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The Jungle Book
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Book Review

 

Hardcover Paperback

Review by Michael Stoltzfus

The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling

Illustrator: Fritz Eichenburg

Published by Grosset and Dunlap, Inc (Tempo Books)

 

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Age Level:  10+ 

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Grade Level:  4+

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In contract to the Disney version of the Jungle Book, which focuses only on one part of Kipling;'s book, the stories dealing with Mowgli, Rudyard Kiplings The Jungle book has much more to offer.  Besides the probably most famous and well known story of Mowgli, there are other stories which give insight into the animal kingdom of India.  In all of the stories in The Jungle Book, the animals have the ability to speak which make the animals more personal to the reader and one might forget in the course of the stories just for a split second that they actually are animals and not people.   Children will very likely like the stories for just having talking animals.  The age level/reading level of the book is Upper Elementary.  While there aren't too many large or complex words, there are a limited occurrences of words such as thou, thine, canst, thy, ye which can most likely be attributed to the time period in which The Jungle Book was written.  There words do somewhat add color and variation to the dialogues in the stories but may inhibit the flow of the story for the today's reader who doesn't really use old English words.  Some other unfamiliar words, such as names of places and people or animals, unique to the individual stories, also require some extra attention.  The stories would be well worth reading aloud, especially to younger children and more advanced readers in the upper grades would probably also enjoy the book as a read-alone book.  The individual stories aren't too long but the average page length of the stories does float around 25-30 pages each including illustrations which will probably scare some readers from tackling the book especially if they wish to read it aloud to others and time is an issue.  Depending on the reader's view of things, there is one small area which some readers may object to.  It concerns the illustrations in the Mawgli tales in which Mowgli is presented without clothes, however, nothing can really be seen.  Mowgli does, later in the story, receive a form of protection.  Overall, The Jungle Book is a fun and exciting book to read in which the reader is transported to a play in which animals encounter challenges just like humans.  They must deal with these challenges as well as live with other animals in the jungle and try to live peacefully with each other.

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Available from Barnes and Noble