Author: Rudyard Kipling
Artist: Jerry Pinkney
Genre: Gardening / Family / Animals / Snakes / Adventure
Year Published: 1997
Year Read: 2014
Publisher: Morrow Junior Books
Content Rating: Ages 7+ (Some Scary Scenes)
Now, I have actually gotten into the story of “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi” when I was little through Chuck Jones’ classic cartoon and I must say that I still enjoyed that cartoon to this very day. So, when I finally picked up this book of “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi,” which this version has illustrations by none other than Jerry Pinkney, I was absolutely blown away by how faithful this story was to the original tale and to the Chuck Jones cartoon!
The story starts off with a small mongoose named Rikki-Tikki-Tavi being found by an English family living in India after he was washed away from his home when a summer flood hits. It was then that Rikki-Tikki-Tavi found a new home with this English family and became a close companion with the family’s son, Teddy. But, when Rikki-Tikki-Tavi discovers that there were two snakes named Nag and Nagaina in the garden and that they were planning on killing the entire English family in order to take over the garden for themselves, Rikki-Tikki-Tavi will do anything to protect the English family from the clutches of Nag and Nagaina!
I have always enjoyed the story of “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi” ever since I was a child and reading this classic tale that has illustrations by Jerry Pinkney definitely added more depth to this story than what I was usually used to. Rudyard Kipling has done a brilliant job at writing this story as this story is full of adventure, intense moments and heartwarming moments, especially the moments shared between Rikki-Tikki-Tavi and the English family as it shows that Rikki-Tikki-Tavi truly does care about the family and is willing to do anything to protect them from harm. I also loved how villainous both Nag and Nagaina are as their plan to kill off the entire family to take over the garden was truly vicious and it showed how far they were willing to go to take the garden for themselves. Jerry Pinkney’s artwork is as usual gorgeous to look at as all of the characters look truly realistic, especially of the images of the English family and Rikki-Tikki-Tavi as they really bring out so much realism to this story.
Parents should know that there are some scary moments in this book, especially concerning Nag and Nagaina and their plan in killing off the entire family to take over the garden. Children who are scared of snakes in general might feel a bit uncomfortable in reading this book, especially since the images of the snakes look pretty realistic and the fact that they keep threatening the family would scare small children.
Overall, “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi” is a truly remarkable tale for anyone who is a huge fan of Rudyard Kipling’s works and who loves reading books about India and mongooses! I would recommend this book to children ages seven and up since the scenes with the snakes might be too frightening for some children and the length of the book might be too tiresome for some small children.