JUNGLE CHILD by Caroline Davis


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A richly conceived portrait of India, loved and understood as a home, but distorted by a British colonial point of view --further weakened by the perspective of a spoiled child of eight. Elfreda, motherless daughter of a British Forest Officer in India, had been raised by a devoted Ayah, was obeyed and sometimes feared by the cluster of Indian servants who manned her father's household. Allowed to run wild by a gruff, Blimpian father, Elf had the run of the house and forest -- there were elephants to watch, servants to tease, monkeys and birds, and her friend Krishman, an Indian boy. Elf goes to a festival, as emissary for her father to the Rajah, disguises herself as an Indian, goes rafting and sees a tiger shoot. The author has caught the sounds, sights and smells of India and the reaction of the child against her exclusive position and the frustrated love of her father is real and believable. However, the portrait of the Indians as alternately fearful and adoring, devoid of ambition and essentially child-like deprives the book of its value as a rounded regional study.

Pub Date: Oct. 9th, 1950
Publisher: Viking