The Wind in the Willows: With Charm

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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 ...
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The Wind in the Willows (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

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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.

One of the true classics of English literature, here are the adventures of Mole, Water Rat, Badger, and Toad. Grahame's idyllic world is as fresh now as when they first discovered his enchanting tales--of Ratty sculling his boat on the River, Badger grumpily entertaining his friends in his comfortable underground home, and the exasperating Toad being driven into one tangle after another by his obsession with motor cars.

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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

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060537234
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/4/2003
  • Series: Charming Classics Series
  • Edition description: Book & Charm
  • Pages: 256
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.12 (w) x 7.62 (h) x 0.51 (d)

Meet the Author

Inga Moore says that illustrating Kenneth Grahame’s famous story was both great fun and a great challenge. "THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS is such a wonderful book that I never tire of reading it. I couldn’t possibly let it down, so I had to do my best work ever." Of the wayward Mr. Toad, she adds, "He is a celebration of the life we would lead if only we could."
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Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1
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. It was 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 nearer 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 remarked jeeringly, 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 the bank, 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 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 stem 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, wiggling with curiosity. “There's cold chicken inside it,” replied the Rat briefly; “coldtonguecoldhamcoldbeefpickledgherkinssalad frenchrollscresssandwidgespottedmeatgingerbeerlemonade sodawater—”
“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 the water 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 smells 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, you can'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 a 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 sprawl at full length on the grass and rest, while his excited friend shook out the tablecloth 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 tablecloth a little.
“I am looking,” said the Mole, “at a streak of bubbles that I see traveling 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 to-day. I came up this 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 houseboat, and pretend we liked it. He was going to spend the rest of his life in a houseboat. 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 not stability—especially in a boat!”
From where they sat they could get a glimpse of the main stream across the island that separated them; and just 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 his 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 lock-keeper? 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 went 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 very plain 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 for the 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.

All new material in this edition is copyright © 1988 by Jane Yolen
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Table of Contents

Foreword ix
Chapter 1 The River Bank 1
Chapter 2 The Open Road 25
Chapter 3 The Wild Wood 48
Chapter 4 Mr. Badger 70
Chapter 5 Dulce Domum 94
Chapter 6 Mr. Toad 121
Chapter 7 The Piper at the Gates of Dawn 146
Chapter 8 Toad's Adventures 165
Chapter 9 Wayfarers All 191
Chapter 10 The Further Adventures of Toad 221
Chapter 11 'Like Summer Tempests Came His Tears' 250
Chapter 12 The Return of Ulysses 281
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First Chapter

The Wind in the Willows Book and Charm

Chapter One

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. It was 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 graveled carriage-drive owned by animals whose residences are nearer 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 remarked jeeringly, 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 the bank, 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 glowworm. 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 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 Wind in the Willows Book and Charm. Copyright © by Kenneth Grahame. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 294 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2007

    The Wind in the Willows - a classic fantasy

    It¿s the start of spring, and the Mole wakes up to a new life. Mole meets the Water Rat and together, they have all sorts of adventures! They meet the Badger and they meet Toad, but the story turns on characters¿ points of view. It changes to Toad¿s view. He has to have all the new things, first it was a rowboat, then it was a carriage, well of course he can do it because he¿s rich! He lives in enormous Toad Hall, where he is the nicest person, but things change once Toad sets his eyes upon the motorcar. The Wind in the Willows is a great book that everyone would love to read. This book is filled with details. When Mole wakes up from hibernation in the beginning of the story, you can see what his little cottage looks like. When the Water Rat was having the picnic on the riverbank with the Mole, you could see every tree, how the water was moving, even the delicious feast set before them. When Toad was in prison, you could see his tiny bed, the girl that came to visit him, and the washerwoman clothes. The Wind in the Willows is filled with many interesting characters. There¿s the Mole, the Water Rat, Toad, the Badger, the Otter, and many more. The Mole is someone who wakes up from hibernation and almost starts a new life, by meeting all of these new people. The Water Rat is adventurous and sometimes a bit dumb, but he¿s an all around nice rat. The Badger is very warm and inviting too, but he usually doesn¿t like Society, he stays to himself. The book has a great moral. `You can¿t always get what you want¿. It¿s true, Toad wanted and motorcar so much, he stole one! He ended up going to jail for it and he had to figure out a way to escape. The Water Rat, the Mole, and the Badger wanted Toad to snap out of wanting a motorcar so badly. He fooled Rat and escaped out of the window and ran away. He didn¿t exactly change but he learned something. The Mole and the Water Rat go on so many adventures in this book, and you will too because The Wind in the Willows is so full of characters that invite you in or tell you to go away. The Wind in the Willows is the perfect book that everyone would enjoy! E. Gray

