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


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

Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date:
Tor Classics Series
Edition description:
Complete and Unabridged
Product dimensions:
4.26(w) x 6.60(h) x 0.67(d)
Age Range:
6 - 11 Years

Read an Excerpt

The Wind in the Willows

* I *

The River Bank

The Mole had been working very hard all the morning, spring-cleaning his little home. First with brooms, then with dusters; then on ladders and steps and chairs, with a brush and a pail of whitewash; till he had dust in his throat and eyes, and splashes of whitewash all over his black fur, and an aching back and weary arms. Spring was moving in the air above and in the earth below and around him, penetrating even his dark and lowly little house with its spirit of divine discontent and longing. Itwas small wonder, then, that he suddenly flung down his brush on the floor, said "Bother!" and "O blow!" and also "Hang spring-cleaning!" and bolted out of the house without even waiting to put on his coat. Something up above was calling him imperiously, and he made for the steep little tunnel which answered in his case to the gravelled carriage-drive owned by animals whose residences are near to the sun and air. So he scraped and scratched and scrabbled and scrooged, and then he scrooged again and scrabbled and scratched and scraped, working busily with his little paws and muttering to himself, "Up we go! Up we go!" till at last, pop! his snout came out into the sunlight and he found himself rolling in the warm grass of a great meadow.

"This is fine!" he said to himself. "This is better than whitewashing!" The sunshine struck hot on his fur, soft breezes caressed his heated brow, and after the seclusion of the cellarage he had lived in so long the carol of happy birds fell on his dulled hearing almost like a shout. Jumping off all his four legs at once, in the joy of living and the delight of spring without its cleaning, he pursued his way across the meadow till he reached the hedge on the further side.

"Hold up!" said an elderly rabbit at the gap. "Sixpence for the privilege of passing by the private road!" He was bowled over in an instant by the impatient and contemptuous Mole, who trotted along the side of the hedge chaffing the other rabbits as they peeped hurriedly from their holes to see what the row was about. "Onion-sauce! Onion-sauce!" he remarkedjeeringly, and was gone before they could think of a thoroughly satisfactory reply. Then they all started grumbling at each other. "How stupid you are! Why didn't you tell him-" "Well, why didn't you say-" "You might have reminded him-" and so on, in the usual way; but of course, it was then much too late, as is always the case.

It all seemed too good to be true. Hither and thither through the meadows he rambled busily, along the hedgerows, across the copses, finding everywhere birds building, flowers budding, leaves thrusting — everything happy, and progressive, and occupied. And instead of having an uneasy conscience pricking him and whispering "Whitewash!" he somehow could only feel how jolly it was to be the only idle dog among all these busy citizens. After all, the best part of a holiday is perhaps not so much to be resting yourself, as to see all the other fellows busy working.

He thought his happiness was complete when, as he meandered aimlessly along, suddenly he stood by the edge of a full-fed river. Never in his life had he seen a river before — this sleek, sinuous, full-bodied animal, chasing and chuckling, gripping things with a gurgle and leaving them with a laugh, to fling itself on fresh playmates that shook themselves free, and were caught and held again. All was a-shake and a-shiver-glints and gleams and sparkles, rustle and swirl, chatter and bubble. The Mole was bewitched, entranced, fascinated. By the side of the river he trotted as one trots, when very small, by the side of a man who holds one spellbound by exciting stories; and when tired at last, he sat on thebank, while the river still chattered on to him, a babbling procession of the best stories in the world, sent from the heart of the earth to be told at last to the insatiable sea.

As he sat on the grass and looked across the river, a dark hole in the bank opposite, just above the water's edge, caught his eye, and dreamily he fell to considering what a nice snug dwelling-place it would make for an animal with few wants and fond of a bijou riverside residence, above flood level and remote from noise and dust. As he gazed, something bright and small seemed to twinkle down in the heart of it, vanished, then twinkled once more like a tiny star. But it could hardly be a star in such an unlikely situation; and it was too glittering and small for a glow-worm. Then, as he looked, it winked at him and so declared itself to be an eye; and a small face began gradually to grow up round it, like a frame round a picture.

A brown little face, with whiskers.

