BOOK REVIEW / Recent paperbacks: Baa Baa Black Sheep - David Malouf: Chatto & Windus, pounds 8.99

In this libretto (for an opera that will be premiered at The Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham on 3 July) David Malouf makes a resonant whole out of various parts of Rudyard Kipling's oeuvre. The miserable young hero of the story Baa Baa Black Sheep - which was based on Kipling's own childhood experiences of being sent away from his family in India to school in England - escapes in his imagination to the glorious world of the Jungle Book. Malouf's work elegantly illuminates the way that Kipling, so often seen as a spokesperson for the Establishment, was actually most comfortable and most powerful when siding with the outsider.