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.
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.
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
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)
Read an Excerpt
"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.