The Wind in the Willows

The Wind in the Willows

4.2 116
by Kenneth Grahame, Les Morrill

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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


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

Library Journal

Originally published in France in 1996, this edition collects the four corresponding English-language volumes that were first issued between 1997 and 2002 by NBM. Plessix's style has been called "detailed impressionism," and the limpid watercolors of his lavish adaptation give that "Somewhere Else" quality to the classic story-2008 is the 100th anniversary of Graham's novel. So many adaptations have so little space to work in that they seem more like CliffsNotes versions. But Plessix has truly adapted the tale with most of the narrative details intact-and a few new twists at the end. And while the anthropomorphic animal characters have a cute, cartoony quality, the overall effect of a timeless, golden world is not thereby disrupted; all the looniness and love of nature from the original come through beautifully. Somehow the world of Mole and his friends suggests an animal Hobbiton in a Ring-less alternative universe, where talking animals and humans coexist amid a gloriously bucolic world of water, woods, and fields based on preindustrial rural England. Unfortunately, the pages are a little too small to showcase the details of Plessix's lush art as it deserves. For all ages.
—Martha Cornog

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
The New York Times
The old characters pop back to life as you begin reading.
The Chicago Tribune
Faithful to the original...Festive...A winsome winner.
Cleveland Plain Dealer
Patrick Benson's cross-hatched illustrations seem to have been lovingly guided by the hand of Ernest Shepard, whose 1931 drawings of The Wind in the Willows continue to transport young readers to meadow, riverbank, and wildwood.
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
School Library Journal
Gr 1–4—Grahame's early-20th-century classic is enhanced by lovely watercolor illustrations that provide a contemporary and packed-with-charisma accompaniment. The anthropomorphized characters, all fashionably turned out in Edwardian costume, are vivified with expressive facial features and twinkling eyes. Detailed settings range from Ratty's cozy and colorfully decorated waterside home to the elegant grandeur of Toad Hall to Mole's understated tunnel-shaped abode. The beautifully composed outdoor scenes sparkle with season-appropriate hues: a springtime rowing jaunt down a sunlit river is framed by trailing willow trees, and a wintertime excursion into the Wild Wood is evoked with lavender skies, intertwined tree barks in swirling grays, and an overlay of heavy white snowflakes. In addition to the geometric drawings that embellish each chapter title, designs made from bold shapes and bright constrasting colors appear throughout, adding an Art Deco flair. Ranging from small vignettes to full-bleed double pages, the artwork embellishes almost every spread, engaging independent readers and reeling in younger listeners with entertaining antics, gentle humor, and genial affection.—Joy Fleishhacker, School Library Journal
Kirkus Reviews
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

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.16(w) x 6.86(h) x 0.56(d)
Age Range:
12 Years

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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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
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!!!