This is an exceptional production of the original version of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, including a picture book version that is abbreviated to just 30 pages. This app also includes the full novel (over 200 pages) although this version is not narrated. This title was written in the late 1800′s and has not been interpreted in this version to be more accessible to a modern audience, so the language will be especially challenging for young readers under the age of 10. It is, however, a great resource for classroom use, especially with the word-by-word narration of the shorter version of this classic story.
For school use when studying this classic, I highly recommend this slightly animated & interactive version to engage kids, but otherwise this title may feel out-of-step for most modern readers without some adult interpretation. The addition of a user's guide to this title, published more than 100 years ago would be useful, as well as a way to search the full version. Archaic use of 'thee & thou', extremely long sentence length, and a reliance on passive voice, makes this text at the reading level of high school and above, even in the picture book version.
Reading this delightful classic with my six year old showed me immediately that the interactive elements, like parting the grass to see the 'man-cub', were much too distracting for young readers, especially since these images don't tell the story in pictures as well as I would hope for a version with every other page set up just for exploring. I would love to see images and interactivity that help convey the story added instead, helping young readers interpret this classic with visual cues instead of fun things to manipulate. As an adult reader who could understand the plot, I found these interactions fun ways of building on the story's content, but if you don't understand the text well in the first place, they serve only to distract.
There is both a 'picture book' version (32 pages with nearly half as just interactive images) and the full 206 page version of the original story. The picture book version includes wonderful narration that highlights word-for-word, making this a great way for relucatant readers to explore this popular title for academic use. Unfortunately, the full version is not narrated, but does make for a wonderful extra included with the more enhanced title. The 16 interactive images in the picture book version are spread out through the full version, enhancing it slightly.
Overall, this is a nicely made title with simple settings that let the user explore an abbreviated or full-length version of the Kipling classic. Young readers will need a lot of help to enjoy this title, even if they just listen to it in read-along mode. Older readers and adults will enjoy the enhancements that can both build on comprehension and motivate reluctant readers to stay involved with what is often a difficult story to enjoy, given modern standards for writing & digital storytelling. Recommended, especially as an adjunct to classroom study of the original text.
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
Rudyard Kipling/M.S. Corley
Random House Digital, Inc.
12 - 30 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: No
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 8 - 12 +
The Jungle Book (1894) is a collection of stories by British Nobel laureate Rudyard Kipling. The stories were first published in magazines in 1893–94. The original publications contain illustrations, some by Rudyard's father, John Lockwood Kipling. Kipling was born in India and spent the first six years of his childhood there. After about ten years in England, he went back to India and worked there for about six-and-half years. These stories were written when Kipling lived in Vermont.
The tales in the book (and also those in The Second Jungle Book which followed in 1895, and which includes five further stories about Mowgli) are fables, using animals in ananthropomorphic manner to give moral lessons. The verses of The Law of the Jungle, for example, lay down rules for the safety of individuals, families and communities. Kipling put in them nearly everything he knew or "heard or dreamed about the Indian jungle." Other readers have interpreted the work as allegories of the politics and society of the time. The best-known of them are the three stories revolving around the adventures of an abandoned "man cub" Mowgli who is raised by wolves in the Indian jungle. The most famous of the other stories are probably "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi", the story of a heroic mongoose, and "Toomai of the Elephants", the tale of a young elephant-handler. As with much of Kipling's work, each of the stories is preceded by a piece of verse, and succeeded by another.
The Jungle Book, because of its moral tone, came to be used as a motivational book by theCub Scouts, a junior element of the Scouting movement. This use of the book's universe was approved by Kipling after a direct petition of Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Scouting movement, who had originally asked for the author's permission for the use of theMemory Game from Kim in his scheme to develop the morale and fitness of working-class youths in cities. Akela, the head wolf in The Jungle Book, has become a senior figure in the movement, the name being traditionally adopted by the leader of each Cub Scout pack.