cover image Into the Jungle: Stories for Mowgli

Into the Jungle: Stories for Mowgli

Katherine Rundell, illus by Kristjana S. Williams. Walker, $24.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-5362-0527-5 

Rundell (The Explorer) returns to the jungle in this retelling of The Jungle Book, a richly illustrated collection of five tales about the beloved characters, told to Mowgli as he dashes through the jungle. In one, Father Wolf recounts a story of Mowgli’s lupine mother, an anecdote in which she earns a reputation for courage and intellect by outwitting the vicious tiger Shere Khan. Rapi, a “gentle-eyed and soft-eared” elephant, narrates a moving story about Bagheera’s time in captivity with his sister, Gilhari, and their bold escape. The collection ends with Mowgli taking center stage to face off against the dangerous and mythologized White Ape, bringing the lessons of courage, family, and community full circle. Detailed, lushly colored collages of Victorian engravings by Williams (The Wonder Garden) are a pleasure to study. With its themes of nature and wildness, Rundell’s collection offers more bite than many a retelling and addresses the lack of female characters in Kipling’s original, providing a well-rounded collection of stories. Ages 8–12. [em](Oct.) [/em]