A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Descriptions of animals both factual and imaginative.
Observe animals and imagine who they came to look like they do.
Positive Role Models
In fanciful stories, it's implied that the animals are adaptive. The story of how the leopard got its spots imagines that they were painted by an Ethiopian after he painted himself black -- a fantasy explanation that reflects Kipling's colonialist instincts.
Violence & Scariness
It may worry young children when the crocodile won't let go of the elephant.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Just So Stories, by Rudyard Kipling (The Jungle Book), originally published in 1902, offer 12 creation fables filled with lively language, humorous stories, and fanciful animals that are rendered in watercolor and pen-and-ink. It's an unusual and delightful read-aloud. It explores questions such as how the leopard got its spots, how he camel got its hump, how the elephant got his trunk, and so on.
Is It Any Good?
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.
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.