The Jungle Book is a classic adventure collection of stories written for children in 1894 by English author Rudyard Kipling. The stories mirror fables – using animals to give moral lessons – but feature the boy (man-cub) Mowgli, raised in the jungle by wolves. Some view the stories as political allegories of British colonial India; many stories heavily feature the Law of the Jungle. Simply read, however, The Jungle Book has been popular since its publication with readers of all ages.
Many film adaptations have been made of the classic story – a 1942 live action technicolor film starring Sabu Dastagir; the well-loved Disney animated classic from 1967 (with a sequel produced in 2003), as well as several other adaptations across film and TV, including a Japanese anime. Kipling’s stories inspired several modern classics – the science fiction novel Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein replaces Kipling’s story of a child raised by wolves with a child raised by Martians. The Newbery-award winning children’s novel The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman is a similar replacement – a child raised by ghosts in a graveyard – and follows the original fable format of Kipling’s stories a little more closely than Heinlein.
Stories of feral children are still prevalent and popular in children’s literature. Maryrose Wood’s humorous series The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place features a plucky governess and her charges: three Mowgli-esque children raised by wolves. Alex Mallory’s young adult novel Wild follows the story of a feral boy brought into civilization for the first time after rescuing a teen from a bear attack. The middle grade novel The Music of Dolphins is a stunning novel about a girl raised by dolphins who attempts to rehabilitate into human society.
A common denominator of all (including The Jungle Book) is children in the wild discovered by “real” and “civilized” society and brought to bear (no pun intended, Baloo). Even Kipling’s animals are focused on bringing Mowgli to the man-village upon his coming of age – one begins to think about the parallels between the wild nature of youth and the possibly unrealistic expectations of children upon coming of age. But perhaps one thinks too much…
This Friday, June 16, we’re kicking off Summer Reading with Dave DiNaso’s Traveling World of Reptiles and a Movie Under the Stars, where we will be showing the 2016 remake of The Jungle Book. Come meet many relativessssssss of the enormousssssss sssssssnake Kaa from 7:00-8:15pm. You can also grab your Ssssssssummer Reading t-sssssssshirt and your challenge/reading cardsssssss while enjoying sssssssnacks, entertainment, and ssssssssocializing with your friends, family (and ssssssssnakes). Bring blankets and lawn chairs for the movie, which will start at dusssssssssk (around 8:30pm).
Stay tuned to the library website for information about inclement weather.