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Just So Stories

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  43,386 ratings  ·  1,258 reviews
These twelve magical tales tell, among other things, how the camel got his hump, the leopard his spots, the elephant his trunk, how the alphabet was made and how a butterfly caused mayhem at the court of King Solomon when he stamped. The Just So Stories are one of the enduring classics of children's literature, not only for their wit, enchantment and language but also for ...more
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published August 23rd 2016 by Macmillan Collector's Library (first published 1902)
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Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all) No, indeed. His first book of stories, "Plain Tales from the Hills" was published in 1888. This book was published in 1902, and he had published quite…moreNo, indeed. His first book of stories, "Plain Tales from the Hills" was published in 1888. This book was published in 1902, and he had published quite a lot in between.(less)
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Average rating 4.09  · 
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Manny
How The Kipling Got His Reputation

Once upon a time, Best Beloved, when the world was middle-aged and good Queen Victoria sat on the throne, there was a Kipling. And even though he constantly had to carry around a White Man's Burden (an object, by the way, which he had invented himself, and very proud he was of it too), he was as happy as the day is long. And he would often stop for a moment, and sing a little song he'd written, which began
Mamma Pajama rolled out of bed and ran to the po-lice
...more
Bionic Jean
Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories, originally published in 1902, are perennial favourites, and can be read by adults and children alike. They are known as "pourquoi" stories; in this case fantasies about the origin of individual wild animals who live in different countries. The seed of the idea lies in the story "How Fear Came," within Rudyard Kipling's "Second Jungle Book" of 1895, when Mowgli hears the story of how the tiger got his stripes. It is possible this gave the author the idea for a ...more
Brad
What an infuriating book. I don't know what infuriates me more: that Kipling was a racist imperialist colonizer who believed firmly in white superiority and conveyed that in every word of these stories; or that Kipling is such a marvelous writer of the English language.

Kipling the colonizer, imperialist, racist, supremicist, had no trouble at all mugging the oral traditions of the peoples his people colonized to tell his "Just So Stories" to his Best Beloved. No trouble at all mimicking their
...more
Martin
The Just So Stories

I was introduced to these stories at a age so early that I cannot remember when.

Later I would re-read these stories along with the Jungle Book stories, which made Kipling famous.

"How the Elephant got his truck" is his best.

I laughed when the Elephant's Child asked his relatives what the crocodile has for dinner and got spanked by them.

However I was worried when he actually met the crocodile, who bit his nose and began pulling him into the river.

The Just So Stories are good to
...more
Michael Finocchiaro
All these tales are like Aesop's fables about how various animals got their characteristic features. They are beautiful short tales - most likely derived from folk legends that Kipling heard during his time in Africa and India - but still full of humour and subtle wisdom. Unlike Kim, his pro-empire attitude does not really pollute the innocent atmosphere of these wonderful stories.
Dannii Elle
This was an adorably sweet collection of stories, aimed at younger readers and all centring around the themes of animals. Whilst not scientifically correct in the least, this offered the reader a series of fun anecdotes about how various different animals got their defining features, such as a leopard and his spots and an elephant with his trunk.

My main source of enjoyment with this book came from its amusing usage of language. Alliterative terms, onomatopoeic phrases, odd pairings of words, and
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Nick
Dec 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These stories were funny, imaginative, and well written. I have read several reviews that talk about Kipling being Imperialistic, condescending, and a host of other distasteful names. But here's the deal...he wrote these tales in different times and they were written for his children. I think such judgments might be slightly anachronistic; however, I do think Kipling says some things that are grating to our modern ears and sentiments. I wasn't getting the whole "white man's burden" vibe that ...more
Nandakishore Varma
Sep 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic
OK, he's a racist blackguard, but Kipling does write beautifully. This was his first book I read in the original and I loved every bit of it - the stories and the pictures. Since I was too young to understand the latent racism (and there's so much of it in here, apparently) when I read it, and I have not reread it since, I will rate it based on my original reading experience - five golden stars.
Tom
Aug 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book that made me fall in love with storytelling. I still have my mother's hardbound edition, with marvelous color plates, published in the 20s. Kipling may have been a romantic apologist for the British Empire, but the man knew how to weave a spell in children's stories, and he can be quite playful and inventive with language. Just read the first line of any number of stories and you'll immediately understand his timeless appeal. My favorites are from The Cat that Walked by Himself -- "Here ...more
Nadin Adel
Nov 23, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
They always say: "Never give a child a book you won't read for yourself" and I agree. I will be reviewing as long as I go through this book, so here we are:

