Friday 7 September 2018

Book Review: Into The Jungle; Katherine Rundell.

Though I only read Kipling's original books themselves in the last couple of years, I've always been a big fan of The Jungle Book lore and characters thanks to various adaptations I've watched throughout my life. This book was a wonderful addition to Mowgli's universe.

SOURCE: Netgalley
TYPE: E-Read

TITLE: Into The Jungle
AUTHOR: Katherine Rundell
PUBLISHER: Walker Books
PAGES: 240
GENRE: Middle Grade, Adventure, Short Stories, Retelling

RATING: 4/5 Stars

This wise and witty companion to Rudyard Kipling’s 1894 classic is likewise a series of connected stories about the man-cub Mowgli and his adventures among the animals in the Indian jungle. 

It includes all the original favourites like Baloo and Bagheera and gives female characters, like Mother Wolf, a more prominent role in Mowgli’s upbringing. 

The timely theme of the possibility of understanding and empathy across species, cultures, and genders will resonate with contemporary readers.

What I Liked:
  • These stories were a joy to read. While the original stories focus on Mowgli's tale, these are about the animal characters that are beloved to most who are fans of Kipling's stories. Bagheera, Mother Wolf, Kaa and Baloo each get their own origin story, and I really liked them all. Especially Baloo's (and Kaa's too, surprisingly)!
  • There are lessons to be learnt from this book too. Particularly about empathy and understanding between different cultures and races. And I liked that the final story allowed us to see that Mowgli had learnt from them too, while retaining the brash, confident personality we know from 'The Jungle Books'.
What I Disliked:
  • I wish there had been more stories than there was. For example, though we got to see a little of Shere Khan's past, I would have liked for him to have a story to himself. Nevertheless, this was only a minor gripe.
Overall Conclusion:
Rundell did such a wonderful job with this, and I loved that she stuck to the original short story format. I liked the illustrations a lot too, and thought that Kristjana S. Williams did some fantastic work! I highly recommend this read for any fans of the films (animated or live action) or original books, as this expands and reimagines Mowgli's world fantastically.

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