Like his renowned countryman Lewis Carroll, British author Kenneth Grahame (1859–1932) found writing tales for children a pleasant diversion from his regular duties in the everyday world. The Wind in the Willows, his most memorable collection of stories, is today a much-loved classic of children's literature.
Begun as a series of bedtime stories that Grahame, a bank executive, told his young son, this engaging fantasy recounts the whimsical adventures of a delightful company of animals — among them Mole, Ray, Badger, and Toad — all of whom possess decidedly human characteristics.
This charming new version, with over 30 original illustrations by Thea Kliros, has been specially prepared for young readers and retains all the character and flavor of the original stories. Once again youngsters follow the shy but curious Mole as he sets out one spring day from his little underground home and is befriended by the extremely personable Water Rat, who introduces him to Badger, the reclusive philosopher, and to pleasure-seeking Toad of Toad Hall.
Children and adults alike will fall under the charming spell of this humorous potpourri of make-believe as it paints a gently satirical picture of loyalties, weakness, and extravagant behavior.
About the Author
Kenneth Grahame (18591932) was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, the third of four children. When he was five, his mother died, and his father sent the children to live with relatives in England. Kindly treated yet emotionally isolated, the Grahame children constructed a world of childhood pleasures. Although Kenneth left that world at the age of nine when he went to St. Edward’s School, its memory remained alive, even when he found no equal happiness in his adult life. Lack of funds ended his dream of attending Oxford and forced him to take a position with the Bank of England, where he had a successful career. In 1891, he anonymously published the first of his evocations of childhood, The Olympians, in The National Observer. The Golden Age (1895) and Dream Days (1898) established his fame. The Wind in the Willows, written to entertain his son, Alastair, was published in 1908. He wrote little thereafter, spending his remaining years in extensive traveling and in final retreat to the tranquility of the English countryside.
Luanne Rice is the New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty novels, including The Lemon Orchard, Summer of Roses, Silver Bells, and Beach Girls. Her books have inspired television movies on TNT, CBS, and Hallmark Hall of Fame and a six-hour miniseries on Lifetime. She lives in New York City and Southern California.
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.
Table of Contents
1. The River Bank
2. The Open Road
3. The Wild Wood
4. Mr. Badger
5. Home, Sweet Home
6. Mr. Toad
7. Toad's Adventures
8. The Further Adventures of Toad
9. Toad Hall Recaptured
What People are Saying About This
“Narrator Shelly Frasier's clear, pleasant voice carefully distinguishes [Rat, Toad, Mole, and Badger].... The naughty toad is her best creation-she seems to understand his dreamy but destructive love of motor cars completely.” -AudioFile
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The Wind in the Willows is a classic story of animals and their world. It is a bit confusing on how they relate to humans in the story but it is also very enjoyable. I have this book and find it very interesting. It talks of the liberty of life and of the wild. Imagine being in this book and you would feel total peace with the world. Toad is the livliest of the characters with a passion for everything new and exciting. Mole and Rat are both mostly practical in thier ways but still have their own personalities. Badger is the wise old one of them all and seems to rule them. They are all sweet and magnificent characters, although I find the sequal, the Willows in Winter, somewhat different than the first book, I still enjoyed it too. It is strange but it makes everything seem enchanted with the pull of nature.
Finally, people who have read the book. My grevious apologies, but I did not find this book to be of the same standards of the works of William Horwood, the writer that continued the series. People may argue that it is plagerism, but he did do a very fine job. This is the begining of a series, a classic. It is the story of animals that go off and ammuse themselves by having adventures. It was a good book, but a bit odd in parts. I cannot complain because I grew up enjoying the story. Over all, it is a pleasing story.
I love The Wind in the Willows. It is such a fun book. It is about the adventures of the comical Mr. Toad and his three friends who try to help him: A. MacBadger, Mr. Moley, and Mr.Ratty. They are very funny characters and it is a delightful book.