>> How the Camel Got his Hump?
A dreadful tale about a camel who is lazy that as a result, a genie makes humps for the camel, end of story. This is dreadful for a number of reasons:

1- The camel has those humps which are a miracle in its essence. The camels use it to feed and nourish because they are meant to live in harsh environments

...more
J.G. Keely
Beautiful and wonderful. Works of genius by a man who freed himself enough that he could give himself up to that genius instead of trying to make sure that it came out perfectly. As pleasing as his other works are, none I've read can match the joy, humor, simplicity, and odd truth of these.

Like children's literature should be, these stories never lose their humor or punch. Despite some redundancy with actual myths and some cases of artificially lowering complexity for children and hence growing
...more
Amanda
Mar 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved all the stories, but my personal favorite was about Elephant's Child. Sometimes 'satiable curiosity doesn't kill you; it gets you a very practical appendage with which you can spank your bossy Relatives and hove them into a wasp's nest. And let's face it, O Best Beloved, we've all had that impulse.
Amanda
While I didn't love all the messages of these stories, on the whole there were delightful. I loved the illustrations and their explanations and how every story ended with a poem. The writing style was so much fun and is amazing to read aloud. This was such a pleasant surprise!
Jamie Collins
Sep 05, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These are such fun to read out loud, and I particularly like the descriptions of the illustrations.

My favorites are:

"How the Whale Got His Throat", featuring the small 'Stute Fish and the mariner of infinite-resource-and-sagacity wearing his suspenders (which you must not forget, Best Beloved).

"The Elephant's Child", who was full of 'satiable curiosity and who escapes from the croccodile with the aid of the Bi-Coloured Python Rock Snake on the banks of the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River.
Luisa Knight
This book is quoted and mentioned so often in other children's classics that I figured I better read it quickly before someone pulled the trump card on me: "Oh, so you review children's books but haven't read 'Just So Stories.' My, my."

Of course I don't know of anyone that would do that, but I really did want to read it. I'm glad I did.

It is my first book of Kipling's to read and at least with this book, I found his humor delightful. His creativity is both clever and hilarious. At times,
...more
Yousra Ouail
Rudyard Kipling was such a racist imperialist colonizer, that was easily shown through his writing without any camouflage. really and that was to be fed to little infants as to teach children falsehood about how animals acquired some of their features. as if animals had to bear their sins and mistakes for the upcoming generation whilst God/nature gave them that specific appearance in order to survive.
racism, sexism and too many mischievous elements that can play with children's minds and
...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
That mesmerizing rhythmic bumpity-bump of words, a song (almost), the lure of the storyteller, one extraordinary ordinary thing next to another extraordinary ordinary thing, a line of events unexpected yet just right, silly and serious---that's Just So Stories.
Sidharth Vardhan
Okay, I just have a weakness for children's's stories.
Jonathan Roberts
Just so stories
Written and Illustrated by Rudyard Kipling
The ‘Just So Stories’ are a collection of eccentric myths that Kipling created to tell to his children. There are twelve in total: most of which are fanciful revelations of how certain animals came to possess their distinguishing features. The characters are humorous and archetypal and most of the tales offer some affectionate caution and insight into the consequences of indulging those sinful traits such as sloth, greed and envy.
The
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Tweedledum
How the elephant got his trunk was one of my favourite bedtime stories as a child and I was fortunate in having a parent who never tired of reading it. "The great grey greasy Limpopo river all set about with fever trees " created one of my earliest images of Afica and filled me with longing to visit.
Kipling was a master storyteller who knew exactly how to capture a child's imagination. As the elephant makes his leisurely way in search of the crocodile, leaving his grumpy and incurious relatives
...more
Natalie Vellacott
"So that's all right, Best Beloved. Do you see?"

Um....not really.

If you've ever wondered how the whale got his throat, (I'm not sure there any many people wondering about this), how the camel got his hump (perhaps, more likely), how the rhinocerous got his skin or how the leopard got his spots. Then, you might be amused by these unlikely explanations.

