Friday, March 22, 2013

What I've Read Recently

What I've Read Recently . . .

 The Jungle Book Vol. 1 by Rudyard Kipling, Illustrated by Aldren Watson -- Children's Classic

This series of interconnected stories is a familiar tale to many who have seen the Disney movie. As usual, Disney changed the story beyond recognition. The real Jungle Book stories are about a pack of wolves in the Indian jungle who have their own code of honor system. When a menacing, man-eating tiger Shere Khan threatens the way of life of the jungle animals, a panther named Bagheera steps in and rescues the man-cub from the tiger. Thus Mowgli is adopted into the Seonee pack and becomes one of them. He's mentored by Bagheera, Baloo the Bear and Kaa the python as well as his wolf parents. These stories relate Mowgli's struggle for survival and a place in the jungle. The description of life in an Indian jungle is wonderful. There's lots of detailed description and though the animals speak to each other, they aren't exactly anthropomorphized. They behave very much as normal animals do. I did object to the depiction of the silly, lawless monkeys though. It did help me understand the Victorian mindset of anti-Darwinism though. I found these stories very hard to get through. There are too many characters to remember and they speak in an archaic form. Some of the stories are a little violent and scary. I would not recommend this book for young children. I did not like the illustrations in this edition. They are very dark and abstract, making it difficult to know what we're supposed to be looking at.

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