CM . . .
. Volume XX Number 6. . . .October 11, 2013
These deliciously exaggerated and fanciful stories pretend to explain the origins of various natural phenomena. Written by the famed Rudyard Kipling, they were first published as the Just So Stories in 1902, three years after the tragic death of one of Kipling’s daughters for whom he had created them as bed-time stories to be told "Just So." The first volume in this new edition includes How the Whale Got His Throat, How the Camel Got His Hump, How the Rhinoceros Got His Skin, How the Leopard Got His Spots, The Elephant's Child and The Sing-Song of Old Man Kangaroo. The remainder will appear in a second volume in 2014.
Wallace, a well-known award-winning illustrator, has masterfully captured and intensified the power of Kipling's creations with his own impressive illustrations. Four media (watercolour, pencil crayon, pastel pencil and chalk ) are used in various combinations with a predominant colour for each story depending on the environmental setting of the tale. Mainly full page plates and occasional horizontal landscapes, the pictures are rich and as magically fanciful as the stories themselves, full of details that enhance the whimsy and playfulness of the yarns. Charming motifs that open and close each chapter were inspired by decoration seen by the artist on a leather trunk owned by Kipling. In an enriching addendum, the illustrator describes how the stories became meaningful to him, as well as his thought processes, in determining the style of illustration to be used for each very different tale.
Aileen Wortley is a retired librarian from Toronto, ON.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.