“Rikki-Tikki-Tavi,” I sighed, caught in a thoughtful moment. I’d been reading “Rikki,” a delightful new graphic novel about a certain famous mongoose published by Karate Petshop.
“Rikki Who?” asked my friend, Roy, who had joined me for lunch at Steelhead Diner in Seattle’s Pike Place Market.
“Oh, you know, the whole Rudyard Kipling thing! Hoo-ha, out in the jungle!”
“Hoo-ha, you say?”
I wanted to give Roy the benefit of the doubt. The surroundings were so nice. We were both famished. Roy, I knew to be a literary sort. He was pulling my leg or he just wasn’t paying attention.
“Okay, so there’s a reboot to ‘The Jungle Book’ that just came out starring Bill Murray. That’s by Rudyard Kipling.”
“You’re joking, right?”
“Yes, I know who Rudyard Kipling is! He wrote ‘The Jungle Book’ and he also happened to write that Rikki book. I loved his novel, ‘The Man Who Would Be King.'”
Roy had little patience just before lunch. But he was perking up. He couldn’t help noticing I had been reading a book just before he showed up. I was still holding on to it.
“That Rikki book, is that what you were reading?”
“Indeed. Oddly enough, that’s the title, simply, “Rikki.” It’s a graphic novel adaptation of the original story by you-know-who.”
“Yes, this book is a delightful comics version, as I was saying, written by Norm Harper and illustrated by Matthew Foltz-Gray.”
I proceeded to let him leaf through the book.
“Quite good! It has a very whimsical quality. Very animated.”
“My thoughts exactly! I think it would be fun for any age.”
“Well, sure. I know my little nephew would love it.”
And with that we commenced to unwind. I find that, when in doubt, a Mimosa will help smooth things out. And then the Flash Fried Alaskan Rockfish Tacos were just what I was looking for.
“Rikki” is an engaging retelling of one of Kipling’s tales from “The Jungle Book.” Given the beloved adaptation by Chuck Jones, both Harper and Foltz-Gray find interesting ways to make the story their own. You’ll find additional characters and plot that add a contemporary dynamic to this otherwise faithful rendition. You’ll also find a distinctive and playful style to the artwork. Bonus features include supplemental artwork and the original Kipling short story.
“Rikki” is a 172-page full-color trade paperback published by Karate Petshop.