Rudyard Kipling was born in Bombay, India to British parents on December 30, 1865. In 1871, Rudyard and his sister, Trix, aged three, were left to be cared for by a couple in Southsea, England. Five years passed before he saw his parents again. His sense of desertion and despair were later expressed in his story "Baa Baa, Black Sheep" (1888), in his novel The Light that failed (1890), and his autobiography, Something of Myself (1937). As late as 1935 Kipling still spoke bitterly of the "House of Desolation" at Southsea: "I should like to burn it down and plough the place with salt."At twelve he entered a minor public school, the United Services College at Westward Ho, North Devon. In Stalky and CO. (1899) the myopic Beetle is a self-caricature, and the days at Westward Ho are recalled with mixed feelings. At sixteen, eccentric and literary, Kipling sailed to India to become a journalist. His Indian experiences led to seven volumes of stories, including Soldiers Three (1888) and Wee Willie Winkie (1888).At twenty-four he returned to England and quickly tuned into a literary celebrity. In London he became close friends with an American, (Charles) Wolcott Balestier, with whom he collaborated on what critics called a "dime store novel." Wolcott died suddenly in 1891, and a few weeks later Kipling married Wolcott's sister, Caroline. The newlyweds settled in Brattleboro, Vermont, where Kipling wrote The Jungle Book (1895), and most of Captains Courageous (1897). By this time Kipling's popularity and financial success were enormous.In 1899 the Kipling's settled in Sussex, England, where he wrote some of his best books: Kim (1901), Just So Stories (1902), and Puck of Pooks Hill (1906). In 1907 he received the Nobel Prize for literature. By the time he died, on January 18 1936, critical opinion was deeply divided about his writings, but his books continued to be read by thousands, and such unforgettable poems and stories as "Gunga Din," "If," "The Man Who Would Be King," and "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi" have lived on in the consciousness of succeeding generations.
Gr 4-8‘The law of the jungle‘intense competition for one's niche‘seems to apply to The Jungle Book, judging from the numerous editions jostling on the bookseller's shelf. The centenary of publication is the justification given for this avatar: but fortunately, it needs no excuse. All the Mowgli stories, and the perennial ``Rikki-tikki-tavi,'' appear to glorious advantage in a handsome format. A manageable size, creamy paper, a clear typeface, and generous margins are as inviting as the 17 masterly full-page watercolors. They are beautifully composed, balanced but not static, freely handled but without any loss of clarity. Mowgli and the animals are characterized rather than idealized. Color and texture are subtle but lush. These contrasts perfectly complement the tension between order and ``the jungle'' evoked in Kipling's text. If survival of the fittest indeed applies to publishing, this edition should have a long life.‘Patricia (Dooley) Lothrop Green, St. George's School, Newport, RI