The Second Jungle Book
First published by Macmillan in 1895, and now returning to print in this beautiful new edition, The Second Jungle Book is a sequel to Rudyard Kipling's classic, The Jungle Book. Mowgli, the boy raised by wolves learns more of life and survival in the Indian jungle in the company of well-loved characters such as Baloo the brown bear and Bagheer the black panther. Including three further stories of life in India, this rich collection of adventure, fable and poetry from the master-storyteller and illustrated by his father, John Lockwood Kipling, is a classic to treasure.
Genre: Children’s classics
Author: Rudyard Kipling
Paperback, 384 pages
Published September 28th 2016
Publishing House: Pan Macmillan (first published 1895)
What a feast for the mind and the eye. Vibrant and thoughtful, Kipling chose his words with intent to deliver this captivating and provocative piece, sequel to The Jungle Book, turning worldview from humans to animals of the jungle and we can all learn from it.
Joseph Rudyard Kipling, Nobel Prize winner in Literature in 1907 begins The Second Jungle Book with “The Law of the Jungle – which is by far the oldest law in the world – has arranged for almost every kind of accident that may befall the Jungle People, till now its code is as perfect as time and custom can make it.” He begins to explain how fear became in mythical ways and historically as the animals gather around the drought ridden land telling stories of the past. How did Sher Khan become the most feared predator of the land yet is cursed with the markings of the jungle as his ancestors betrayed a Truce between humans and animals long ago.
“When ye say to Tabaqui, ‘My brother!’ when ye call the Hyena to meat, Ye may cry the Full Truce with Jacala – the Belly that runs on four feet” The Jungle Law, The Undertakers
Each animal in turn talks about their point of view of the story and the things they remember. The drought is a difficult one…for humans as for the animals. They talk about men that were cave dwellers to men that came on boats and ships. They have learned to fear the men and their weapons. The drought will lead humans to the same water holes as the animals. Their council is wise and they must seek solutions before turning into savage beasts.
Mowgli and our beloved animal friends Bagheera, Baloo and yes, even Kaa and Sher Khan are all aging. Kipling seemed to have a keen understanding of the process of appreciation for a life long lived as the animals so wisely speak of the things they have seen and done in their life, all the while needing to pass on their knowledge to the next generation. It is rather humbling how true and sincere these subtle nuances are expressed emphatically and gentle, yet they hit the mark precise and perfectly.
Kipling moves on, interspersing songs, quotes and poems into the fabric of the novel. Each of them are food for thought that leads the reader with new clues down a new path of life and Mowgli’s story with a few other random ones featured as well.
This particular edition had some old black and white prints, captioned with verse throughout the novel or at the beginning of chapters. For younger readers, there is a quiz and a glossary at the end of the book.
I thought this was really a rather humbling novel. I have a dog that is aging right now, and the full circle of life is so well demonstrated in this novel and it’s happening right in front of my eyes…making it bitter sweet in my case.
This novel has only 139 reviews on GR, which seems so underrated to me. I guess we all know the Jungle Book in one way or another from childhood or Disney movies and perhaps that is all most care to know. I myself included…until I just so picked up this book and what a surprise.
Reading up on Kipling’s life and his works I realized that I have misjudged anything I knew before about the Jungle Book or its origins. Which was very little I have to say. I am sadly ashamed to have never actually read the original Jungle book but mostly the children’s illustrated versions when I was a kid or just browsing bookcases and glancing through. This needs to be mended on my part and I am intending to read some other works from this brilliant mind whose prose and voice are full of wisdom and simply brilliant.
If you can set a stigma you may have of the popularized version of the Jungle Book aside and you want to read something classic that holds truth in the wisdom expressed through different kinds of living things and that makes you think, give this a try. No prior knowledge necessary. And after that, perhaps, try the first book. That’s what I am planning to do.
PS, I also have to admit that I saw parts of the newest movie of the Jungle Book the other day and loved it. Perhaps the best movie version I ever saw. It is part of what prompted me to just so pick this book up. Otherwise, I may never would have, but I am glad I did.