The tales packed in “The Jungle Book” don’t translate to adults as well as some other childhood classics, however. While one can assume a book written with a childhood audience in mind would be heavily anchored in plot, many of the classics offer a bit more hidden between the lines for adult readers. “Peter Pan” hits adult’s nostalgia for childhood dead on, until we’re almost tearing up by the story’s end. “The Wizard of Oz” opens to us a land so vast, the author had to write 14 books to dig deep enough into the world.
“The Jungle Book,” on the other hand, doesn’t offer as much for most adult’s tastes. For those who love to get immersed in heavily detailed, alternate worlds, such as the “Harry Potter” or “Game of Thrones” series, “The Jungle Book” doesn’t provide as much depth. For those who prefer deeper meaning and subtext, such as Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” or C.S. Lewis’ “The Chronicles of Narnia,” there’s not as much beneath the surface to dig into.
That’s not to say “The Jungle Book” isn’t fun, or worth a read — especially for younger audiences. After all, there’s a reason the book is still widely published well over 100 years after its first printing. The stories collected can be exciting, at times riveting, and full of potential danger and intense adventure. They’re great stories for children who are starting to make their way into the world of chapter books, or to read to young ones as a bedtime story.
Just don’t expect “The Jungle Book” to please your adult palette as much as say, the latest James Patterson novel.
Dean Goranites publishes weekly video book reviews at unleashthis.tumblr.com, and can be reached through Twitter at unleash_this.
• WHAT: "The Jungle Book"
• BY: Rudyard Kipling
• GRADE: C