A grave round face, with the same twinkle in its eye that had first attracted his notice.

Small neat ears and thick silky hair. It was the Water Rat!

Then the two animals stood and regarded each other cautiously.

"Hullo, Mole!" said the Water Rat.

"Hullo, Rat!" said the Mole.

"Would you like to come over?" inquired the Rat presently.

"Oh, it's all very well to talk," said the Mole, rather pettishly, he being new to a river and riverside life and its ways.

The Rat said nothing, but stooped and unfastened a rope and hauled on it; then lightly stepped into a little boat which the Mole had not observed. It was painted blue outside and white within, and was just the size for the two animals; and the Mole's whole heart went out to it at once, even though he did not yet fully understand its uses.

The Rat sculled smartly across and made fast. Then he held up his fore-paw as the Mole stepped gingerly down. "Lean on that!" he said. "Now then, step lively!" and the Mole to his surprise and rapture found himself actually seated in the stern of a real boat.

"This has been a wonderful day!" said he, as the Rat shoved off and took to the sculls again. "Do you know, I've never been in a boat before in all my life."

"What?" cried the Rat, open-mouthed: "Never been in a - you never - well, I - what have you been doing, then?"

"Is it so nice as all that?" asked the Mole shyly, though he was quite prepared to believe it as he leant back in his seat and surveyed the cushions, the oars, the rowlocks, and all the fascinating fittings, and felt the boat sway lightly under him.

"Nice? It's the only thing," said the Water Rat solemnly, as he leant forward for his stroke. "Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing — absolutely nothing — half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Simply messing," he went on dreamily: "messing — about — in — boats; messing —"

"Look ahead, Rat!" cried the Mole suddenly.

It was too late. The boat struck the bank full tilt. The dreamer, the joyous oarsman, lay on his back at the bottom of the boat, his heels in the air.

"— about in boats — or with boats," the Rat went on composedly, picking himself up with a pleasant laugh. "In or out of 'em, it doesn't matter. Nothing seems really to matter, that's the charm of it. Whether you get away, or whether you don't; whether you arrive at your destination or whether you reach somewhere else, or whether you never get anywhere at all, you're always busy, and you never do anything in particular; and when you've done it there's always something else to do, and you can do it if you like, but you'd much better not.

Look here! If you've really nothing else on hand this morning, supposing we drop down the river together, and have a long day of it?"

The Mole waggled his toes from sheer happiness, spread his chest with a sigh of full contentment, and leaned back blissfully into the soft cushions. "What a day I'm having!" he said. "Let us start at once!"

"Hold hard a minute, then!" said the Rat. He looped the painter through a ring in his landing-stage, climbed up into his hole above, and after a short interval reappeared staggering under a fat, wicker luncheon-basket.

"Shove that under your feet," he observed to the Mole, as he passed it down into the boat. Then he untied the painter and took the sculls again.

"What's inside it?" asked the Mole, wriggling with curiosity.

"There's cold chicken inside it," replied the Rat briefly; "coldtonguecoldhamcoldbeefpickledgherkins saladfrenchrollscresssandwidgespottedmeatgingerbeer lemonadesodawater-"

"O stop, stop," cried the Mole in ecstasies: "This is too much!"

"Do you really think so? inquired the Rat seriously."It's only what I always take on these little excursions; and the other animals are always telling me that I'm a mean beast and cut it very fine!"

The Mole never heard a word he was saying. Absorbed in the new life he was entering upon, intoxicated with the sparkle, the ripple, the scents and the sounds and the sunlight, he trailed a paw in thewater and dreamed long waking dreams. The Water Rat, like the good little fellow he was, sculled steadily on and forbore to disturb him.

"I like your clothes awfully, old chap," he remarked after some half an hour or so had passed. "I'm going to get a black velvet smoking-suit myself some day, as soon as I can afford it."

"I beg your pardon," said the Mole, pulling himself together with an effort. "You must think me very rude; but all this is so new to me. So — this — is — a — River!"

"The River," corrected the Rat.

"And you really live by the river? What a jolly life!"

