Just So Stories

One of my hobbies is reading for Librivox. I’ve just finished what (I think) is the first/only complete audio book of Kipling’s Just So Stories to contain not only the stories, poems, and picture descriptions, but also the 13th story (see below). I have also written a blurb for the book. Can any one suggest things I should say I have left out, or things I could say better. The goal of the blurb is to encourage people who may enjoy the stories to download them but allow others to save their time ;)
Here’s the blurb (I really would appreciate criticism, as I am not used to writing this sort of text ;O

This recording of the Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling includes not only the twelve stories most often published under this title (from the original British first edition) but also “The Tabu Tale” a thirteenth story (that was included in the first US edition). It also includes Kipling’s descriptions of the pictures he drew for the book. These pictures can be found in a PDF file to accompany each chapter (the file has its own page on Archive.org). This is the first complete audio book to contain all thirteen Just So Stories and the picture descriptions.

The Just So Stories for Little Children are among Kipling’s best known and loved works. The Nobel prize-winning author’s enjoyment in playing with the sounds and meanings of words are very evident throughout, and add to adults’ enjoyment of these stories for children. This playfulness is also dramatically present in the plotting. For both reasons these stories been loved by generations of both children and adults. Because the writing plays with sound and meaning they are best enjoyed when read aloud.

As we all are, Kipling was a child of his time and social setting, so for example in “How the Leopard Got his Spots” he uses what one recent reviewer called “the N word” to refer to the Ethiopian. Each listener will need to both examine critically Kipling’s attitudes, and their own.

Twelve of these stories were first published together in 1902 (and in 1903 in the US edition all thirteen were collected) but have been presented in various other ways since. They have hardly (if at all) been out of print since. The Kipling Society publishes an excellent freely available online edition with a good set of notes on the text.

The stories are fanciful, and not intended to offer historical, scientific or religious accounts of the way things became. They are simply and exquisitely stories to enjoy.

So please enjoy them in this reading. (Introduction by Tim Bulkeley)

Note: there is a fourteenth story, “Ham and the Porcupine“, it was published in 1935 and was the last story Kipling wrote, it perhaps lacks the verve and wordplay of the others, and has only rarely been collected with them.

4 comments on “Just So Stories

  1. Andrea Candy

    A little bit of proofreading, (see below) but otherwise a very nice blurb.

    The Nobel prize-winning author’s enjoyment in playing with the sounds and meanings of words is very evident throughout, and add to adults’ enjoyment of these stories for children. This playfulness is also dramatically present in the plotting. For both reasons these stories have been loved by generations of children and adults alike. Because the writing plays with sound and meaning these stories are best enjoyed when read aloud….Each listener will need to examine critically Kipling’s attitudes as well as their own…(the 1903 US edition collected all thirteen)… Note: There is a fourteenth story, “Ham and the Porcupine“, published in 1935. As the last story Kipling wrote, it perhaps lacks the verve and wordplay of the others and has only rarely been collected together with them.

  2. Judy Redman

    Tim, I would change the order of the paragraphs, because I think that most people will want to find out what the stories are about before they find out about their publication history. I would start with the second para and then the third, then put in what is currently the first. When it and the fourth para are in close proximity, you may find that you can cut out a few words, although I’m not sure without reading it all together.

  3. tim

    Thanks, Judy :) This is really helpful, with your and Andrea’s comments here, and those on Librivox as well, it will be a much better description in the end!

    Anyone else with comments?