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 1, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Rewarding in spite of its focus

    Although Kenneth Grahame wrote The Wind in the Willows as a children's story, the book has something to offer adult readers as well. I personally enjoyed the excellent portrayal of such familiar characters as the mole, the badger, and Mr. Toad, as well as Grahame's charming plot and pervasive humor. Additionally, in spite of its deceptive simplicity, the book actually takes an effective look at different aspects of human nature as embodied in the different characters. As far as fantasy is concerned, this book certainly stands out. Though not quite as masterful as A.A. Milne's classic Winnie-the-Pooh stories, The Wind in the Willows is a delightful book that will keep you, as well as your children, thoroughly entertained.

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 9, 2010

    Light, enjoyable read with which to relax.

    Kenneth Grahame has captured our finer human qualities and less desired frailties in the interaction of an unforgettable collection of cute animals.

    Great read for younger and older readers.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Mr Toad and Company

    This was a great little book/story.. Characters were well developed and their adventures were entertaining. Toad gets into so much trouble, but i liked the fact that it teaches us always to be there for friends and not give up on them ! Recommend this book for all wishing to read a cute 'friendship' book !

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2008

    All work and no play makes...

    Whenever I read this book to our son, I think of his mother and I as the mole. All work and no play. To read this book to a child is good all around because it's great entertainment for the child and it gives the reading adult an imaginary escape from the normal 'grind' of an average work-day. On top of that, it's a wonderful adventure that gets a child's mind, and adult's, working in a positive way by telling them to 'take it easy,' take a vacation' and 'don't sweat the small stuff.' Reading this book is very relaxing and all should read it.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2007

    A Real Classic

    This is a tale of four animals, Badger, Mole, Rat and Mr. Toad, that love to go through towns and fields of England. When Mr. Toad starts wrecklessly driving cars, his friends, Badger, Mole, and Rat, try to help Mr. Toad before he gets into trouble. Mr. Toad doesn¿t listen to his friends and gets thrown into jail. Some how one day he escapes. Mr. Toad gets back home to his house and sees it has been taken over by the Wild Wood Weasels and that he has to get it back. This is a funny and adventurous book for all ages. I liked this book because of how the animals are human like. In the story Mr. Toad is the same size as humans. When in jail, after stealing a car, Mr. Toad would talk to the guards daughter. The animals live underground and they all have a fireplace, a kitchen, and bedrooms in their homes. In the story Badger, Mole, Rat, and Mr. Toad fight some weasels with swords and pistols to win back Toad Hall. I liked this book because of how smart Mr. Toad was. When in jail Mr. Toad thought of a plan how to escape. He put on wash woman¿s clothes and walked right out of the jail. When dressed like a wash woman Mr. Toad got a ride almost all the way to his house and no one suspected him as a toad. Mr. Toad was smart in the end to realize that he was foolish to buy all those cars and then wreck them. I didn¿t like the book because it didn¿t tell you what happened too some of the people. What happened to the girl after the guards saw that Mr. Toad was gone? Also, did Mr.Toad ever become friends with the weasels? What happened in the end with Badger, Mole, Rat, and Mr. Toad? This is an exciting and adventurous classic book.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2007

