Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Jungle Book: The Mowgli Stories (NorthSouth Books)

Rudyard Kipling was born on December 30, 1865. That was a little over 150 years ago. To celebrate the birth of this amazing writer, NorthSouth Books has published a beautiful edition of The Jungle Book: The Mowgli Stories. Many of us know the bare minimum of The Jungle Book story thanks to Walt Disney's popular movie, but there is so much more to the story than Disney showed us. Allow me to tell you about it. The book is divided into sixteen chapters and contains the familiar characters, we've all come to know. There is Mowgli, Baloo the bear, Akela the wolf, Bagheera the panther, Hathi the elephant, Kaa the python, and Shere Khan tiger.

In the first chapter, we see are introduced to Mother Wolf and Father Wolf. They are part of Akela's pack and have just had a litter of pups. While they are tending to their young, a young boy (Mowgli) wandered to them. At first they didn't know what to make of him and were worried, but they decided to adopt him as their own. Shere Khan did not like this and wanted Mowgli for his own, so he could eat him. The wolves protected him and after Shere Khan fled, they took him to Akela. Listening to Mother and Father Wolf vouch for the young boy, Mowgli was accepted into the pack. His mentors became Akela, Baloo, and Bagheera. The stories in this book take us all through Mowgli's childhood. We see him abducted by monkeys, fight Shere Khan, and actually attempt to rejoin a human village. After each chapter, there is a poem that relates to the story we just heard. Thus, this book is both prose and poetry and a beautiful mix at that.

So why would you want to purchase a book that is in public domain? For starters, you are getting a fine hardcover, which to some might not sound like a lot, but to me is worth its weight in gold. With so many books, now being ebooks or paperbacks, it's getting harder and harder to find quality publishing. The other big selling point of this book is the illustrations. They are not on every page, but they are still abundant. The illustrator, Aljoscha Blau, shows a level of detail in them that draw you in and keep you coming back to look at them. They not only complement the stories, but elevate them to another level. NorthSouth Books is a publisher I don't have a great deal of familiarity with, but if these are the kind of books they produce, they have a new fan and supporter. Be sure to check out some of their other beautiful hardcovers, including Heidi and The Seven Voyages of Sinbad the Sailor.

This book was provided to me for free by NorthSouth Books in exchange for an honest review. If you found this review helpful, please click here and hit Yes!