"By it and with it and on it and in it," said the Rat. "It's brother and sister to me, and aunts, and company, and food and drink, and (naturally) washing. It's my world, and I don't want any other. What it hasn't got is not worth having, and what it doesn't know is not worth knowing. Lord! the times we've had together! Whether in winter or summer, spring or autumn, it's always got its fun and its excitements. When the floods are on in February, and my cellars and basement are brimming with drink that's no good to me, and the brown water runs by my best bedroom window; or again when it all drops away and shows patches of mud that smell like plum-cake, and the rushes and weed clog the channels, and I can potter about dry-shod over most of the bed of it and find fresh food to eat, and things careless people have dropped out of boats!"

"But isn't it a bit dull at times?" the Mole ventured to ask. "Just you and the river, and no one else to pass a word with?"

"No one else to — well, I mustn't be hard on you," said the Rat with forbearance. "You're new to it, and of course you don't know. The bank is so crowded nowadays that many people are moving away altogether. O no, it isn't what it used to be, at all. Otters, kingfishers, dabchicks, moorhens, all of them about all day long and always wanting you to do something — as if a fellow had no business of his own to attend to!"

"What lies over there?" asked the Mole, waving a paw towards a background of woodland that darkly framed the water-meadows on one side of the river.

"That? O, that's just the Wild Wood," said the Rat shortly. "We don't go there very much, we river-bankers."

"Aren't they — aren't they very nice people in there?" said the Mole a trifle nervously.

"W-e-ll," replied the Rat, "let me see. The squirrels are all right. And the rabbits — some of 'em, but rabbits are a mixed lot. And then there's Badger, of course. He lives right in the heart of it; wouldn't live anywhere else, either, if you paid him to do it. Dear old Badger! Nobody interferes with him. They'd better not," he added significantly.

"Why, who should interfere with him?" asked the Mole.

"Well, of course — there — are others," explained the Rat in a hesitating sort of way. "Weasels - and stoats — and foxes — and so on. They're all right in a way — I'm very good friends with them — pass the time of day when we meet, and all that — but they break out sometimes, there's no denying it, and then — well, youcan't really trust them, and that's the fact."

The Mole knew well that it is quite against animal-etiquette to dwell on possible trouble ahead, or even to allude to it; so he dropped the subject.

"And beyond the Wild Wood again?" he asked: "Where it's all blue and dim, and one sees what may be hills or perhaps they mayn't, and something like the smoke of towns, or is it only cloud-drift?"

"Beyond the Wild Wood comes the Wide World," said the Rat. "And that's something that doesn't matter, either to you or me. I've never been there, and I'm never going, nor you either, if you've got any sense at all. Don't ever refer to it again, please. Now then! Here's our backwater at last, where we're going to lunch."

Leaving the main stream, they now passed into what seemed at first sight like a little land-locked lake. Green turf sloped down to either edge, brown snaky tree-roots gleamed below the surface of the quiet water, while ahead of them the silvery shoulder and foamy tumble of a weir, arm-in-arm with a restless dripping mill-wheel, that held up in its turn a grey-gabled mill-house, filled the air with soothing murmur of sound, dull and smothery, yet with little clear voices speaking up cheerfully out of it at intervals. It was so very beautiful that the Mole could only hold up both fore-paws and gasp, "O my! O my! O my!"

The Rat brought the boat alongside the bank, made her fast, helped the still awkward Mole safely ashore, and swung out the luncheon-basket. The Mole begged as a favour to be allowed to unpack it all by himself; and the Rat was very pleased to indulge him, and to sprawlat full length on the grass and rest, while his excited friend shook out the table-cloth and spread it, took out all the mysterious packets one by one and arranged their contents in due order, still gasping, "O my! O my!" at each fresh revelation. When all was ready, the Rat said, "Now, pitch in, old fellow!" and the Mole was indeed very glad to obey, for he had started his spring-cleaning at a very early hour that morning, as people will do, and had not paused for bite or sup; and he had been through a very great deal since that distant time which now seemed so many days ago.

"What are you looking at?" said the Rat presently, when the edge of their hunger was somewhat dulled, and the Mole's eyes were able to wander off the table-cloth a little.

