The Jungle Book & The Graveyard Book

In the Acknowledgements section of the Newbery award-winning The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaimon writes:

First, foremost, and forever:  I owe an enormous debt, conscious and, I have no doubt, unconscious, to Rudyard Kipling and the two volumes of his remarkable work The Jungle Book.  I read them as a child, excited and impressed, and I’ve read and reread them many times since.  If you are only familiar with the Disney cartoon, you should read the stories.

And we will read those stories in time to see the movie being released in theaters this April.  What about the Gaimon’s modern story inspired by those classics?  We began with a read aloud this morning during Book Club and everyone listening was hooked.

Please find a copy of both The Graveyard Book and The Jungle Book* from your local library or preferred bookseller as soon as you can.

* Because The Jungle Book is a classic originally published in 1894 and a second book in 1895, there are many possible editions:  Unabridged or abridged, illustrated or not, hardcopy or digital, print or ebook, containing both books or just one. I would encourage you to find one you think best fits your learning style and reading level.  If you want assistance, please contact Ms. Andria at 325-0203×128 or  The edition that I will be using (see review below) was chosen simply because it was there, but, again, please choose one that feels right to you.

From Follett

Presents the three adventures of Mowgli, a young boy raised by the animals in an Indian jungle, as well as other animal stories and songs. Includes discussion questions and explanatory notes.

From the Publisher
Children will delight in this unabridged version of Rudyard Kipling’s classics, Jungle Books One and Two! Not only does this attractive volume feature the beloved tales of Mowgli, the “man cub” raised by wolves, and Rikki Tikki Tavi, but also the lesser-known but wonderful stories of Toomai, the boy who gets to see elephants dance; Quiquern, who saves his Eskimo people from starvation; and Kotick, the white seal.

Product Details
  • Publisher: Sterling
  • Publication Date: November 1, 2007
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Dewey: -Fic-
  • Classifications: Fiction
  • Description: vi, 343 p. : ill. ; 22 cm.
  • ISBN-10: 1-40274-340-8
  • ISBN-13: 978-1-40274-340-5
  • LCCN: 2007-011251
  • Follett Number: 17653U8
  • Catalog Number: 1402743408
  • Interest Level: 5-8
  • Reading Level: 5.8
  • ATOS Book Level: 7.4
  • AR Interest Level: MG
  • AR Points: 20
  • AR Quiz: 20237EN
  • Lexile Measure: 1100
  • Lexile Code: NC (Non-Conforming Text)

Full-Text Reviews
Horn Book Guide (Fall 2008)
These classic stories are presented in unabridged formats. A handful of scratchboard illustrations in addition to a repeating chapter heading spot illustration accompany each story. A ribbon bookmark is attached. The books conclude with some generic open-ended questions. [Review includes these titles: The Jungle Book, Frankenstein, Gulliver’s Travels, and Journey to the Center of the Earth.]

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New Beginnings…

What shall we read next?  Last week we talked about about several possibilities, but today we need to vote on a final decision.  Here are some options that we discussed:

  1.  Read an award-winner:
  2. Read a current bestseller:
  3. Read from our Books to Movies List.

Ps.  Our book for March/April will definitely be “The Jungle Book” by Rudyard Kipling.  It is a classic collection of short stories that inspired author Neil Gaimon’s Newbery Award Winner, The Graveyard Book.

Pps.  This is the last day to wrap up papier-mâché & painting projects or to add a whale model to our 3D print queue at  Please help each other out!

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Wrapping Up Loose Ends…

Today we are finishing paper mache & print queues.  Get messy or update your museum print at

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“Revenge of the Whale” Breakfast & Book Discussion

Good morning!  Let’s chat about books over breakfast!  Get your breakfast ready and Macs open to!

Ps.  Start thinking about what we’ll read next…


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Remsenburg-Speonk’s Virtual Whaling Museum

Last week, we decided on our museum exhibits.  For the remainder of our time with “Revenge of the Whale,” we are going to create our physical and virtual museum.  Here’s how…

  1. Open our Remsenburg-Speonk Virtual Whaling Museum Google Slideshow by clicking on this link:  Note:  You must be logged into your rsufsd account to access this file.
  2. Research using our school’s Virtual Reference Collection and our Book Club Research Links.  Add your findings into the slideshow. Help each other!
  3. Create your 3D model using paper mache, clay, and/or the 3D printer.
  4. Determine the Scale (Actual Size in inches / Model Size in inches = 1/xth Scale).
  5. Add your scale and photo of your 3D model into our online museum for the world to see!


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Research for Whaling Museum

I hope everyone has already ordered or obtained a copy of the Revenge of the Whale. While we wait for our books and the documentary to arrive, let’s get started on our next hands-on project…

The Remsenburg-Speonk Whaling Museum!

