Rich retelling in the spirit of the original
Mowgli is part of a series of legendary characters that many people know and love. The man cub dressed in a red loincloth is an icon. He ultimately owes his immortality to the sense of adventure and the imaginative language of Rudyard Kipling, as seen once again in this beautiful new adaptation of The Jungle Book (1894).
Taking ‘forget the films that have been made of The Jungle Book’ as his guideline, Daan Remmerts de Vries has written a sparkling text without detracting from the soul of Kipling’s familiar story about a human child who is brought up by a pair of wolves and by his friends, Baloo the bear and Bagheera the black panther.
The spirited illustrations by Mark Janssen, who has created truly convincing animal portraits, particularly of the killer tiger Shere Khan, evoke a real sense of the jungle.
This adaptation has sensed that the original story is in essence about a growing child who, because he lives with animals, is confronted with the beauty, harshness and freedom of nature, and the universal question of what it means to be human. Mowgli, for example, discovers early on that humans are ‘shaky and helpless’, but Bagheera tells him that ‘they can still do terrible things’. How do you deal with that?
Remmerts de Vries’s Mowgli is touchingly believable and human. This makes his exciting adventure unforgettable.