Making the Grades
Have you ever wondered if wild animals raised your children? Despite wolfing down their food at the dinner table and horsing around in the living room, they just might turn out all right -- as we discover in Disney's swinging tale, The Jungle Book.
Deep in the heart of the Indian jungle, a sleek black panther known as Bagheera (voice of Sebastian Cabot) hears a strange cry. Curious, the cautious cat investigates the river’s shoreline until he finds its origins: a lone human baby in a broken boat. Knowing the orphan will die without nourishment, Bagheera plays stork and delivers the helpless babe to a wolf family with a newborn litter of cubs. Thanks to maternal instincts, the infant now called Mowgli (voice of Bruce Reitherman) is adopted into the household and becomes a favorite amongst the pups. But the blissful world provided by the boy's animal friends is threatened by the arrival of Sher Khan (voice of George Sanders), a menacing tiger with a vengeance for humans.
After holding a council, the elders of the pack vote the man cub out of the jungle for his own protection. It is then up to Bagheera to deliver Mowgli safely to the nearest man-village. Unfortunately, the overconfident and disrespectful lad doesn’t understand his imminent danger. Giving his guardian a run for his rupees, the cheeky chap teams up with happy-go-lucky Baloo the Bear (voice of Phil Harris). Although the duo is quick to ‘get with the beat’, their lackadaisical lifestyle lands them in plenty of hot water as they make their way through the labyrinth of vegetation filled with musical misadventures and narrow escapes.
The Jungle Book has become more than just a ‘bare necessity’ for your family’s video library. Along with jazzy monkeys and an elephant brigade that takes a poke at Great Britain’s past military presence, Mowgli's wanderings are interwoven with lessons of friendship and responsibility. Disney borrows many great elements from several of Rudyard Kipling’s classic stories to bring the steamy jungle, full of boisterously entertaining personalities, to life. Rest assured that your wrestling cubs will unanimously vote for this family favorite you loved when you were a young wild animal yourself.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about The Jungle Book (Disney’s).
Bagheera and Baloo love Mowgli, yet each has a different idea about what would be best for his future. Although Bagheera’s approach seems harsh while Baloo’s appears idyllic, what do you think the results of each method would be? Why is the hard way often the best way?
Psychologists often debate over what has more influence in our lives: Nature (what we are born like) or nurture (how we are raised). This tug-of-war is played out in the extreme case presented here because Mowgli was born human, yet raised as a wolf. Which of these two factors has the greatest influence on who you are?