The tales in The Jungle Book are fables, using animals in an anthropomorphic manner to give moral lessons. The verses of "The Law of the Jungle," for example, lay down rules for the safety of individuals, families, and communities. Stories include the tale of "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi", the tale of a heroic mongoose, and "Toomai of the Elephants", the tale of a young elephant-handler. The best-known fables are the three stories revolving around the adventures of Mowgli, an abandoned 'man-cub' who is raised by wolves in the Indian jungle.
The Jungle Book came to be used as a motivational book by the Cub Scouts, a junior element of the Scouting movement. This use of the book's universe was approved by Kipling at the request of Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Scouting movement, who had originally asked for the author's permission for the use of the Memory Game from Kim in his scheme to develop the morale and fitness of working-class youths in cities. Akela, the head wolf in The Jungle Book, has become a senior figure in the movement, the name being traditionally adopted by the leader of each Cub Scout pack.