The Wonders of the Jungle is the book written by Sarath Kumar Ghosh. The author depicts his opion in the book as the following.
One of the great thinkers of the world has said that all the sciences are embodied in natural history. Hence natural history should be
taught to a child from an early age.
Perhaps the best method of teaching it is to set forth the characteristics of animals in the form of a narrative. Then the child reads the narrative with pleasure and almost as a story, not as a tedious "lesson."
I have followed that method in the Wonders of the Jungle. The present work (Book One) is intended to be a supplementary reader for the earlier grades in grammar schools. If it be found useful, I shall write one or two more books in progressive order for the use of higher grades.
In Book One I have depicted only such wild animals as appeal to the interest of young children, and even to their sympathy and love. In subsequent books I shall describe the animals that prey upon others. As those animals are not lovable, it would be better for the child to read about them a year or two later. But even to those animals I shall be just, and shall depict their good qualities as well as their preying habits. How many people know that the very worst animal, the tiger, is a better husband and father than many men? Or that the ferocity of the tigress is prompted entirely by her maternal instinct--and that in every case of unusual ferocity yet recorded it was afterward found that there was a helpless cub somewhere near? Hence in subsequent books I shall enter more fully into the causes of animal instincts and characteristics--their loves and their hates and their fears.
Regarding the scheme of Book One, the animals are described in their daily life, and the main scientific facts and principles concerning each animal are woven into the narrative as a part of that daily life. But while teaching science to the child in that pleasant form, a few other purposes have also been kept in view:--
1. To cultivate the child's imagination. True imagination is the ability to visualize mentally the realities of life, not what is unreal--for which it is so often mistaken. Hence in this book the child is helped to visualize the animals in their actual haunts, and to see each incident as it actually happens.
2. To cultivate the child's reasoning faculty. The child is encouraged at every step to think and to reason why the animal does certain things; _e.g._ why the elephant does not drink directly with its mouth, but has to squirt the water into it with the trunk.
3. To teach a moral from the study of animals. The whole of Creation is one immense and beautiful pattern: so the child may well be trained to see the pattern in this also. And as a practical benefit from the study of animals, the child may learn thereby the value of certain qualities, such as obedience, discipline, and good citizenship--_e.g._ as in the remarkable case of the elephant, the buffalo, and the flamingo, as described in the text. In this regard I have kept in mind the very useful suggestions formulated a few years ago by the Moral Education League of Great Britain, under the patronage of Queen Mary, five of whose children at that time ranged in age from seven to fifteen. One of the functions of education is to present to the child the noblest and the most elevated of ideals. I have sought to do that in almost every chapter.
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