The Jungle Book - Rudyard Kipling Rudyard Kipling’s _The Jungle Book_ is an enjoyable read. A collection of short stories, all of which revolve around the lives and troubles of different animals and the people who interact with them, it has a surprising amount of depth coupled with rather pleasant prose. The most famous of these stories are probably those that revolve around Mowgli, the jungle boy raised by wolves in India whose adventures with Baloo the bear and Bagheera the panther against the machinations of Shere Khan the tiger are fairly well-known (even resulting in a typically watered-down Disney movie from many years ago).

All of the stories are notable for their fairly even handed treatment of the interactions between animals and men. The tragedy and pathos of the tribulations and abuse animals often have to suffer at the hands of man are not glossed over, but neither is it implied that all interactions between mankind and the animal kingdom are destructive or unwarranted. The animals are presented as having languages and customs of their own and Kipling generally does a pretty neat trick of managing to straddle the line between having his animal characters behave too much like humans and having them fall into unrelatability by being purely ‘animals’. The most significant contravention of this occurs, I think, in the story “Her Majesty’s Servants” in which, in my opinion, a group of animals serving various roles in a British regiment shade a bit more towards taking on the roles of their all-too human handlers. That quibble aside I enjoyed these morality fables and adventure stories, with those centring on Mowgli and his lessons in the Laws of the Jungle topping the list. Good clean fun with enough meat to the bone to give you something to think about.