The Wind in the Willows

The Wind in the Willows

4.2 116
by Kenneth Grahame
     
 

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Kenneth Grahame's exuberant yet whimsical The Wind in the Willows belongs to the golden age of children's classic novels. These charming, exciting and humorous tales of the riverbank and its life featuring the wonderfully imagined Ratty, Mole, Badger and the irrepressible but conceited Toad of Toad Hall — whose passion for motor cars ("The only way…  See more details below

Overview

Kenneth Grahame's exuberant yet whimsical The Wind in the Willows belongs to the golden age of children's classic novels. These charming, exciting and humorous tales of the riverbank and its life featuring the wonderfully imagined Ratty, Mole, Badger and the irrepressible but conceited Toad of Toad Hall — whose passion for motor cars ("The only way to travel! Here today — in next week tomorrow") lands him in many scrapes — still continue exert their charm over adults as well as children.

Kenneth Grahame was born in Edinburgh in 1859. He was educated at St Edward's School, Oxford but because of family circumstances he was unable to enter Oxford University. He joined the Bank of England as a gentleman clerk in 1879, rising to become Secretary to the Bank in 1898. He wrote a series of short stories published in such collections as The Golden Age (1895) and Dream Days (1898). These featured a fictional family of five children. In 1899 he married Elspeth Thomson and their only child, Alistair, was born a year later. He left the Bank in 1908 on health grounds. The same year, The Wind in the Willows was published. The book was not an immediate success, and he never attempted to write fiction again. However, the popularity of the novel grew steadily and by the time of Grahame's death in 1932 it was recognized as a children's classic.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Inga Moore's illustrations lend a luminous air to the tale of Mole, Mr. Toad, Badger and Rat in Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows, abridged by Moore. She uses delicate pen-and-ink drawings and watercolor wash to convey framed images of cobblestone streets, spot illustrations of Badger's welcoming hearth and wide framed expanses of the countryside. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
If you haven't read this book aloud to your kids yet, get the seventy-fifth anniversary edition and introduce them to Toad, Mole, Ratty and Badger. Share the pictures with them, which include black-and-white sketches as well as full color plates. These are the only illustrations that were directly influenced by Grahame who entertained Shepard at his country home. They resonate with the stories. There are lessons to be learned and lots of laughs. It's a book that can be read and reread with messages that will be understood at different ages and stages of life. 1983 (orig.
Children's Literature
Many a memorable night will be spent reading pages from this beautiful abridged edition of an English classic. First published individually in 1996, this edition contains 9 chapters of stories of the riverbank friends of Mr. Moles, Mr. Badger, Water Rat and Mr. Toad, the creatures created in stories at the turn of the century by Mr. Grahame for his young son. It is the world seen through the eyes of these four friends, a world so innocent yet interesting. Children and parents alike will be mesmerized by the nostalgic illustrations done in the English storybook tradition. Young children so often identify more easily with animal characters rather than human characters, and the magical adventures of these four will bring hours of enjoyment. The characters are wonderfully drawn using text that seems almost poetic. This lovely book is sure to become a family favorite. 2003, Candlewick, Ages 3 to 8.
— Meredith Kiger, Ph.D.
Library Journal
How would one describe this latest recording of the classic story from Alcott (Little Men, Audio Reviews, LJ 11/15/96)? The answer must be, clear, competent, and unexciting. Laura Grafton is a precise reader, but her voice lacks expressiveness, and she makes little attempt to vocally differentiate (and/or animate) the characters. The result is an inoffensive and slightly dull rendering. There's nothing wrong; the tapes just won't grab the attention of the casual listener. The producer has made a praiseworthy attempt to reduce costs by having each cassette side carry double text. At $22.95, this tape set is an excellent value. Unfortunately, this double-track format requires a stereo cassette player with a fully functioning balance control. Most portable cassette players and some car stereo systems do not have this feature. Since, at least anecdotally, a large percentage of recreational audiocassette library borrowers are commuters or exercisers, one should consider whether this format would be used by patrons. Libraries purchasing this format might also consider purchasing (and lending) the associated headphone adaptor plugs. Recommended for libraries with limited audiobook budgets and/or appropriate user populations.--I. Pour-El, Iowa State Univ., Ames
School Library Journal
