Just So Stories



Lively language, funny stories, fanciful animals.

What parents need to know

Violence & scariness

It may worry young children when the crocodile won't let go of the elephant.

Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that lively language, humorous stories, and fanciful animals rendered in watercolor and pen-and-ink make for an unusual and delightful read-aloud.

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What's the story?

Why do elephants have trunks? Where did the alphabet come from? How did the leopard get his spots? In these twelve creation fables the mysteries are answered in the most creative ways. Informal pen-and-ink sketches along with detailed watercolor paintings draw the viewer into this charming world.


Is it any good?


There is nothing else quite like these stories; written in lyrical, sing-song, half made-up words, they 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 got their name 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). Sometimes this endearing style doesn't 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.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the fables here. How are these animals like people? Come up with your own fantastic tales to explain how something came to be.

Book details

Author:Rudyard Kipling
Illustrator:Rudyard Kipling
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Penguin Group
Publication date:January 1, 1902
Number of pages:128

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent of a 10 year old Written byCSM Screen Name... April 9, 2008

Bring your imagination and dictionary to the table!

Fun to read, but vocabulary is slightly advanced for little ones, on par for Kipling. The stories are fun and imaginative.


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