"I am looking," said the Mole, "at a streak of bubbles that I see travelling along the surface of the water. That is a thing that strikes me as funny"

"Bubbles? Oho!" said the Rat, and chirruped cheerily in an inviting sort of way.

A broad glistening muzzle showed itself above the edge of the bank, and the Otter hauled himself out and shook the water from his coat.

"Greedy beggars!" he observed, making for the provender. "Why didn't you invite me, Ratty?"

"This was an impromptu affair," explained the Rat. "By the way - my friend Mr Mole."

"Proud, I'm sure," said the Otter, and the two animals were friends forthwith.

"Such a rumpus everywhere!" continued the Otter. "All the world seems out on the river today I came upthis backwater to try and get a moment's peace, and then stumble upon you fellows! — At least — I beg pardon — I don't exactly mean that, you know."

There was a rustle behind them proceeding from a hedge wherein last year's leaves still clung thick, and a stripy head, with high shoulders behind it, peered forth on them.

"Come on, old Badger!" shouted the Rat.

The Badger trotted forward a pace or two; then grunted, "H'm! Company," and turned his back and disappeared from view.

"That's just the sort of fellow he is!" observed the disappointed Rat. "Simply hates Society! Now we shan't see any more of him to-day Well, tell us who's out on the river?"

"Toad's out, for one," replied the Otter. "In his brand-new wager-boat; new togs, new everything!"

The two animals looked at each other and laughed.

"Once, it was nothing but sailing," said the Rat. "Then he tired of that and took to punting. Nothing would please him but to punt all day and every day, and a nice mess he made of it. Last year it was house-boating, and we all had to go and stay with him in his house-boat, and pretend we liked it. He was going to spend the rest of his life in a house-boat. It's all the same, whatever he takes up; he gets tired of it, and starts on something fresh."

"Such a good fellow, too," remarked the Otter reflectively. "But no stability — especially in a boat!"

From where they sat they could get a glimpse of the main stream across the island that separated them; andjust then a wager-boat flashed into view, the rower — a short, stout figure - splashing badly and rolling a good deal, but working his hardest. The Rat stood up and hailed him, but Toad — for it was he — shook his head and settled sternly to this work.

"He'll be out of the boat in a minute if he rolls like that," said the Rat, sitting down again.

"Of course he will," chuckled the Otter. "Did I ever tell you that good story about Toad and the lockkeeper? It happened this way Toad ..."

An errant May-fly swerved unsteadily athwart the current in the intoxicated fashion affected by young bloods of May-flies seeing life. A swirl of water and a "cloop!" and the May-fly was visible no more.

Neither was the Otter.

The Mole looked down. The voice was still in his ears, but the turf whereon he had sprawled was clearly vacant. Not an Otter to be seen, as far as the distant horizon.

But again there was a streak of bubbles on the surface of the river.

The Rat hummed a tune, and the Mole recollected that animal-etiquette forbade any sort of comment on the sudden disappearance of one's friends at any moment, for any reason or no reason whatever.

"Well, well," said the Rat, "I suppose we ought to be moving. I wonder which of us had better pack the luncheon-basket?" He did not speak as if he was frightfully eager for the treat.

"O, please let me," said the Mole. So, of course, the Rat let him.

Packing the basket was not quite such pleasant work as unpacking the basket. It never is. But the Mole was bent on enjoying everything, and although just when he had got the basket packed and strapped up tightly he saw a plate staring up at him from the grass, and when the job had been done again the Rat pointed out a fork which anybody ought to have seen, and last of all, behold! the mustard pot, which he had been sitting on without knowing it — still, somehow the thing got finished at last, without much loss of temper.

The afternoon sun was getting low as the Rat sculled gently homewards in a dreamy mood, murmuring poetry-things over to himself, and not paying much attention to Mole. But the Mole was very full of lunch, and self-satisfaction, and pride, and already quite at home in a boat (so he thought) and was getting a bit restless besides: and presently he said, "Ratty! Please, I want to row, now!"

The Rat shook his head with a smile. "Not yet, my young friend," he said — "wait till you've had a few lessons. It's not so easy as it looks."

