Publisher's Note:  

Once upon a time, O my Best Beloved . . . So begins this classic collection of gloriously fanciful tales of how things in the world came to be as they are. This collection includes the story of how the lazy camel found himself with a hump and how the insatiable curiosity of the elephant earned him his long trunk. It reveals how the whale was given a throat, and why every rhinoceros has great folds in his skin and a very bad temper. We also find out about the cunning cat that walked by itself, and how clever little Taffy and her Daddy Tegumai made the first alphabet. Rudyard Kipling first entertained his own children with these delightful, warm, and humorous stories, which he later wrote down for publication in 1902. Conjuring up distant lands and exotic jungles, they are bewitching for both children and adults. This sumptuous volume offers the complete and unabridged text, including the often-missing 13th story, "The Tabu Tal," which Kipling added for the American edition in 1903.

Just So Stories

by Rudyard Kipling

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Overall Review:  

There’s not just the Elephant’s Child and the Leopard with his spots, there’s the Camel who says "humph" once too often, the Kangaroo who wants to be "truly sought after," the Stickly-Prickly Hedgehog and his friend Slow –Solid Tortoise, and the grumpy Rhinoceros.

Filled with word-plays, sonorous names, repeated phrases, and memorable characters, these stories demand to be performed!  Whether you and your family already know and love these delightful stories or are encountering them for the first time, you’ll enjoy them in a whole new way with this audio recording by Boris Karloff.

Most of the stories are short and lively, but the word plays and Edwardian language may make them hard for tweens and young teens to read on their own.

Reading Level: 8.9, range 6.9-11.1

Of interest to boys and girls.

Some reviewers of the CD complain of the sound quality and find it too quiet for use in a car. It’s also an abridgment, leaving out the last five stories in the book—"How the First Letter was Written," "How the Alphabet was Made," "The Crab that Played with the Sea," "The Cat that Walked by Himself," and "The Butterfly that Stamped."

Also Suggested:  

I also enjoyed a sample of the unabridged audio recording by Geoffrey Palmer available at, and, of course, there's always the book itself: Just So Stories, here with illustrations by the author.

This review has been acquired and adapted from

Content Analysis:  

This review was acquired from on May 15, 2014 and was not completed using Compass Book Ratings’ standardized checklist.  Nevertheless, it contains useful content information which is included here.  The overall number ratings have been approximated based on this information.

How the Whale Got his Throat: Whale swallows Mariner—but can "never eat men or boys or little girls" anymore. How the Rhinoceros Got his Skin: illustration shows "ships that got wrecked going down the Red Sea." How the Leopard Got his Spots: Leopard surprises animals "out of their jumpsome lives"; Ethopian and Leopard eat "rats and beetles and rock-rabbits" when the big game leaves. The Elephant’s Child: Elephant’s Child gets spanked by all his aunts and uncles for his "curtiosity," especially for asking what Crocodile has for dinner; spanked by Python; Crocodile tells Elephant’s Child he’ll eat him, grabs his nose and pulls and pulls, stretching his nose, Elephant’s Child pulls back, Python helps; Python points out that Elephant’s Child can now spank people with his trunk, Elephant’s Child tries it on a hippo on his way home; knocks two brothers over, picks up uncle by one leg and throws him into "hornet’s nest," spanks the rest of his family "for a long time," pulls out Ostrich’s tail feathers, drags Giraffe "through a thorn bush"; yells at Hippopotamus, "blows bubbles in her ear." The Sing-song of Old Man Kangaroo: Kangaroo chased by Dingo, has to keep running. The Beginning of the Armadillo: young Jaguar eats frogs and beetles, his mother tells him "how to eat hedgehogs and tortoises," gets prickles in his paw from Hedgehog. How the First Letter Was Written: little girl’s name in the story means "Small-person-without-any-manners-who-ought-to-be-spanked," but she’s "not spanked half as much as was good for her"; mother and other ladies attack Stranger-man, sit on him, pull his hair, put mud in his hair, "thump him by twos and threes and tens," thinking he’s attacked father with spear, broken his arm. The Crab that Played with the Sea: Eldest Magician threatens crab that he’ll have man, elephant, crocodile attack him. The Cat that Walked by Himself: Man threatens to throw things at Cat, says he’ll throw three things at Cat when he sees him and so will all men after him; Dog says he’ll catch and bite Cat, chase Cat up a tree, and all Dogs after him. The Butterfly that Stamped: Some wives quarrel with each other and with Solomon.

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How the Leopard Got his Spots: mention of pipe and tobacco for daddy in verse at end.

Reviewed By CleanTeenReads
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