Book Review: Just So Stories

This is my final review for the 2016 Back to the Classics Challenge hosted by Karen’s Books and Chocolate! I’ll have dscn5604my summary post up very shortly. It’s only December 28th, I’m not late yet 😀

Just So Stories is a collection of short stories written by Rudyard Kipling. Intended for children, these stories illustrate possible answers for the many “WHY?” questions small children love to throw around. Questions such as, why does the camel have a hump? Why does an elephant have a trunk? Where did armadillos come from? In all, the volume I have contains 12 stories. According to Wikipedia, I’m only missing 1 tale – The Tabu Tale, missing from most British editions. My version is copyright 1912 with beautiful full color illustrations by J. M. Gleeson.dscn5603

Some of the stories are better than others. I didn’t connect with the two about Taffy the cave girl developing writing. “The Butterfly that stamped” made me smile repeatedly. “The Beginning of Armadillos” was hilarious (poor baby jaguar!). Both “Camel” and “Crab” have strong themes of fitting into the role you belong in – doing the work you were meant to do for the good of everyone. And, oh! The accuracy of the “Cat who walked by himself”!

These aren’t meant to be serious, they’re a bit of fun from a father to his child. Kipling explained:

“in the evening there were stories meant to put Effie to sleep, and you were not allowed to alter those by one single little word. They had to be told just so; or Effie would wake up and put back the missing sentence. So at last they came to be like charms, all three of them,—the whale tale, the camel tale, and the rhinoceros tale.” (

And “Remember that, because it’s important!” You will get the most out of them if you keep them as the fun stories they were intended to be (although, we can all learn a lesson or two along the way!)

This is my entry for category 12, Short Stories. You can find the link up HERE.


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