Have you ever enquired why the elephant has such an enormously elongated nose? Are you confused by a cat's contrary nature? Have you ruminated on the wrinkles of a rhinocerous? Or speculated on a leopard's spots? Rudyard Kipling wondered about all these things too, and in this marvellous collection of stories he imagines how the animals became 'just so'.
Includes exclusive material: In the Backstory you can find out why Just So Stories is one of Philip Pullman’s favourite books and discover wacky facts about wild animals!
Vintage Children’s Classics is a twenty-first century classics list aimed at 8-12 year olds and the adults in their lives. Discover timeless favourites from The Jungle Book and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to modern classics such as The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.
These stories were written when Kipling lived in Vermont. There is evidence that it was written for his daughter Josephine, who died in 1899 aged six, after a rare first edition of the book with a poignant handwritten note by the author to his young daughter was discovered at the National Trust's Wimpole Hall in Cambridgeshire in 2010.
The tales in the book (and also those in The Second Jungle Book which followed in 1895, and which includes five further stories about Mowgli) are fables, using animals in an anthropomorphic manner to give moral lessons. The verses of The Law of the Jungle, for example, lay down rules for the safety of individuals, families and communities. Kipling put in them nearly everything he knew or "heard or dreamed about the Indian jungle." Other readers have interpreted the work as allegories of the politics and society of the time. The best-known of them are the three stories revolving around the adventures of an abandoned "man cub" Mowgli who is raised by wolves in the Indian jungle. The most famous of the other stories are probably "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi", the story of a heroic mongoose, and "Toomai of the Elephants", the tale of a young elephant-handler. As with much of Kipling's work, each of the stories is preceded by a piece of verse, and succeeded by another.
Akela – An Indian Wolf
Bagheera – A melanistic (black) panther
Baloo— A Sloth Bear
Bandar-log – A tribe of monkeys
Chil – A kite (renamed "Rann" in US editions)
Chuchundra – A Muskrat
Darzee – A tailorbird
Father Wolf – The Father Wolf who raised Mowgli as his own cub
Grey brother – One of Mother and Father Wolf's cubs
Hathi – An Indian Elephant
Ikki – An Asiatic Brush-tailed Porcupine (mentioned only)
Kaa – Indian Python
Karait – Common Krait
Kotick – A White Seal
Mang – A Bat
Mor – An Indian Peafowl
Mowgli – Main character, the young jungle boy
Nag – A male Black cobra
Nagaina – A female King cobra, Nag's mate
Raksha – The Mother wolf who raised Mowgli as own cub
Rikki-Tikki-Tavi – An Indian Mongoose
Sea Catch – A Northern fur seal and Kotick's father
Sea Cow – A Steller's Sea Cow
Sea Vitch – A Walrus
Shere Khan— A Royal Bengal Tiger
Tabaqui – An Indian Jackal