Before the days of television and internet, children still needed ways to be occupied. (Imagine being a babysitter without the instant availability of YouTube or Disney channel to keep the kids busy!) In a world with none of these modern conveniences, children turned to books as a primary source of entertainment. Rudyard Kipling’s Rikki Tikki Tavi is the essence of children’s literature: an action packed story filled with adventures and heroics.
Rikki-Tikki-Tavi is a lovable, loyal mongoose whose main occupation is to protect his beloved humans from the evils of the garden. Rikki-Tikki was adopted by the family as a young mongoose, and he is kept in the house to protect their young boy from the dangers of the rural Indian landscape- namely, the King Cobra. Nat and Nagaina, the cobra couple that rules the garden, are quite upset with the a arrival of the mongoose, a threat to their territory. And so, Kipling’s short novel is the story of how Rikki-Tikki-Tavi single-handedly defeats these evil snakes and brings peace to the garden.
The novel is very short, only about fifty pages, but is a captivating story nonetheless. It is truly children’s literature, with all the greatness of a novel packed in a simple language that even young children will understand. Being a story mostly about the “war” between Rikki-Tikki and the cobras, there is quite a lot of action in the book that some children may find frightening (violence is comparable to The Jungle Book, the movie based off of Kipling’s works). Parental discretion is advised; however, I highly recommend this book for children as well as adults.
It is a captivating story with lovable characters, a fascinating plot, and a smidgen of poetry to boot. I do not hesitate to say that Rikki Tikki Tavi is children’s literature at its finest.
Published on 23 May, 2014. Last updated on