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Kipling, Rudyard.

Illustrated by Matt Gould. Toronto, Oxford University Press, 1987. 42pp, paper, $7.95, ISBN 0-19-540584-6. CIP

Grades 4 to 6
Reviewed by Jane Robinson

Volume 16 Number 1
1988 January

Kipling's text and its effect on the reader/listener remain intact in this 1987 edition of Rikki-Tikki-Tavi. It is exciting, colourful and enriching, a classic acclaimed by more than a few treasuries of children's books. Unfortunately, Matt Gould's illustrations are in direct contrast with the magic worked by Kipling's words. The full-page illustrations are obscure, drab and do not equal in intensity the drama of ". . .the story of the great war that Rikki-Tikki-Tavi fought single-handed. . .," a fearless mongoose pitted against frightening cobras.

Each double-page spread has a captioned crawing on one side and text on the other. Printed only in black and mustard-yellow and heavily shaded, it becomes difficult in many of the drawings to distinguish either the action or the characters. Adding to this difficulty is the inappropriate placing of many of the illustrations. It is considered very important in children's books that picture match text on any given page. And although the lay-out in this book is such that this should be easily done, the reader too often finds illustrations on one page that depict text from a previous page.

Hopefully, there is at least one version of Rikki-Tikki-Tavi in your collection already. If not, there are other paperback editions of this classic tale available which could be considered.

Jane Robinson, Greenway E.S., Winnipeg, Man.
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