Thursday, March 6, 2008

Animals in Literature

Could The Jungle Store blog not mention
Rudyard Kipling's classic, The Jungle Book? I say, nay nay.

I'm not talking about the Walt Disney movie. That movie is fine, if you're four. But think of how the movie ends – the storm, the fire, the fleeing tiger. In the book, this pivotal battle between the boy, Mowgli and the lame tiger, Shere Khan takes place at the end of Chapter One. If you've only seen the movie, think how much of the story you're actually missing. And it's a wonderful story.

We learn the secretive past of Bagheera the black panther. We watch Kaa, the python rock snake (who is always a friend, never a toadie of Shere Khan) do a "dance of hunger" thereby saving Mowgli's life. We learn the "strangers hunting call" and feel the fierce joy of running with the wolf pack. During a terrible night of darkness we hear Mowgli command Hathi, the elephant, and his sons to "let in the jungle" on an Indian village that has betrayed him. There is mystery and passion in The Jungle Book that no animation can touch. Instead, this novel requires the unrestricted imagination of a child or the willingness of an adult to loose himself in a good book.


Anonymous said...

Very interesting. I like the way you provide examples of the animals. Way to go.

thanks for your note.

Anonymous said...

I fondly remember a little girl standing next to her phonograph player totally enraptured in the music blarring forth. The "humongous" CD was playing music from Disney's take on Kipling'sThe Jungle Book.
Once she got "big" she read the book. Her blog tells exactly what she found in this engaging tale.