Which exhibit will you build?  Here are some ideas:

  • A model ship from the time period
  • A scientific model of a whale
  • A life-sized whale bone
  • A scrimshawed tooth
  • Something else inspired by the book

Use the links below to browse ideas and gather data.  Think about the materials you will need.  Talk with Ms. Andria and make a plan!  Happy researching!🙂

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Revenge of the Whale Overview

It’s official!  Our first Book Club selection is “Revenge of the Whale: The True Story of the Whaleship Essex.”  Please check out the professional reviews below.

Tentative Schedule:

  • Friday, 10/16 Book Club Meeting: Discovery Channel’s documentary.
  • Monday, 10/12 @ 2pm (Columbus Day… School is closed!):  I’m heading over to the Sag Harbor Whaling Museum with my family at 2pm and it would be terrific if you could meet us there!  Please remember that this is not a school-sponsored event.  Parents are responsible for all transportation, supervision, and ticket purchase.  It is completely optional and voluntary.
  • October/November Book Club Meetings:  Our hands-on project will be to create size-models of whale bones. Dress for art!
  • December:  The movie will be released in theaters.  Look for more information about this optional gathering closer to the release date.
Full-Text Reviews
Horn Book Guide starred (Spring, 2003)
Adapting his National Book Award-winner for a younger audience, Philbrick brings readers onboard for the tragic voyage of theEssex from Nantucket. In 1820, a sixty-ton sperm whale rammed and sank the ship, leaving the twenty-man crew stranded in the Pacific Ocean. After three months, eight men remained alive–barely. Maps and black-and-white photos and reproductions illustrate the gripping narrative. This is a real-life survival story of epic proportions.
Kirkus Reviews (July 15, 2002)
Philbrick cuts down his National Book Award-winning In the Heart of the Sea (2000) for a younger audience, but leaves in plenty of gruesome detail. In a notorious incident that later inspired the climactic scene in Moby-Dick, the Nantucket whaler Essex was attacked and sunk by a huge sperm whale, leaving 20 crew members in three small boats, “just about as far from land as it was possible to be anywhere on Earth.” After three months of terrible privation, eight survivors were rescued; two of whom went on to write about the experience. Philbrick draws expertly from these sometimes contradictory narratives, as well as other documents and modern research, all to create a stomach-churningly precise account that includes just how whales were hunted and cut up, the effects of prolonged thirst (“The tongue swells to such proportions that it squeezes past the jaw. The eyelids crack and the eyeballs begin to weep tears of blood . . . “), and the fact that most of the survivors lived by eating their shipmates-African-Americans and non-Nantucketers first. The author tucks in plenty of maps, diagrams, and contemporary prints, and rounds off this horrifyingly engrossing entry in the annals of anthropophagy with a look at the survivors’ later lives. Fans of Marian Calabro’s Perilous Journey of the Donner Party (1999) and the like will lick their chops. (bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 12+)
Publishers Weekly (September 16, 2002)
For older readers, Revenge of the Whale: The True Story of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick describes a tale worthy of Ahab: on November 20, 1820, an angry sperm whale took vengeance on the men who would slay it for oil. Adapted from Philbrick’s bestselling title for adults, In the Heart of the Sea, the narrative draws from primary sources, including the account of cabin boy Thomas Nickerson, who joined the crew at age 14.
Publishers Weekly (April 5, 2004)
In what PW called “a tale worthy of Ahab,” this book describes the events of November 20, 1820, when a sperm whale took vengeance on the men who would slay it for oil. Adapted from the bestselling title for adults, In the Heart of the Sea. Ages 10-up. (Mar.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal (September 1, 2002)
Gr 6-10-Philbrick has carefully adapted and abridged his adult title, In the Heart of the Sea (Viking, 2000). He tells the story of the Nantucket whaleship Essex, which sank in the Pacific in November 1820, after being deliberately rammed twice by an apparently enraged sperm whale. Three months later, five emaciated men were rescued from two small boats filled with the bones of their unlucky companions. The whale’s attack on the Essex gave Herman Melville the idea for the climactic scene in Moby-Dick. The abridging is primarily accomplished by limiting descriptive passages and focusing more tightly on the narrative elements. However, sufficient description is retained to give readers an understanding of both whaling and life in Nantucket in the early 19th century. Other than these elisions, the text is largely unchanged from the original, although in a few places a simpler synonym replaces a more evocative word; likewise, in passages where he had assumed background knowledge, Philbrick skillfully supplies context and explanation. The lengthy section of notes following the text has been omitted, and the extensive bibliography has been replaced by a short, briefly annotated list of related reading. Useful maps, diagrams, and other illustrations have been retained. The story of the Essex crew is a compelling saga of desperation and survival that will appeal to young people. The grisly details of cannibalism necessary to the telling of the story may provoke shivers but should not give anyone nightmares. Walter Brown’s Sea Disasters (HarperCollins, 1981) includes a brief chapter on the Essex, but there is nothing else for young readers on the subject. With this masterful adaptation, Philbrick’s work fills a void.-Elaine Fort Weischedel, Franklin Public Library, MA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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