***This book was reviewed for Udon Entertainment
The Manga Classics version of Kipling’s The Jungle Book brought to life beloved childhood stories, and introduced me to a few I was unfamiliar with. There are seven ‘books’, three of which centre around Mowgli, the wolf boy, and his rivalry with Shere Khan the tiger.
The remaining four are all independent, stand-alone stories. Kotick follows a young white seal on his adventures searching for a place where his people can be safe from human hunting. Riki Tiki Tavi, my favourite, is the tale of the titular mongoose who is rescued by a human family, and subsequently saves them in turn, when deadly cobras attack. Toomai was new to me. It is the tale of a young elephant keeper who witnessed the elephants’ dance, something no man had done before. Her Majesty’s Servants is another that’s new to me. It is about life in a military camp, from the perspective of the animals involved.
In most of the stories that had people, I found the animal art lacking. The humans were typical manga quality, which I love. The exception was Riki Tiki Tavi, but there the main character was Riki, a mongoose, rather than a human. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the (mostly) familiar stories drawn out. At the end, there is an explanation regarding translating the book to manga, stylistic and naming choices, and a neat synchronicity anecdote about Riki Tiki and a kitty-cat.
📚📚📚📚 Recommended for those who enjoy The Jungle Book and for introducing new readers to the material.