Panthers, Tigers, and Wolves REVIEWING The Jungle Book - The Strength of the Wolf is the Pack

 Welcome back to Magic Monday at The Real World According To Sam! Today's book is a movie novelization, retelling a classic story. 

The Jungle Book: The Strength of the Wolf is the Pack 

Author: Scott Peterson & Joshua Pruett
Genre: Children's Fantasy
Year: 2016

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"This is the law of the jungle, as old and as true as the sky..."

Mowgli has lived in the Jungle for as long as he can remember. Raised by a noble wolf pack and mentored by a wise panther called Bagheera, Mowgli enjoys the rich, vibrant world of the animals. And while at times it is clear he doesn't quite fit in, he could never imagine leaving it. 

But when a vengeful tiger makes a vow to remove the man-cub from the Jungle, Mowgli's world is turned upside down. With help from his new friend Baloo the bear, Mowgli finds himself on a journey to protect his animal family and himself -- a journey that could change things forever. 

Will the man-cub be able to find his place in the Jungle? 


So as I mentioned, this is a novelization of the 2016 movie The Jungle Book. It is a live-action remake of the animated classic film from 1967, which was based on the classic novel of the same name by Rudyard Kipling. This version of the story diverts from each version that came before it to tell the story differently. This retells the 2016 film from start to finish. 

The main thing I noticed about this particular novelization, is it's rather large. I've read several novelizations, junior and otherwise. Most novelizations for family/children's films are very short, thin, and light in weight. This isn't a very heavy book, but it is much heftier than I would've thought. This book is 324 pages long, which makes it the longest novelization I've seen for its target audience. Initially, due to its size and different title, I thought this might be a story that gave us some more background or focused more on Mowgli's life with the wolves, but that is not the case. It really is JUST the story within the movie. 

Now, that isn't inherently a bad thing. I actually really enjoyed reading this version of the story. Additionally, the original story by Rudyard Kipling has been analyzed and picked apart, and often is read with perspectives of it being very rooted in colonization. I'm not here to talk about that and I'm not here to talk about the original book. The story of Mowgli himself is a very interesting one in which a boy finds himself living in the jungle, is raised by animals, and has to figure out where he belongs. This book gets rid of all that extra historic context, and just gives you the core story of adventure and trying to find a home, a people, and a sense of belonging. 

The thing I liked most about this book was the descriptions. The Jungle is described in more detail in this book and I liked being able to pick up some new things as I read. For example, in the movie, you see the Jungle. You just see it and it looks awesome. The animals interact in a certain way, so you figure out how the order of things is, but that's all. With this book, you actually get to know some of the species of the trees and the animals that are less common. While I am familiar with most of the animals, I had never heard of the nilgai, which is a species of antelope in Asia. I'm much more familiar with species of Antelope in America and Africa, since these are the ones I have seen most. I am familiar with pangolins and civets, but I know a lot of kids might not be. This is a great way to introduce some ecological diversity to them. There are also banyan trees and peepal trees. I've heard of banyans, but not peepal, and now I can actually look them up and learn the visual difference for the next time I watch the movie. While this may not be a big deal to most readers, I really liked it. It's a small detail, but I think it is an important one for building up the world this story exists in. 

Everything else about this book is basically par for the course. There is more focus on Mowgli and his emotions. There is more detail regarding how he feels and what thoughts are going through his head at different points of the story. All the events are as they are in the movie, so there's really nothing too new. I did really enjoy having more of Mowgli's interior thoughts presented, since the movie is very visually reliant and you can't get in character's heads without voice-overs providing thoughts directly. 

Overall, this is a good novelization of the film. It's true to the events of the movie and the characters, while describing the world well enough. It also adds new details for readers who may be less familiar with jungle wildlife. It is decently long, so it will provide a solid amount of reading time for young readers. I do kind of wish this added even more to the story by providing things that weren't there, and expanding on the story of Mowgli and the Jungle, but it is still fun to read. I give The Jungle Book - The Strength of the Wolf is the Pack a Lone Star rating of ✯✯✯✯.

This concludes another review here at The Real World According To Sam, where I bring the books straight to your screen and even provide my own two cents about them.