Gr 3-7-The considerable talents of narrator Martin Jarvis and pleasant snippets of classical music almost redeem this abridged presentation of Kenneth Grahames whimsical classic. The story revolves around the misadventures of Mole who embarks on a haphazard river journey with the proud Rat who loves "messing about in boats." These mismatched pals encounter the wise, elusive Badger and the crude, greedy, accident prone Mr. Toad. Jarvis has a ball playing these unforgettable characters, portraying Mole with just the right amount of naivete, Rat with dashing confidence, Badger with effective gruffness, and Toad with jubilant wackiness. He does such a beautiful job capturing the story's humor and language that listeners will wish that this was an unabridged presentation. Although the scenes flow for the most part, the abridgement causes some awkward moments. For example, the narrator says that a character utters "Oh my oh my oh my" for a second time, but the character's first utterance of these words have been cut. Many sections that dramatize the developing tensions between the characters have been snipped, and certain sentences seem to have been cut for no good reason. This of course goes against what Kenneth Grahame envisioned when he wrote this strange, poetic allegory. For libraries interested in purchasing abridged audiobooks, this version of The Wind in the Willows benefits from a talented narrator. However, others may wish to consider Recorded Books' more definitive unabridged presentation, read by the wonderful Flo Gibson.-Brian E. Wilson, Evanston Public Library, IL Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
“It is what I call a Household Book . . . a book which everybody in the household loves, and quotes continually ever afterwards; a book which is read aloud to every new guest.”
–A. A. Milne
Children's Literature - Lois Rubin Gross
Some books are classics for a short time, limited by characterization or the technology they feature (think the original UNIVAC computer in A Wrinkle in Time). And some books are classic and ageless. So it is with Kenneth Grahame's fantasy of small, anthropomorphized woodland creatures having great adventures against the background of Victorian England. The book has gone through numerous incarnations with famous illustrators including Bransom, Rackham, and Hague. There are annotated versions and abridged versions. Most people meet Mr. Toad of Toad Hall when a beloved teacher makes the book the subject of special, shared reading time in first grade. However, David Roberts' gift-intended tome creates an abridged version with illustrations suitable for a younger group of readers. His digital drawings of Toad, Mole, and Badger have whimsical personalities that will reach out to young readers. The characters appear frequently throughout the text, rather than the few, scattered drawings in older versions. Color saturated pages bring the Wild Wood, Toad Hall, and the riverbank vividly to life. Toad dressed as a runaway washerwoman is a delight, as is a page of Christmas caroling mice with lovely long tails and nearly textured red scarves. The historically cumbersome chapter about the god, Pan, is deleted, but Roberts has made a point of secreting images of Pan in his illustrations throughout the book. If you are looking for classic representations of this timeless book or, heaven forbid, the Disney version, this is not it. This is a rendition with a contemporary feel that will introduce the beloved characters to an extended audience, and the elegant language of the original Grahame story is not sacrificed. The final rendition of Mole and Toad literally walking into the sunset with arms wrapped around each other is a fitting close to a delightful and colorful escapade. Reviewer: Lois Rubin Gross
Kirkus Reviews
2013-08-15
Many famous artists have interpreted the antics and adventures of Mole, Ratty, Toad and Badger. Roberts takes a decidedly modern approach in this gift edition sure to appeal to another generation of readers. From the glimmer of silver-foiled lettering on the front cover to the full-color illustrations liberally dispersed throughout, readers of all ages can fully immerse themselves in Grahame's settings. Images executed in watercolor, ink, pen and pencil perfectly convey the postures of a distraught Mole or a momentarily contrite Toad, while the backgrounds impress with a range of seasons and circumstances. Washes of a dominant color are given fine details and highlights with touches of contrasting color, as when cool, frosty blues give way to a circle of white that glows around a young mouse choir, all snuggled in their vibrant orange-red scarves, as they sing carols. Humor abounds. Giggles will erupt at the picture of Toad alarmed and upside down, with the birds at the bottom of the page and the grassy bank slanting at the top. The variety of full-page, double-page and spot illustrations keeps the experience lively. Although purists may quibble at the omission of the chapter "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn," those new to the book will not miss it (but may inquire who the mischievous boy--the Greek god Pan--is that appears on a few pages). All told, an elegantly designed volume ready to take its rightful place on any child's bookshelf. (Fantasy. All ages)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780529001191
Publisher:
Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
06/28/1966

Read an Excerpt

Playing Pilgrims


"Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents,"grumbled Jo, lying on the rug.

"It's so dreadful to be poor!"sighed Meg, looking down at her old dress.

"I don't think it's fair for some girls to have lots of pretty things, and other girls nothing at all," added little Amy, with an injured sniff.

"We've got father and mother, and each other, anyhow,"said Beth, contentedly, from her corner.

The four young faces on which the firelight shone brightened at the cheerful words, but darkened again as Jo said sadly?

"We haven't got father, and shall not have him for a long time." She didn't say "perhaps never,"but each silently added it, thinking of father far away, where the fighting was.

Nobody spoke for a minute; then Meg said in an altered tone, "You know the reason mother proposed not having any presents this Christmas, was because it's going to be a hard winter for every one; and she thinks we ought not to spend money for pleasure, when our men are suffering so in the army. We can't do much, but we can make our little sacrifices, and ought to do it gladly. But I am afraid I don't;"and Megshook her head, as she thought regretfully of all the pretty things she wanted.

