Rudyard Joseph Kipling was born in the then named Bombay, India on 30th December 1865. Aged six, he was sent to England to be educated, firstly in Southsea, where he was cared for in a foster home, and later at Westward Ho, a United Services College in Devon. A life of misery at the former was described in his story 'Baa Baa Black Sheep', whilst Westward Ho was used as a basis for his questioning the public school ethic in 'Stalky and Co'. Kipling returned to India in 1882 to work as an assistant editor for the Civil and Military Gazette of Lahore. His reputation as a writer was established with stories of English life in India, published there in 1888/9. 'The Phantom Rickshaw', 'Soldiers Three' and 'Under the Deodars' are amongst these early works. Returning to England in 1889, Kipling settled in London and continued to earn a living as a writer. In 1892 he married Caroline Balestier, an American. They travelled extensively in the following four years, including a spell living in America, and it was in this time most of his enduring work was written, not least 'The Jungle Book' and 'The Second Jungle Book'. Kipling once again returned to England in 1896 and continued his writing career, although tragedy hit the family when his eldest daughter, Josephine, died in 1899. Nonetheless, in 1901 he completed 'Kim', often considered to be his best work. The following year, having settled in Sussex, he published 'Just So Stories', a book he had planned to write for Josephine. Having refused the position of Poet Laureate, which was offered in 1895, he did accept the Nobel Prize for Literature, becoming the first English author to be so honoured. By 1910, however, Kipling's appeal was waning. His poems and stories were based on values that were perceived as outdated. There was widespread reaction against Victorian imperialism, highlighted by the incompetent management of the Boer War. When World War I came, Kipling had difficulty in adapting to the mood of the public and after his only son, John, was reported missing in action believed killed in 1915, he became very active on the War Graves Commission. After the war he became an increasingly isolated figure, although some of his best writing was to come, with 'Debits and Credits' in 1926 and 'Limits and Renewals' in 1932. Kipling died in 1936 in London and was buried in Westminster Abbey. Today, however, he is once again avidly read not just for the quality of his writing and storytelling, but through a renewed interest in the behaviour and values he represented.
Gr 1-6-This collection includes Kipling's 12 original Just So Stories narrated by Geoffrey Palmer, whose deep and resonant voice is perfectly suited to the tales. It is satisfying to hear the stories as they were meant to be told-aloud. Kipling originally told the stories to his own children over a century ago. The language is reflective of Kipling's time and place, and children who may have trouble with the language and phrasing will benefit from hearing the stories read. Among the stories included here are "How the Whale Got His Throat," "The Butterfly That Stamped," and "The Elephant's Child." Many of them include a moral or lesson, such as "How the Camel Got His Hump," in which the camel learns a lesson about being lazy and procrastinating. The tales are nicely complemented by bits of classical music including pieces from Saint-Saen's "Carnival of the Animals." The accompanying booklet provides information about Kipling's life and some additional material about the stories. An excellent addition to classic audiobook collections in school and public libraries.-Maren Ostergard, Bellevue Regional Library, King County Library System, WA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
The graceful prose and pungent humor of these 12 tall tales (which include such favorites as ``How the Camel Got His Hump'' and ``The Elephant's Child'') place them in the same league with such children's classics as Winnie the Pooh and Alice in Wonderland. Kipling's verbal dexterity remains audible over time--even the openings of his fantastic fictions hark to a golden age of storytelling. Frampton's elegant, elaborately detailed woodcuts are attractive embellishments to this hefty 122-page collection. Stylistically, however, they are perhaps more suited to the tastes of adults than children, as they are neither as colorful nor as playful as the stories. They do not reach out and hook the audience in the distinctive, visually arresting manner needed to keep pace with this eminent author's topsy-turvy logic. Ages 8-12. (Oct.)