Published in: 1894
Description: (From goodreads)Saved from the jaws of the evil tiger Shere Khan, young Mowgli is adopted by a wolf pack and taught the law of the jungle by lovable old Baloo the bear and Bhageera the panther. The adventures of Rikki-Tikki-Tavi the snake-fighting mongoose, little Toomai and the elephant’s secret dance, and Kotick the white seal are all part of Mowgli’s extraordinary journey with his animal friends.
I randomly started reading this at work one day. I’d grown bored of the book I had been currently reading on my E-reader and started browsing book titles for something a little different, when this caught my eye. I thought, well, I enjoy the Disney movie version, let’s see how the book version holds up. I know that books that have been turned into Disney movies are more or less completely different to the movie, but hey, this was a fairly simple story. It can’t be much different?
So I was more or less surprised to learn that the jungle book, in reality, is not just one story. No, not the Disney movie that I knew and loved. It is in fact 4 stories in one, not interlinked at all, but an anthology of stories about animals. The first story was about Mowgli, and is the Disney movie. Mowgli is a child who is raised by wolves, who strives to be accepted by them but just isn’t, who gets kidnapped by monkeys and is saved by the bear and panther (Baloo and Bagheera), and then attempts life at a proper village (I believe this is the Disney sequel, the jungle book 2). It wasn’t exactly as fun as the movie, but it was more or less similar to the story I knew, and was easy to follow.
The second story was about a seal, who is trying to find this magical beach where no man treads, for his friends and family and fellow seal kind. It was a tad boring to me, but it had a happy ending.
Third story was about a little boy who discovers the elephants secret dance- the elephants have a dance ground deep in the jungle, which they are drawn to one night, to dance all night long, and no man has ever seen this spectacle nor the elephants dancefloors. But then, this little boy does. Yay for him. It was an interesting little concept of a story, the strange thing that animals do that makes little sense to us but are a spectacle if ever lucky enough to be witnessed.
Last story was about this mongoose who becomes a family pet, and works to keep the family safe from the evil snakes that live in their yard who hatch an evil plan to infiltrate the family home and bite the family so they all die and the snakes are safe. It was probably my favourite of the four stories simply because I could imagine the snakes Disney-fied as evil villains (Complete with evil moustaches that they twirled with the end of their tail that they used like a hand) and it was somewhat more action packed than some of the others.
The jungle book rating: 5/10. It was an interesting read, but the stories were quite short, so you didn’t really get to learn much about your characters or surrounds. They were also less action packed than I would have liked them to be- they are all adventure stories, so really, there should be more of an adventure to them. Then again, it was written in the 1800’s, so it’s probably all the adventure that they could have handled back then.
Would I re-read it? I would say yes- I could imagine reading this to my son, if I ever gave birth to a son, when he was like 6 or something. It’s the perfect adventure book for a young boy really. It would really get his imagination running, with the little boy characters in two of the stories being just like him, and the animals being so fun to imagine. So I’d like to say that yes, I would re-read this book, in the future, when I have my own family to read it to. It’s a nice thought that one.
Who would I recommend it to? If you happen to enjoy the jungle book movie/story, then give this a whirl. It’s nice to read the originals sometimes. I really think that it’s a great book for young kids to read/have read to them, as it is something kinda fun for them, it’s a good classic to get them reading themselves when they are older, and they will have the familiarity of the Disney movie to fall back on for the first story, which can only enrich the story for them, as they can see the characters in their head.
This happens to be one of those lovely old books that can be freely downloaded from many sites, so it’s quite easy to obtain a copy from pretty much anywhere. Just google it, or on goodreads, click on the “download ebook” button.