tailor birds Darzee and his wife, must defeat the snakes and defend the family that was kind enough to take him in.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca of Amazon HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 3, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
In college I had to memorize parts of this story and had to tell the story in speech class. I love the way this story rolls off the tongue so it is definitely a story to read out loud. The plot is simple but the message is comforting. Basically you have a mongoose who is found half dead and is revived and brought back to health. Then you have a boy who becomes friends with the mongoose. The mongoose, Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, is a very clever animal who knows how to kill snakes. He takes on numerous snakes in this story and also kills baby snakes before they can hatch. So basically a lot of snakes die in this story. If you love snakes you won't want to read this but if like me you lived in Africa then you will know how you can fear them. My dad once killed a cobra in our kitchen. I would have loved to have a mongoose as a pet to protect our family. That is exactly what the mongoose in this story does. Therefore it is comforting.

~The Rebecca Review
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 17, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I first had this book read to me when I was seven by my father who was a diplomat stationed in New Delhi, India. It continues to bring India alive to me and I have often re-read it as an adult. It invariably causes my heart to race during the most exciting adventure scenes, and leaves me teary-eyed with emotion at Rikki's ultimate triumph. I cannot recall any adult novel with a more gripping and exciting description of a battle than Rikki's nighttime fight to the death with Nag, the Cobra, in the bathroom of the bungalow! Rudyard Kipling is a genius and his stories for children are brilliant in that he never makes animals and their actions "silly" (check out "The Elephant's Child" and some of his others for very young audiences). Rikki-Tikki-Tavi is all about heroism and love, and every child and adult who reads this book will cherish it forever.
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