"But I don't think the little we should spend would do any good. We've each got a dollar, and the army wouldn't be much helped by our giving that. I agree not to expect anything from mother or you, but I do want to buy Undine and Sintram for myself; I've wanted it so long,'said Jo, who was a bookworm.

"I planned to spend mine in new music,"said Beth, with a little sigh, which no one heard but the hearth-brush andkettle-holder.

"I shall get a nice box of Faber's drawing pencils; I really need them," said Amy, decidedly.

"Mother didn't say anything about our money, and she won't wish us to give up everything. Let's each buy what we want, and have a little fun; I'm sure we grub hard enough to earn it,"cried Jo, examining the heels of her
boots in a gentlemanly manner.

"I know I do, teaching those dreadful children nearly all day, when I'm longing to enjoy myself at home," began Meg, in the complaining tone again.

"You don't have half such a hard time as I do," said Jo. "How would you like to be shut up for hours with a nervous, fussy old lady, who keeps you trotting, is never satisfied, and worries you till you''e ready to fly out of the window or box her ears?"

"It's naughty to fret, but I do think washing dishes and keeping things tidy is the worst work in the world. It makes me cross; and my hands get so stiff, I can't practise good a bit." And Beth looked at her rough hands with a sigh that any one could hear that time.

"I don't believe any of you suffer as I do," cried Amy; "for you don't have to go to school with impertinent girls, who plague you if you don't know your lessons, and laugh at your dresses, and label your father if he isn't rich, and insult you when your nose isn't nice."

"If you mean libel I'd say so, and not talk about labels, as if pa was a pickle-bottle," advised Jo, laughing.

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Meet the Author

JEFFREY MOUSSAIEFF MASSON is the New York Times bestselling author of several books, including Dogs Never Lie About Love. He lives in New England.