My favourite is the one about the tortoise, hedgehog, and baby painted jaguar resulting in an armadillo. Intrigued?

I'm not sure why this
...more
Zaz
A nice batch of short stories around animals.

At a scientific level, most of the origin stories were horrific, I always have mixed feelings about these kinds of things, some young kids could think they are true. At a fantasy level, the stories were nice with animals, morals, powerful gods, etc. I think I enjoyed the most the one about the crab (especially the last lines) et the one with the cat, the others didn't really grab my attention.
Emilie Emzbooksandco
I loved reading these little stories! They were really cute, and eventhough I liked some way more than others, I really enjoyed my reading!
Morgan
More like Just So-So Stories. I didn't care for this book much. I was expecting stories instead of this is how this animal got this trait (forget the actual name for those books).
Alexander
Apr 16, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: quarter-3
For me, Just So Stories was extremely boring. i do appreciate the creativity and the originality of each story though. the main reason that i did not enjoy the book was because the stories were told in a very uninteresting way. the language used was very dull and it did not help in grabbing my attention.

as you can tell by the title, this book talks about why animals do certain things that they do or why they look a certain way. i thought it would be interesting to read about how a leopard got
...more
Hana
Aug 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An all time favorite. It begs to be read alive for the rhythm and poetry and the marvelous word-play. If you have no children to read it to it's time to volunteer at your library! I'm hard-pressed to pick a favorite story, but I'll go with the Elephant's Child because like him my besetting sin is insatiable curiosity. I love the part about the 'Great grey green greasy Limpopo River all set about with fever trees..." but I've also learned enough about crocodiles to avoid putting my nose in danger ...more
Jemima Ravenclaw
I was under the impression that I had never read these books; but somewhere in my childhood, at least a few of them had definitely been told to me as they greeted me like familiar friends. I absolutely loved the format and style of these retellings of Origin Stories from around the world. The poetic form and unique language was captivating. I wish I had read them as an adult, early enough to read them to my own children, but now I am afraid I will have to wait until my grandchildren start to ...more
Peacegal
Jun 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was enjoyable and fun to hear the irreplaceable Boris Karloff as the narrator of this collection of classic little stories. Kipling enjoyed engaging in the nonsense chatter and wordplay that you will find in sources ranging from Lewis Carroll to Stanley Unwin.
Cheryl
Jan 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love the edition illustrated by Helen Ward. Only complaint? Not enough pictures! But the stories themselves are still fun to read, O Best Beloved. If there are traces of the imperialism that makes Kipling's other works problematic, I don't see them.
Rachel Joy
Apr 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What an absolutely delightful collection of stories!

I listened to this book as read by Geoffrey Palmer, a British actor, who will have you laughing out loud as you find out where the alphabet came from and why the elephant has such a long trunk.

Simply wonderful!
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Goodreads Librari...: better cover for OUP Just so stories 2 14 Feb 05, 2017 08:01AM  
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2015 Reading Chal...: Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling 6 36 Apr 11, 2015 07:00PM  
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What are the eight stories? 1 2 Apr 24, 2014 10:23AM  

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Joseph Rudyard Kipling was a journalist, short-story writer, poet, and novelist.

Kipling's works of fiction include The Jungle Book (1894), Kim (1901), and many short stories, including The Man Who Would Be King (1888). His poems include Mandalay (1890), Gunga Din (1890), The Gods of the Copybook Headings (1919), The White Man's Burden (1899), and If— (1910). He is regarded as a major innovator in
...more
“Of course the Man was wild too. He was dreadfully wild. He didn't even begin to be tame till he met the Woman, and she told him that she did not like living in his wild ways. She picked out a nice dry Cave, instead of a heap of wet leaves, to lie down in; and she strewed clean sand on the floor; and she lit a nice fire of wood at the back of the Cave; and she hung a dried wild-horse skin, tail down, across the opening of the Cave; and she said, 'Wipe your feet, dear, when you come in, and now we'll keep house.” 34 likes
“Hear and attend and listen; for this befell and behappened and became and was: O my Best Beloved, when the tame animals were wild.” 11 likes
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