The Jungle Books - Rudyard Kipling, Alev Lytle Croutier Mowgli and Baghira, Kaa and Balu...although I love Disney's adaptation, the cartoon movie is just this: a cartoon. This here is the adult version, with the animals being real, quite near royal personalities and Mowgli not a clueless child, but a real man, fierce, strong, singleminded and cruel like an animal but also as innocent as any of his non - human friends. But the Jungle Books are more than Mowgli's story. There is Sir Purun Dass, the Crown's high official who became a holy man for a small village's sake, there is Rikki - Tikki - Tavi, the fearless mungo, there is Iqik the Esquimaux and many other old friends, human and not, who accompanied me through my childhood and staffed my dreams. Seen across the colonial background it was written to, this book is amazingly unbiased; I can easily imagine the outcry it might have caused among consequential higher society back in the day.