Sunday, November 8, 2009

Escape from Disneyland

I just picked up the edition of The Jungle Book illustrated by Robert Ingpen for my sister's family. It came out a couple of years ago, but I'd never seen it. The illustrations are simply incredible. Realistic and detailed yet richly evocative, they convey the dignity of Kipling's characters that Disney so unforgivably robbed them of.

I'm sorry that so many kids (myself included) first encounter the clownish cartoon figures Disney created. They're amusing enough, but lack the depth and complexity -- and, yes, the brutality -- of the real story. I regret even more all the children who never read The Jungle Book because they believe they know the story from the movie.

Anyone who wants to introduce children to this classic would do well to choose this version. Ingpen (great interview with him here) has illustrated a number of other classics, which I intend to seek out after seeing his beautiful renditions of Mowgli and friends.