Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories are among the most inventive and original of all children’s fiction. Posing ingenious explanations of how animals acquired their characteristics and revelling in exuberant wordplay, they are the work of a master storyteller. Kipling began inventing stories about how leopards got their spots and camels their humps to entertain his children – in particular his eldest daughter, Josephine, who died in 1899 aged six. When he wrote down the stories for publication in 1902, he remembered her with the phrase ‘Best Beloved’.
This special limited edition includes all 12 iconic tales, as well as ‘The Tabu Tale’, whose excitable heroine, Taffy, is based on Josephine. In ‘The Beginning of the Armadilloes’, an unlikely alliance between a hedgehog and a tortoise leads to a new species. The Elephant’s Child, full of ‘’satiable curtiosity’, travels to the ‘great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River’ to find out what the Crocodile eats for dinner, and inadvertently returns home with a useful extension to his nose. In the course of these delightful fables,Kipling accommodates magic, God and natural selection – from the ‘Eldest Magician’ who got the Earth ready, to the Leopard who changes his fur to hide in the forest full of ‘patchy-blatchy shadows’.
‘Hear and attend and listen; for this befell and behappened and became and was, O my Best Beloved’
The Cat that Walked by Himself
Former Children’s Laureate Michael Morpurgo has written a playful and deeply affectionate introduction. He describes vivid memories of his mother - a RADA trained actress - performing the stories: ‘Kipling and my mother, between them, could make words laugh off the page.’ Indeed, few words swoop and dive and trip off the tongue as Kipling’s do. His stories abound with droll turns of phrase and sing-song repetitions, from the man who lived ‘cavily in a Cave’ to the ‘Superior Comestible’ that ‘smelt most sentimental’.
Though the Just So Stories were first published during the golden age of children's book illustration, no edition has attempted to illuminate Kipling's prose in the rich illustrative style that thrived in his day. For this edition, The Folio Society approached Niroot Puttapipat - a contemporary artist working in the tradition of great golden-age artists such as Edmund Dulac. He has created 14 exquisite paintings, which have been printed with gold borders and tipped in as colour plates. They are complemented by pictorial endpapers, and nine pen-and-ink tailpieces depicting the animals.
RUDYARD KIPLING was born in Bombay in 1865. He began writing poems and stories as a
teenager. In 1892 he married Carrie Balestier, and it was at her family home in Vermont
that he began to write Captains Courageous and The Jungle Book. They moved to England in 1896. Eleven years later, Kipling became the youngest, and the first English, writer to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. He died in 1936 and was buried in Poets’
Corner, Westminster Abbey.
Read more about the life and work of Rudyard Kipling
Find out what the Just So animals think of our edition...
A standard edition of Just So Stories
is also available to purchase.
Delivery of limited editions may take longer than standard editions. Please contact us for more information.
'I hope that the illustrations for Just So Stories will be my best work so far - partly because I enjoy the stories very much, but also because I feel that I've developed as an artist since The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám'
Review by nopicasso on 13th Mar 2013
"What can one say about a book that will be a family heirloom? The limited edition signed engraving alone is beautiful but when you add in the tipped in artwork and exquisite binding it brings a thrill..." [read more]
Review by irodgers on 31st Jan 2013
"This is a marvellously satisfying production of this book. The binding is superb and a joy to handle. The combination of the spacious pages and the illustrations entirely harmonious with the text ma..." [read more]
Review by mikebirm49 on 23rd Jan 2013
"I have several Folio limited editions. All are superb in their own way. However, I wasn't prepared for the sheer presence and imposing beauty of Just So Stories. Everything impresses: from the stunnin..." [read more]