Children's Fiction

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The Jungle Book

Rudyard Kipling

1894

The tales in the book (as well as those in The Second Jungle Book, which followed in 1895 and includes five further stories about Mowgli) are fables, using animals in an anthropomorphic manner to teach moral lessons. A major theme in the book is abandonment followed by fostering, as in the life of Mowgli, echoing Kipling's own childhood. Mowgli was lost by his parents as a baby in the Indian jungle during a tiger attack, he is adopted by the Wolf Mother, Raksha and Father Wolf, who call him Mowgli (frog) because of his lack of fur and his refusal to sit still. Shere Khan the tiger demands that they give him the baby but the wolves refuse. Mowgli grows up with the pack, hunting with his brother wolves. In the pack, Mowgli learns he is able to stare down any wolf, and his unique ability to remove the painful thorns from the paws of his brothers is deeply appreciated as well.