Mowgli, left in the jungle as an infant, is taken, by Bagheera the panther, to a wolf family's den to be raised. The animals are his friends and he learns from them until, suddenly, Shere Khan returns to the jungle. Like all tigers, Shere Khan hates man - and Mowgli, now ten, is a "man". His friends work to convince him to leave the jungle, but Mowgli doesn't want to go, facing various dangers to stay in the place he knows as his home. Until, that is, he sees a young human girl singing at the water and follows her home to her village.
ISBN 0785395458 - 5 stars - Once again, a Disney edition that's different from the others in the details it includes; Kate Hannigan's version goes much more into Mowgli's attempts to stay in the jungle and the animals he comes into contact with. Kaa, the snake, attempts twice to kill the boy, Mowgli attempts to blend in with the elephants until Colonel Hathi discovers him, Mowgli's still kidnapped by monkeys and rescued by Bagheera and Baloo but that part is played down a bit and, finally, he chases Shere Khan from the jungle forever. For action and excitement, this version beats out the other two, by far.
ISBN 0717283364 - 5 stars - My faith in Disney is restored. Having just reviewed another Disney edition of this book Disney's the Jungle Book (Little Golden Book) that was a small letdown, I'm thrilled to find Disney really is as good as I think. Disney's illustrations in all three editions are worthy of 5 stars, but the text is much better in this one than 0307003264. Without being excessively wordy, this edition goes into more detail, not leaving out important details (in ISBN 0307003264, Mowgli's adoptive wolf mother doesn't even say a word when the pack votes to send him away, for example). The pace is a little slower here, allowing the story to feel far less hurried. Disney's Wonderful World of Reading series are, indeed, wonderful - a set no child's library is complete without - and the added bonus of introducing your child to Kipling early in their life is just the icing on the cake.
ISBN 0307003264 - 4 stars - I have had my illusions shattered by this edition of this book! Believing that Disney books are, essentially, flawless, I'm sad to report that this one doesn't quite reach the high standards of most others. Young fans of the Disney film might enjoy this book, but if this is your first introduction to the story, it's a good one but not a great one. The story, compacted to fit Golden Books' standard 24 pages, feels like it's missing far too much in an attempt to hit just the highlights. From the moment he is "sent away", Mowgli is kidnapped by and rescued from monkeys, and assaulted by and scares off Shere Khan - all of which seems to take place in an amazingly short time span. The illustrations, however, are definitely stellar Disney. Bright and colorful, they depict the action in the story perfectly, from the jungle itself to the facial expressions of everyone in it. As a way to bring Kipling's classic series The Jungle Books (Signet Classics) into your child's life, this is a nice route to take, just lacks in detail.