I'm sure I saw the Disney movie as a kid, but I don't remember it, and I haven't read the Rudyard Kipling original, so I went into this story blind.
And I'm reading along: Mowgli, the man-cub, is "left all alone in the jungle," and then found by the panther, Basheera, and taken to a wolf family "with young cubs of their own. That is how it happened that Mowgli was raised among the wolves." OK, I'm starting to get worried! The picture shows the baby all bundled up, so it sure looks like infant abandonment to me. And I'm not quite sure how to gauge the look on the wolf mom's face -- startled? dismayed? Happily surprised?!
Now ten years have passed, and danger returns to the wolf pack's land, in the form of the tiger, Shere Khan, who hates all men. If he learns that the wolf pack is "harboring a man-cub," the wolves will be in danger. So they all agree that "the man-cub must go." Ouch!
Basheera says he'll take Mowgli to a nearby man-village where he'll be well cared for. After some resistance, Mowgli makes his way back to the village. And Basheera says approvingly of this happy ending, "It is just as it should be. . . . He has found his true home." So much for A-Mother-For-Choco themed transracial adoption story! (Yes, yes, I know. It's really trans-species, not the same thing!).
The girls don't seem fazed by the story, it's just mom who's saying, "Gee, thanks, Disney!" We didn't talk about it at all (it was late, the girls were tired (and so was I!) -- they have late gymnastics classes on Thursday). We might, though. It could be a good teaching moment:
How do you think the baby got into the jungle? What do you think about that?Hmmmm, maybe the book wasn't so bad, after all . . . .
Do you think the wolf family adopted him? It doesn't seem so to me, since they don't keep him forever. What do you think?
Was Basheera right to want him to go to the man-village? Why did Mowgli want to stay in the jungle? Why did he decide to go to the man-village?