The Mole was quiet for a minute or two. But he began to feel more and more jealous of Rat, sculling so strongly and so easily along, and his pride began to whisper that he could do it every bit as well. He jumped up and seized the sculls, so suddenly, that the Rat, who was gazing out over the water and saying more poetry-things to himself, was taken by surprise and fell backwards off his seat with his legs in the air for the second time, while the triumphant Mole took his place and grabbed the sculls with entire confidence.

"Stop it, you silly ass!" cried the Rat, from the bottom of the boat. "You can't do it! You'll have us over!"

The Mole flung his sculls back with a flourish, and made a great dig at the water. He missed the surface altogether, his legs flew up above his head, and he found himself lying on the top of the prostrate Rat. Greatly alarmed, he made a grab at the side of the boat, and the next moment-Sploosh!

Over went the boat, and he found himself struggling in the river.

O my, how cold the water was, and O, how very wet it felt. How it sang in his ears as he want down, down, down! How bright and welcome the sun looked as he rose to the surface coughing and spluttering! How black was his despair when he felt himself sinking again! Then a firm paw gripped him by the back of his neck. It was the Rat, and he was evidently laughing - the Mole could feel him laughing, right down his arm and through his paw, and so into his — the Mole's — neck.

The Rat got hold of a scull and shoved it under the Mole's arm; then he did the same by the other side of him and, swimming behind, propelled the helpless animal to shore, hauled him out, and set him down on the bank, a squashy, pulpy lump of misery.

When the Rat had rubbed him down a bit, and wrung some of the wet out of him, he said, "Now then, old fellow! Trot up and down the towing-path as hard as you can, till you're warm and dry again, while I dive for the luncheon-basket."

So the dismal Mole, wet without and ashamed within, trotted about till he was fairly dry, while the Rat plunged into the water again, recovered the boat, righted her and made her fast, fetched his floating property to shore by degrees, and finally dived successfully for the luncheon-basket and struggled to land with it.

When all was ready for a start once more, the Mole, limp and dejected, took his seat in the stern of the boat; and as they set off, he said in a low voice, broken with emotion, "Ratty, my generous friend! I am very sorry indeed for my foolish and ungrateful conduct. My heart quite fails me when I think how I might have lost that beautiful luncheon-basket. Indeed, I have been a complete ass, and I know it. Will you overlook it this once and forgive me, and let things go on as before?"

"That's all right, bless you!" responded the Rat cheerily. "What's a little wet to a Water Rat? I'm more in the water than out of it most days. Don't you think any more about it; and, look here! I really think you had better come and stop with me for a little time. It's veryplain and rough, you know - not like Toad's house at all — but you haven't seen that yet; still, I can make you comfortable. And I'll teach you to row, and to swim, and you'll soon be as handy on the water as any of us."

The Mole was so touched by his kind manner of speaking that he could find no voice to answer him; and he had to brush away a tear or two with the back of his paw. But the Rat kindly looked in another direction, and presently the Mole's spirits revived again, and he was even able to give some straight back-talk to a couple of moorhens who were sniggering to each other about his bedraggled appearance.

When they got home, the Rat made a bright fire in the parlour, and planted the Mole in an arm-chair in front of it, having fetched down a dressing-gown and slippers for him, and told him river stories till suppertime. Very thrilling stories they were, too, to an earth-dwelling animal like Mole. Stories about weirs, and sudden floods, and leaping pike, and steamers that flung hard bottles — at least bottles were certainly flung, and from steamers, so presumably by them; and about herons, and how particular they were whom they spoke to; and about adventures down drains, and night-fishings with Otter, or excursions far afield with Badger. Supper was a most cheerful meal; but very shortly afterwards a terribly sleepy Mole had to be escorted upstairs by his considerate host, to the best bedroom, where he soon laid his head on his pillow in great peace and contentment, knowing that his new-found friend the River was lapping the sill of his window.

This day was only the first of many similar ones forthe emancipated Mole, each of them longer and fuller of interest as the ripening summer moved onward. He learnt to swim and to row, and entered into the joy of running water; and with his ear to the reed-stems he caught, at intervals, something of what the wind went whispering so constantly among them.

THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS. Illustrations copyright © 1994 by Patrick Benson. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews. For information, address St. Martin's Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10010.

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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!!!