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Just So Stories

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  45,802 ratings  ·  1,371 reviews
Librarian's Note: Alternate cover edition can be found here.

Twelve stories about animals, insects, and other subjects include How the Camel Got His Hump. The Butterfly That Stamped, and How the Alphabet Was Made..
Hardcover, 210 pages
Published August 5th 2003 by Gramercy Books (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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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 sta
Feb 18, 2012 rated it did not like it
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 vo
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 w ...more
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
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
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. ...more
Jul 06, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've got a vague memory reading these short stories as a kid, a quick Google search also revealed an early 90's BBC animated series which looked familiar and probably the reason for owning thr book.

Out of the 12 stories in the collection, my favourites were the ones that I had the strongest recollections.
Like how the workshy Camel got his hump and a baby Elephant developt a trunk.
These stories are so quirky and memorable!

Coincidentally the strongest stories are in the first half of the collectio
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 som ...more
Nandakishore Varma
Sep 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Aug 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Matthew Appleton
160th book of 2020.

Reading books at one point in our lives will always trigger a different feeling to reading it in another. I often wonder how many books I would despise, or love, if only I had read them a year later, or earlier, or in another country, or right at home. In a sense, the Goodreads 5-star system is flawed completely, because there is too much to take into account. I think even discussing a book can take too long: to discuss the writing, the book's merit, the writer, where we were,
Just So Stories were my favorite bedtime stories. . . I like origin stories, where things started, why they are the way they are. . . .when my Christian parents made sure to replace these stories with the bible version of where these animals came from, I was dismayed. I liked Mr. Kipling's reasons rather than the overall "God made 'em", no further detail provided on the other side. In my secret heart of hearts I still hold tighter to Mr. K.

I get that his world view is out of order now, and not
Nadin Adel
Nov 23, 2015 rated it did not like it
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 of sc

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
I think I enjoyed this book more than any other works by Kipling. The children's short stories were light, fun, imaginative, and entertaining. There was also a poem associated with each story - I liked these as well. Simple rhymes and tempos. Good stuff.

There were, of course, moments where I went "so at the time this was considered appropriate for children, huh?". For instance, there was a story about a child elephant that asks his relatives innocent questions, and each beats him up hard instea
Mar 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
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! ...more
Jim Cooper
Read this for the first time since I was a kid, when I received it as a gift from my aunt and uncle.

Kipling published this in 1902 in honor of his daughter who had died the year before, and who he had originally written the stories for. You can see versions of her spread throughout this book.

My favorite stories were “How the Whale Got His Throat,” and “The Cat That Walked By Himself.”
Jamie Collins
Sep 05, 2007 rated it really liked it
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.
I am a Kipling fan. There, I said it. Today it is not a good thing to say that, but I don't care. Revisionists be damned.

However, I just couldn't get into the stories here, which really aren't all that bad. They are clever and fun, to be certain. In particular, I loved How The Leopard Got His Spots and The Beginning Of The Armadillos. True to life was The Elephant's Child, reminding me of the baby elephants I always see at the zoos, endlessly driving their parents insane with their crazy antics.
Natalie Vellacott
Feb 11, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: childrens
"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 appea
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, thoug
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. ...more
Sidharth Vardhan
Okay, I just have a weakness for children's's stories. ...more
Jonathan Roberts
May 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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 origi
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
Julien-Pierre Campbell
This was one of those books I read on my phone. I have to say, I liked the silly little style it was written in, and some of the messages were good, but it was so racist and sexist I wanted to bring 'ol Rudyard back from his grave and murder him just to send him back. ...more
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!
Aug 04, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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). ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Please add cover 5 19 Jun 17, 2019 01:05AM  
Goodreads Librari...: better cover for OUP Just so stories 2 14 Feb 05, 2017 08:01AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Missing binding 5 16 Sep 22, 2015 02:16AM  
2015 Reading Chal...: Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling 6 37 Apr 11, 2015 07:00PM  
:-) 22 70 Dec 11, 2014 08:53AM  
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

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“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.” 35 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.” 13 likes
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