“The Jungle book” is a fun collection of timeless stories worthy of their fame.
The movie brethren of this tale resemble the source material in only superficial ways. Mowgli only features in less than half of the book’s stories for one thing. However every story is interesting and connected in theme and tone. All of the stories revolve around animals, like you might’ve expected, and while each represents different regions throughout the animal kingdom, each story has its own laws the animals must abide by. But every animal has these constraints, which helps humanize the animals and connect the world the author creates. While the world building here is minimal it is tight and thoughtful, making the author’s creation vivid without overpowering the tales he tells.
The main draw of “The Jungle Book” is the writing and sheer delight of experiencing the adventures. The writing has aged only slightly (mainly in the dialogue) and is still a blast to read. The writing is balanced: having enough description to paint the picture without blotting out the picture manufactured by your own imagination. The action is also well-paced, interesting and not overbearing or gratuitous. The dialogue doesn’t differentiate between characters well but it is engaging and moves the stories along. All these aspects work like a well-trained symphony: the different instruments of pacing , dialogue, action, and deception sound exquisite when the story beats need them. And the stories may be simple but we would not have wanted them to be complicated.
There is little characterization or theme but the characters are good enough to hook us. You can find many themes herein, including man’s connection to nature, courage, and growing up, but this collection is more about fun than instruction. Still, engaging settings for a noble message.
Of course children and adults alike can enjoy the book for the wonderful detail the world and the storytelling.