    A WONDERFUL STORY TO ADD TO YOUR SHELF

    To most of us humans, life is full of work and responsibility. Vacation comes once or twice a year, or sometimes not at all. Worry and burdens are a regular part of our day-to-day life. But to the animals of the Wild Wood and the River Bank, most every day is full of nothing but carefree happiness of the sort that comes only when you have absolutely nothing you need to do. It was on a day like this at the beginning of spring that Mole, having just finished his spring cleaning, came across the Water Rat's riverside home. After becoming friends over a plentiful picnic, Mole moved in with Ratty in his cozy hole by the river. And so their adventures began, scattered among perfect, worry-free days. As the summer arrived, Mole learned how to row a boat and how to swim. Mole's interest was soon caught by the troublesome Toad, who's passionate interests changed nearly once a month. Toad's current fad was riding in elegant, furnished carts, and a short while ago he spent every hour of his days boating. Although he got distracted rather easily, Toad was an extremely nice animal overall, and so when he asked his good friend Ratty and his new friend Mole to accompany him on a cart ride, they grudgingly obliged. They hadn't been on the gone for a week when a gleaming motor car had rushed down the road, knocking the beautifully painted canary yellow cart into a ditch. But Toad couldn't care less about that ordinary cart. All he wanted was to drive a motor car, zooming down the road, crushing all in his path. He would be king of the road, he would. He was the fabulous Toad, the ingenious Toad, the wealthy Toad, the handsome Toad¿¿he was the Toad, and he wanted a motor car. With Toad's new obsession came a new series of events, most of them involving motor car thieving and crashing. Before long, Toad had been in jail a number of times and was spending all his money on tickets and new motor cars. The situation started getting truly out of hand when Toad was sent to jail and untrustworthy animals of the Wild Wood took over his grand home, Toad Hall. Ratty and Mole had no choice but to seek the assistance of their honorable friend, Badger, to assist the attempts to reclaim Toad Hall. The Wind in the Willows is a story of friendship, and a story that I greatly recommend. There is no story without characters, and, as sure as Mole is sensible, the fact that the characters in this story are extremely similar to humans and very likable is one of the reasons that this book is so wonderful. Each character in the story has a separate personality. Toad is unbelievably irrepressible and convincing, escaping prison 'with help' countless times. He is also quite vain, though, and would spend hours talking about how spectacularly wonderful he is, if given the chance. Ratty is gentle, thoughtful, and kind, acting on the benefit and pleasure of others instead of himself. Water Rat is dreamy, as well, spending his lazy summer days on the riverbank thinking up countless poems. Mole is sensible and obedient, always behaving as his friends want him to and helping everyone out of tricky situations with his acting skills. Last, but definitely not least, is Badger, who lives deep in the Wild Wood and is respected by all the animals that come across him. Badger is wise and generous, coming up with a perfect plan to reclaim Toad Hall and save his friend Toad. The author of this book, Kenneth Grahame, has filled the chapters of the story with such description that the reader can practically see the story as one giant, moving picture. The reader can hear the wind whistling through the reeds and the river splash against rocks. Badger's house can easily be viewed simply by reading words, as can Mole and Ratty's picnic and Toad's motor car. With a touch of the reader's imagination, this story will be a real experience, the true life of four lucky animals: Mole, Ratty, Badger

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2013

    LOVE!!

    LOVE BOOK SO MUCH!!
    CRAZY GIRL;)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2012

    I highly recommend it!

    The Wind in the Willows was a very good book. It seemed very suitable for almost any age range. I could almost see my friends and relatives in the animals involved, especially Badger and Rat.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2012

    Bd

    D

    1 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2012

    Great Book

    Kenneth Grahame wrote a wonderful book with wonderful characters. This book really does capture the imagination and won't leave you disappointed.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2012

    HIghly Recommend

    When I was a child I was not exposed to many children books. Therefore,as a black american adult, I enjoyed reading this book. It is a shame that technology has diversified our chidlrens interest to video games, vampires and zombie movies and xbox, before sitting down to read.
    This book provides morals,such as friendship bonding,responsibility and knowing the importance of staying on course, animal migration.
    As an educator, I would recommend this book to read during the summer.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 15, 2011

    Ama! Amaz............!!!!!!

    Great book

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 11, 2011

    Great Read

    Alomg the lines of Watership Down. A wonderful escape from reality.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 3, 2011

    Recommended

    Terrific story! I thought I had read this book as a child and some of the story did seem familiar to me. But, I may have just been remembering snippets of it from other sources. There was a lot more to the story than one first thinks. The 4 animals get along so well even though they are very different from each other. Reading this e-book version, though, does have its drawbacks. There are many footnotes and definitions, but they, of course are listed at the end of the book. And with e-books, it can be cumbersome to go back and forth. But, all the extra information is contained in this version, so overall, that is a plus.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2013

    The wind in the willow

    The book wind in the willlow is a good book because you can express yourself with it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2013

    STUPID

    Stupid BORING

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2013

    Tedschloss@gmail.com

    My account add me

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2013

    I haven't read the book but what I will do is review the packagi

    I haven't read the book but what I will do is review the packaging, cover, decoration and illustrations very quickly. May I add that I am a UK customer, so had to pay the extra international shipping fees. I found these a little steep until the book arrived today. Worth. Every. Penny. The book is simply stunning, with a lot of creative detail included. The illustrations look fantastic, the pages and cover are also immaculate. The packaging was secure and the book has arrived undamaged and in perfect condition (Even travelling around the world!) and I am one happy customer! I already own two B&N classics (Sherlock Holmes, Oscar Wilde) but this is by far the best of the trio. Thank you! Buy buy!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2013

    Great

    Should ne jist good as the regular book

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