Monica Edinger's Reviews > Just So Stories

Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling
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's review
Sep 03, 2007

it was amazing
bookshelves: childrensliterature, classic

I love, love, love these. I spent two years happily illustrating "The Elephant's Child" while in Sierra Leone. I love the writing, the cadence, the wit and humor.

But, I do have to warn new readers that there is language that can cause concern to many today. I suggested to a new fourth grade teacher that she do a unit on these and she came to me and showed me the word n-word in one of them. We then took a look at several editions and saw that it was edited out in some of them. But it spoiled the stories for her, sadly, and she is now not going to do the unit.


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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Tom (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tom Illustrating "The Elephant's Child" strikes me as one of those lifetime ambitions one would always dream about but probably not fulfill. How wonderful for you, Monica! Pray tell, where might one view this new illustrated edition?

Nikki I don't understand that. At the time Kipling was writing, "nigger" was not an unacceptable word, so I don't understand why his use of the word should "ruin" the stories. In his stories the people are all people, all humans, treated with equal respect. Surely it's more harmful to hide the old common use of the word "nigger" from children than to actually explain it to them?

Monica Edinger For a young African-American teacher today teaching African-American nine year-olds the word made her very uncomfortable. I can certainly understand that.

Nikki Hmm, I still think it's taking being politically correct a bit too far, but I sort of see what you mean. Personally, if I were in the same situation (e.g. if I were a teacher, and I came across the word faggot or dyke or something we now consider derogatory towards gay people that wasn't written with that intent), I would rather teach the unit, explain the use of the word, and point out that at that time that was just a word to some people and the author actually treated his characters no different for it. But of course, that's just me and I can see how a teacher would find it a difficult subject to approach with nine year olds.

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