Parents' Guide to

Just So Stories

By Katherine Olney, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 6+

Lively language, funny stories, fanciful animals.

Just So Stories Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 9+

Based on 1 parent review

age 9+

Complex and outdated vocabulary for kids

I usually read and watch oldies with my kids, but this one does not stand the test of time. The stories usually end with some sort of punishment, and the vocabulary is too complex and too outdated for little kids. In the story about the leopard, for example, a black character is referred to as a "n****r" at least twice. Although the book stimulates imagination and the old vocabulary can spark some discussion with kids, this reading would require so much explanation and so much discussion, I am afraid kids would simply find it boring.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

These stories, written in lyrical, sing-song, half made-up words, flow from the tongue in a way that delights both reader and listener. Designed to be read aloud, they are less successful as a read-alone. Rudyard Kipling wrote these stories for his daughter, and they're named Just So Stories because she wanted them "just so."

The captions to his black and white illustrations are whimsical and gently naughty. They elaborate on the story (and sometimes things that don't even happen in the story). This endearing style doesn't always work. In The Crab That Played, Kipling's showy language is sometimes more confusing than playful. But in How the Whale Got His Throat, every word is aptly chosen.

Book Details

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate