Jungle Book

Jungle BookThe Jungle Book
By: Dan Johnson and Amit Tayal
Publisher: Campfire
Format: Softcover, 7 x 10, Full Color, $12.99
ISBN: 978-8-19075-154-4

Impressive! Campfire's adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book is like reuniting with a long lost friend. In fact, at this second meeting you may even realize you've missed this long lost friend more than you thought.  

So, despite our love for Disney and all other adaptations of The Jungle Book, Campfire's adaptation is perhaps the best. Here's why:

• You learn more about Kipling's authorial intent and purpose for writing The Jungle Book
• You get to follow Mowgli from childhood to adulthood
• You gain a better, more rich understanding of each of the main characters
• You get a better feeling of the depth of Mowgli's deep-rooted relationships with Baloo, Bagheera, Shere Khan, Akela, and Kaa
• Finally, perhaps surprisingly, you realize that Kaa is actually Mowgli's friend and protector

Approachable by readers of all ages this is my favorite Campfire graphic novel adaptation of a literary classic to date. Adding breadth and depth to what we may think we know about Kipling's The Jungle Book this adaptation has went to great lengths – both visually and verbally – to educate entertain, and inspire its readers. 

English Language Arts Elements of Story

Plot: raised by wolves and cared for by various other animals living in the jungle, a man-cub ("Mowgli") must figure out where he belongs

Setting: the jungle   

Major Characters: Mowgli, Baloo, Bagheera, Akela, the wolf family, Shere Khan, Kaa

Themes: Family, Loyalty, Identity, Coming of Age, Relationships, Nature

Literary Pairing Suggestions: Lord of the Flies by William Golding, Animal Farm by George Orwell, Charlotte's Web by E.B. White, The Jungle by Upton Sinclair, Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton, The Wonderful World of Oz by L. Frank Baum, Black Beauty by Anne Sewell, Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi

Some Teaching Recommendations For Middle and High School Teachers and Librarians

Suggested Alignment to the IRA /NCTE Standard(s):*
- standard #s correspond to the numbers used by IRA/NCTE

1. Students read a wide range of print and nonprint texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the United States and the world; to acquire new information; to respond to the needs and demands of society and the workplace; and for personal fulfillment.  Among these texts are fiction and nonfiction, classic and contemporary works.  

2. Students read a wide range of literature from many periods in many genres to build an understanding of the many dimensions (e.g., philosophical, ethical, aesthetic) of human experience.

Recommended Grade Levels: 4th – 12th grade

Suggested Guided Reading Lesson Plan:



Guided Reading

(Fountas & Pinnell, 1996)

Lesson Plan













Before Reading



Prior to reading, show students a clip from the beginning of Disney’s The Jungle Book. About 20 – 30 minutes should be sufficient.

As they view the clip ask students to take notes on each of the main characters:

Mowgli –

Baloo –

Bagheera –

Shere Khan –

Kaa –

Note: Since Akela plays such a minor role in Disney's version we will leave him out of the equation for now. Later, Akela will serve as a springboard for discussing Campfire's adaptation, where he and the wolf family play an extremely significant role (as they do in Kipling’s original text too).

When the clip is over and the students have been given five – ten more minutes to finalize their thoughts about each character engage students in a whole class discussion.

IRA/NCTE standard alignment: 1, 2.










As students read both in class and at home make sure they have a new handout that lists each of the previous characters from their before reading activity. This time, however, let's add Akela and the entire wolf family to the list. With Akela and the wolf family added to the list ask students to take notes on the characters once again, but, this time, they should focus ONLY on the character traits and actions featured in Campfire's adaptation of The Jungle Book.

Baloo –

Bagheera –

Akela –

The Wolf Family –

Shere Khan –

Kaa –

IRA/NCTE standard alignment: 1, 2.








When students are done reading ask them to complete a third handout. This third handout should have a Venn Diagram on it. Above the circle on the right write "Campfire's The Jungle Book". Above the circle on the left write "Disney's The Jungle Book." Instruct students that where the circles overlap they are to list similarities between the two stories. In the non-overlapping circle space students can list unique features of each adaptation of The Jungle Book.

When students are finished ask them to pair with a friend and compare and/or contrast their ideas. Finally, as an entire class, visually display the Venn Diagram and discuss the decisions and choices students made about what to include (and where) in each circle. Students should be encouraged to explain and offer various insights. Various insights will lead to a more rich classroom discussion.

Note: Finally, it may be interesting to ask students to decide which version of The Jungle Book they prefer. Be sure to ask them for specific reasons for their selection. 

IRA/NCTE standard alignment: 1, 2.


*NCTE/IRA. (1996). Standards for the English Language Arts. Urbana, IL: NCTE.

Katie Monnin, PhD, is an assistant professor of literacy at the University of North Florida and author of Teaching Graphic Novels: Practical Strategies for the Secondary ELA Classroom (2010) from Maupin House. To learn more about Teaching Graphic Novels or Katie Monnin, please go to this link: http://www.maupinhouse.com/monnin.php.