Legends are made from legends. Rudyard Kipling dug deep into the tales of the jungle from his years living in India, and drew from them the kinds of stories that live forever.
"The Jungle Book" is more than how Mowgli, the man cub, learns to live and survive amongst enemies like Shere Khan. The intense mongoose vs cobra "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi," also well-known, is here, as are several lesser-known and unrelated adventures.
Richly written, with details and contexts unfamiliar to Western readers, "The Jungle Book" lifts imagination and language beautifully. Poetic, and written in a literary style, it shines above most modern prose.
This is the stuff of afternoon stories read to older boys and girls. Young teens will while away rainy evenings, unwilling to part until finished. Sometimes scary and always exciting, Kipling also uses the book to teach lessons much greater than a jungle in India.
When chapters were first read to me many years ago, I listened gawk-eyed, listening intently for as long as my mother would read. I read it with different eyes now, but no less a young boy as I worry how Baloo will handle the Bandar-Log monkeys.
It isn't perfect. A few scientific details are fudged (wolf pack breeding structure, for example), but nothing that matters in the big picture. Kipling will have you in the palm of his hand, even though it was first published over 100 years ago.
May "The Jungle Book" by Rudyard Kipling be as amazing to you as it has been to me.