A 19th-century English family - discovers a young mongoose half drowned from a flood. They revive it and decide to keep it as a pet. The young mongoose, named Rikki Tikki Tavi, finds himself confronted by two dangerous king cobras, Nag and his even more dangerous wife Nagaina, who had the run of the garden while the house was unoccupied.
With this newly illustrated edition of the treasured classic--written in the 1890s as part of the Jungle Books --readers can once again be captivated by the tale of a mongoose who is taken in by a family of British colonials living in India. Although a few Victorianisms in the text will need to be explained to young readers, the story has held up remarkably well over a century's time. Rikki's fight to defend his family from the menacing cobras Nag and Nagaina remains as suspenseful and emotive as ever. The creatures of the Indian garden come truly alive in Kipling's expert prose--the birds sing out messages of joy and warning; the cobra rears and spreads his sinister hood; the brave mongoose leaps and springs, victorious at last. In Davis's ( The Jolly Mon ; Trouble Dolls ) acrylic paintings, dominated by the greens of the garden and the browns of the earth, readers can clearly see the nut-colored mongoose, his adoptive family in their period dress and the slithering snakes. However, the artist's style and chosen medium produce a somewhat flat, torpid appearance. Razor-sharp writing with rather dull artistic accompaniment. Ages 6-up.