Invite readers again to visit the High and Far-Off Times in this piece culled from me Just So Stories. Two bank-dwellers along the turbid Amazon, Stickly-Prickly Hedgehog and Slow-and-Solid Tortoise, meet Painted Jaguar, armed with explicit instructions from his mother on the best way to recognize and devour each. The hedgehog and tortoise confuse the jaguar with some fancy wordplay, but believe their escape is short-lived. In order to continue to stymie their predator, the hedgehog learns to swim and the tortoise masters the knack of curling up. In the process, something of a transformation occurs and armadillos are the result. Kipling's liquid prose is as entertaining as ever; in dazzling accompaniment are Rowe's paintings--moody, comedic vignettes with dark backgrounds--that root the story to the banks of the Amazon and give it a jolt of animation. A terrific, sophisticated introduction to Kipling.