- Age Range: 6 and up
- Grade Level: 1 and up
- Hardcover: 340 pages
- Publisher: Universe; GIFT edition (July 21, 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0883632012
- ISBN-13: 978-0883632017
- Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 1.5 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 2,727 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,384,610 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Jungle Books Hardcover – July 21, 1998
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No child should be allowed to grow up without reading The Jungle Books. Published in 1894 and 1895, the stories crackle with as much life and intensity as ever. Rudyard Kipling pours fuel on childhood fantasies with his tales of Mowgli, lost in the jungles of India as a child and adopted into a family of wolves. Mowgli is brought up on a diet of Jungle Law, loyalty, and fresh meat from the kill. Regular adventures with his friends and enemies among the Jungle-People--cobras, panthers, bears, and tigers--hone this man-cub's strength and cleverness and whet every reader's imagination. Mowgli's story is interspersed with other tales of the jungle, such as "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi," lending depth and diversity to our understanding of Kipling's India. In much the same way Mowgli is carried away by the Bandar-log monkeys, young readers will be caught up by the stories, swinging from page to page, breathless, thrilled, and terrified. (Ages 9 to 12)
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The majority of the stories involve social relations among the British residents of India; a small mostly middle class population where nearly everyone knows nearly everyone else. In this sense they are stories not unlike stories about the goings on in a country village. Foolish young men and women (not always so foolish) are common. Relations between British persons and Indians ("natives") occur only in a handful of the tales but those are some of the deeper ones. Even some of "young lieutenant smitten by pretty girl" category have more depth than immediately apparent.
The world in which the stories take place is set during the period 1860-1870. In this world there is a small population of soldiers, merchants and bureaucrats living in a land far distant (in culture, language and history not just miles) where they are charged with ruling and managing a population 100 times the size of their own. These people have "come out" to India are middle class who believe their opportunities for advancement and/or wealth (and sometime just a decent job) are greater here than back home. (Aside: this would not be a bad starting premise for a SyFy story.)
Kipling was born Bombay and although he also lived much of his childhood back in Britain he is writing about the world he knows. I suggest reading these stories with the Wikipedia close at hand. There are quite a few terms unfamiliar to a reader in 2016, and maybe unfamiliar to a reader in 1916 that had little knowledge of India. Travel was mostly by horse and equestrian terns are used occasionally and amusingly -- the wikipedia will help as well those unfamiliar with horses..
Kipling gets quite a bit of politically correct flak as an apologist for imperialism. I think this criticism is in the same category as criticism of Samuel Clemens as a racist for writing "Huckleberry Finn". If Huck could have seen the world through Jim's eyes it would have been a different story and not a true one.
His work will be honored for centuries to come.
The seller of this beautiful work has my genuine gratitude.