The first time I read "The Jungle Book" I was appalled by how far it was from the Disneyfied version I had expected it to be. I couldn't seem to wrap my mind around it and separate the long-held associations between the book and the movie - so I just gave up. Simple as that.
Upon reading it now several years later, I can finally appreciate the book for what it really is: a beautiful fragment of childhood-fantasies and adventures, intertwined with a very vivid cultural glimpse of Kipling's beloved India; a place where elephants sneak off in the middle of the night to dance in moonlit ballrooms or where boys are raised and taught by bears and wolves. There's a feeling of undefined magic in the mere thought of these occurrences, which will surely captivate any child.
This time I found a more sincere depth in the famous tale of the jungle boy Mowgli as he was struggling to find his identity caught between civilization and nature. There was a sense of despair in his longing towards a home and a permanent place in the world.
However it was the story of Rikki-Tikki-Tavi that truly won my heart. It had a beautiful morale in it, urging the reader to trust themselves and their instincts and have faith in the importance of friendship.