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XXWind in the Willows (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 116 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was disappointed when I got it home to find it had been abridged- the language simplified. I kept it for the illustrations but was very disappointed in the simplified style.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have come to this book for the first time very late. I was swept away by it. This is a children's book only in that it is meant to be read *to* children, not read by them. The vocabulary and sentence structure is out of reach for most young readers, but the rhythmic flow and loveliness of the prose cries to be read aloud. Find a child, cuddle up on the nearest sofa, and read. The story and characters are enough to entrance a child. The prose will entrance the adult.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I got this book on my nook.Its alot better then the hard cover or paper back.You can find the meaning of a word so much faster.Being only 12 this was a great help.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book called The Wind in the Willows is about animals named: Water Rat, Mole, Badger, and Mr. Toad. In this book, Mr. Toad gets hooked on driving motor cars. He crashes them each time and gets hurt, but he still buys more and more. Water Rat, Mole, and Badger all try to stop him from this craze that Mr. Toad had brought on himself. They were finally able to stop him and set him straight by keeping him in Toad Hall and watching over him so he could get out and buy more motor cars. Right after they did that, the bad, mean weasels that came from the Wild Wood invaded Toad Hall. The animals all set up a plan to attack them in order to get Toad Hall back¿Will they get Toad Hall back or not? Read the book called The Wind in the Willows written by Kenneth Grahame to find out. I liked this book because it had some adventure tied into it. it also had good friendships between the animals in it. It showed how friends should act towards each other. I would recommend this book for anyone who likes to read a good story with happiness and friendships.
cinammonbunny More than 1 year ago
the wind in the willows was great!! i love animal stories so i liked this book a lot. also the characters had a lot of personality and i liked reading about Toad and Mole and Ratty and their adventures! except there were still some hard words that i couldn't figure out like sixpence and tranquility. also sometimes i was completely LOST because kenneth grahame used a looooottt of description!
FrancieM More than 1 year ago
This was one of my favorite books when I was a child. My children also loved it. Now I'm reading it to my young grandchildren and they are loving it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fantastic storyline- has some curse words in it, not highly recomended for small children.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was very good! I usually don't like these types of book, but I really enjoyed it. I think the author, Kenneth Grahame wrote this book well. I also think that you would have to have a big imagination to write something like this, and he had one. Overall it surprised me how much I like this book. i would definitely read it again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is off the hook.This on my wishlest.LOVE.IT.
Brasseur More than 1 year ago
This edition of the classic is full of black and white illustrations by Ernest H. Shepard which are spaced at good intervals to keep kids interested as you read. I am quite pleased with it. As to the tale, well, it remains my one of my children's (ages 37 & 34) favorites and we are now introducing it to our twin grandsons (age 6) whose response has been very warm and favorable. We live on west coast and they on east coast and this is a book we've chosen to use for Skype video chats. We read a paragraph, then one of them of their father reads the next. We bought the beautiful annotated version of The Wind in the Willows for them. It, however, has most of its pictures in a center section. That section has illustrations from many, many editions, but these are not spaced throughout the story. By the way, we've used this tandem reading via video chat with other books, including O'Sullivan Stew and Shrek. We've ALL enjoyed it and it, of course, keeps us in the loop a bit better despite the distance between us.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a must read. It is so good i totally recommened it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is my favorite all time "children's" book... the language and wording is definitely a bit beyond the vocabulary and understanding of modern children, but a great one to read aloud. Some of my favorite memories of childhood involve sitting on my mother's lap when she read this book. It is full of dreaminess and imagination - definitely go with an illustrated copy. The picture just make it that much better.
Guest More than 1 year ago
THIS WAS A VERY GOOD BOOK.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A sweet, touching classic full of simplicity and innocence and the true value of friendship.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was an ok read not one of the bests but it was kind of good
Kbmartie More than 1 year ago
I don't think this book is solely a children's book. Every Spring and Summer I find myself pulling this old book out, jumping in the hammock and laying there all day. It is a perfect book for reading outdoors, and if you love animals this is a book for you. I recommend this book to everyone I meet. And I will read it to my children one day.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book shows once again the timelessness of the story. the illustrations are beautiful and the story engages even the smallest of children. lessons to be learned from the adventures. a real find for all ages.
Guest More than 1 year ago
wow. this book is a great book to read to children.i like reading more mature books. but i liked this one . i did not think i would. but you know what they say never judge a book by its cover.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame - overall, this book was okay. It was a little bit boring to me, and the great amount of details sometimes made situations too busy or a little confusing. The characters attitudes and personalities are believeable, but not the characters themselves because they are animals. However, they are well-developed and go with the plot well. The author's tone or style in this book is mainly more serious throughout the story. I would not reccommend this book to everyone, but there are a few types of readers who might enjoy it. I think that readers of any age would like this book, as long as they like fiction, or stories about creatures/animals representing the characters.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was the second time I read this book and just as exciting. There were parts of it that helped me remember the seven virtues of life. It had a cute aspect to it because all of the main charactersare animals. They go through the same proble,s, that human children struggle with but this shows how the outcome might be if they don't get under control I think that Kenneth Grahame was able to hold my attention throughout the entire novel. Something exciting was always happening. There were twists and turnsaround every corner. The fact that the animals are having these fictional adventures based on reality maked it believable. If I had to change one thingabout this novel, I would use a simpler vocabulary. They did define some of the more difficult words but some people might have a hard time comprehending the story or even become frustrated and just give up. If you had to you could look up any hard words, but a synonymwould create the same effect. I learned how some people don't consider the consequences of their actions and how this can affect the people around them. Toad's recklessness towards life hurt his close friends, and it takes a severe punishment to knock some sense into him.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading this book.This book was a positive experince for me because it taut me a lot about friendship and how to be a better friend.One of my favorite scene in this novel was when Toad triked Rat into beleving that he was sick.This is one of my favorites because it shows how clever people can be.My other favorite scene was when Toad drove a car into a poned that was funny.If i were the auther of this book i would change the characters to humans insted of animals.I learned from this book how to be a better friend.I did not gain anything from reading this book.This is a book that i would recommend this to a friend because this is a book that is engaging.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have many fond memories of this book, it was actually the first chapter book I ever read, and I enjoyed it so much, I read it over and over. Because of this, my parents got me a nice hardcover of this classic that I still have to this day. As I grow older, though I have not the time to read it as often as I did, I find that it only improved with age. The language in which the story is written is very poetic and seems to invoke a sense of nostalgia. I simply love this book and would recommend it to anyone.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was fantastic. I loved each character and each conflict. Although this version of the book was very good, other verions and copies are just as good. I will cherish this book for a long time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A group of friends, in Kenneth Grahame¿s Wind in the Willows, go through life¿s adventures and learn lessons about responsibility and companionship. Two of the main characters, Mole and Rat, first meet up with their friend, Badger, when Mole decides to go for a walk and ventures away into the mysterious Wild Woods, where he must be rescued by Rat. As they try to find their way back out of the woods, they come across Badger¿s home, where he joins them for the rest of their voyage. They later on meet up with Toad, another one of the main characters and begin a fun and joyful journey upon his carriage. I found this book to drag on with the main plot never really visible. However, it was still a relaxing read and I would recommend it to those who prefer a subtle story that tells of daily life through the view of others.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The instant classic is a book written for childrenb and even parents will enjoy this book.Kenneth Grahame tells a story of 4 friends and the life lessons they learned!!!