Rikki-Tikki-Tavi

 rikki tikki tavi cover by monica mcclain

rikki tikki tavi cover by monica mcclain

Note: The main reason I'm even reviewing this particularly short story is because 1) it was a free download on Amazon Kindle and 2) I love adding photos to my posts, and I found some beautiful artwork by the lovely Monica McClain, who was kind enough to allow me to include her work. :)

This is a well-known and repeatedly published short story from The Jungle Book. It's a story I read as a girl in a collection of children's tales from some anthology that my grandparents happened to own, and it was a story my mother often referenced in conversation when she talked about snakes (reptiles were a point of bonding between my mother and I; she'd owned several snakes in her lifetime). Rikki-Tikki-Tavi follows the story of a valiant mongoose who, after being separated from his mongoose family, takes up residence in the garden of a bungalow and decides to defend it against cobras, which is the job of any respectable and honorable mongoose. His name comes from his war-cry: Rik-tik-tikki-tikki-tik.

 rikki tikki tavi struggle by monica mcclain

rikki tikki tavi struggle by monica mcclain

I've always found tales like this interesting because of the tone. It's part-story, part-fable, and has an air of lecture about it. What the moral is, I can't say. If ever you find yourself a mongoose, be sure to keep your garden clear of cobras? Be kind of small animals, because they may protect your family from venomous snakes? I have no idea. But the writing comes from a different era, a different time, and you can see it in the dialogue, in the way the story is structured, in the very language used on a sentence level.

Also, it's a short story. And we all know how much of a sucker I am for those...

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About the Artist: Monica McClain
from her website

She is an illustrator and graphic designer with a wide home base. She was born and raised in Los Angeles, attended college in Missouri, studied in Italy for several months, lived in Northern Virginia for three years, and now resides in Queens, New York. No matter where she is, she observes culture and uses it to influence what she creates. She loves learning about and discovering new points of view, and she strives to convey that sense of discovery through her work. She has a special passion for folk tales and mythology and enjoys the challenge of interpreting them visually.