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“In this concise and remarkable book . . . Batchelor guides us expertly . . . drawing on multiple sources and making intriguing connections between Kipling’s stories for children and for adults.”—John Carey, The Sunday Times
From "How the Leopard Got Its Spots" to "The Elephant’s Child," Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories have delighted readers across the world for more than a century. In this original study, John Batchelor explores the artistry with which Kipling created the Just So Stories, using each tale as an entry point into the writer’s life and work—including the tragedy that shadows much of the volume, the death of his daughter Josephine.
Batchelor details the playful challenges the stories made to contemporary society. In his stories Kipling played with biblical and other stories of creation and imagined fantastical tales of animals' development and man's discovery of literacy.
Richly illustrated with original drawings and family photographs, this account reveals Kipling’s public and private lives—and sheds new light on a much-loved and tremendously influential classic.
“A scrupulous and poignant account of how love and loss inspired the Just So Stories”—Kathryn Hughes, The Guardian
'John Batchelor is the perfect commentator on the Just so Stories: unobtrusive, knowledgeable, striking just the right balance between literary gossip and erudite illumination. He renews the delight of reading Kipling at his best.’—Alberto Manguel