The Classics Club: The Jungle Book

The Jungle Book

My result for The Classics Club’s last, wonderful Spin feature was the children’s classic The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling. I was really pleased with this choice, but sadly it took me a long time to get to. As first I needed to finish the epic The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens.

I was particularly pleased with the choice of The Jungle Book as I love Disney’s animated film and in the first half of the book, lovers of the film will recognise the story of Mowgli. Although the chapters are not in chronological order. First Mowgli is found and adopted by the wolves after Shere Khan, the tiger, snatches him from his village. Later he is kidnapped by the monkeys, and rescued by his friends Baloo, the bear, and Bagheera, the panther, with the unlikely help of Kaa, the deadly python. For some time he also goes to live in a human village and it is here that Mowgli finally gets his revenge on Shere Khan.

This is the story I pretty much expected. What I didn’t realise was the other half of The Jungle Book is made up of other short stories. First we had ‘The White Seal’ Kotick who travels the oceans to find a safe home for him and the other fur seals away from humans. Then ‘Rikki-Tikki-Tavi’ a mongoose who defends his adopted, human family from a pair of deadly, king cobras. Then ‘Toomai of the Elephants’ which tells how a little boy called Toomai is able to see the mysterious elephant dance. Finally ‘Her Majesty’s Servants’ looks into a discussion between all the different animals which work for the British army. I was confused at first, as not sure what fur seals have to do with the jungle? However I enjoyed all these stories and my favourite would have to be ‘Rikki-Tikki-Tavi’.

I have fond childhood memories of the Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling so it was nice to discover some more of his short stories. However when The Jungle Book was chosen as my Spin result I was really looking forward to finally reading a novel by Kipling. Sadly of course that still hasn’t happened! While Mowgli’s story was half of the book, it was really still a story not a novel. Therefore I also didn’t get some of character depth I was hoping for but enough of the negative; this was still an enjoyable read. Plus I still have Kim on my Classic Club list, please tell me that’s a novel?

The Jungle Book is an enjoyable collection of short stories, set in the beautiful and deadly Indian jungle. I recommend if you love children’s classics. This is my 32nd read off my Classics Club list. Good read.

Have you read this? Are you a fan of the Disney film?

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14 thoughts on “The Classics Club: The Jungle Book

  1. I have just read and reviewed on my blog my first Kipling. I went for the “Just So Stories”. I found your views on “Jungle Book” very interesting, you might have persuaded me to go on a bit of a Kipling reading frenzy!

    1. Amanda how lovely that as a child you enjoyed an animated version of Rikki-Tikki-Tavi. And now if you ever fancy reading it as an adult you know where to find it 🙂

  2. I must confess I have a soft spot for this book – I think you should go right away and read the Graveyard Book – right now! It would be an experience after having put this down. Gaiman loved the Kipling book and so certain aspects are reflected there.
    And, yes, Kim is a novel – a good one actually, although you have to bear in mind that it was probably published about a century ago. With that in mind it was a good tale. Probably better than Jungle Book on reflection although I read these books a good while ago – probably early teens so I could be talking complete jibberish.
    Lynn 😀

      1. Lynn, I am really pleased to hear you enjoyed both The Jungle Book and Kim. I am even more excited to try Kim now. I love the idea of there being reflections from this in The Graveyard Book I just haven’t been brave enough to read a, solo, Neil Gaiman novel since I was disappointed by Stardust (mainly due to watching and loving the film first!). I really should give him another go though.

        p.s. If it makes you feel better you do spell it ‘gibberish’ but pronounce it ‘jibberish’ 🙂

        1. For what it’s worth, I also have, um, problems with Stardust the book when I compare it to the movie (which is just so much more FUN) and I really like The Graveyard Book. It’s probably my favorite solo Gaiman.

          1. Cheryl, I totally the agree the film was just so much fun 🙂 It is encouraging to hear, from someone who had problems with Stardust, that you enjoyed The Graveyard Book so much. Sounds like I really should give it a go.

  3. I read this as a child and loved the Mowgli stories, though I can’t really remember any of the other stories in the book. I haven’t read Kim, but as far as I know it is a novel!

    1. Helen how lovely you got to read this as a child. I sadly seem to have missed quite a lot of classics when I was a child, but this was still a lovely read as an adult too. I look forward to reading Kim 🙂

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