IN the sea, once upon a time, O my Best Beloved, there was a Whale, and he ate fishes. He ate the starfish and the garfish, and the crab and the dab, and the plaice and the dace, and the skate and his mate, and the mackereel and the pickereel, and the really truly twirly-whirly eel. All the fishes he could find in all the sea he ate with his mouth-so! Till at last there was only one small fish left in all the sea, and he was a small 'Stute Fish, and he swam a little behind the Whale's right ear, so as to be out of harm's way. Then the Whale stood up on his tail and said, 'I'm hungry.
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How did the camel get his hump? Why won't cats do as they are told? Who invented reading and writing? How did an inquisitive little elephant change the lives of elephants everywhere? Kipling's imagined answers to such questions draw on the beast fables he heard as a child in India, as well as on folk games with language, exploring the relationships between thought, speech, and the written word. He also celebrates his own joy in fatherhood. The tales were told to his own and his friends' children over many years before he wrote them down, adding poems and his own illustrations. They invite older and younger readers to share a magical experience, each contributing to the other's pleasure, but each can also enjoy them alone, as more jokes, subtexts, and exotic references emerge with every reading. This fully illustrated edition includes two extra stories and Kipling's own explanation of the title.From the Inside Flap:
Kipling's own drawings, with their long, funny captions, illustrate his hilarious explanations of How the Camel Got His Hump, How the Rhinoceros Got His Skin, How the Armadillo Happened, and other animal How's. He began inventing these stories in his American wife's hometown of Brattleboro, Vermont, to amuse his eldest daughter--and they have served ever since as a source of laughter for children everywhere.
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