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The Wind in the Willows

The Wind in the Willows

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The Wind in the Willows

ratings:
4/5 (2,712 ratings)
Length:
214 pages
3 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Apr 11, 2015
ISBN:
9786155565212
Format:
Book

Description

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 gavelled 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.

Publisher:
Released:
Apr 11, 2015
ISBN:
9786155565212
Format:
Book

About the author

Murat Ukray, aynı zamanda yayıncılık da yapan yazar, 1976 yılında İstanbul'da doğdu. Üniversite'de Elektronik Mühendisliği okuduktan sonra, Yazarlık ve Yayıncılık hayatına atıldı. Yayınlanmış -16- kitabı vardır. Çöl Gezegen, Yazarın 16. Kitabıdır.Yazarın yayınlanmış diğer Kitapları:1- Kıyamet Gerçekliği (Kurgu Roman) (2006)2- Birleşik Alan Teorisi (Teori - Fizik & Matematik) (2007)3- İsevilik İşaretleri (Araştırma) (2008)4- Yaratılış Gerçekliği- 2 Cilt (Biyokimya Atlası)(2009)5- Aşk-ı Mesnevi (Kurgu Roman) (2010)6- Zamanın Sahipleri (Deneme) (2011)7- Hanımlar Rehberi (İlmihal) (2012)8- Eskilerin Masalları (Araştırma) (2013)9- Ruyet-ul Gayb (Haberci Rüyalar) (Deneme) (2014)10- Sonsuzluğun Sonsuzluğu (114 Kod) (Teori & Deneme) (2015)11- Kanon (Kutsal Kitapların Yeni Bir Yorumu) (Teori & Araştırma) (2016)12- Küçük Elisa (Zaman Yolcusu) (Çocuk Kitabı) (2017)13- Tanrı'nın Işıkları (Çölde Başlayan Hikaye) (Bilim-Kurgu Roman) (2018)14- Son Kehanet- 2 Cilt (Bilim-Kurgu Roman) (2019)15- Medusa'nın Sırrı (Bilim-Kurgu Roman) (2020)16- Çöl Gezegen (Bilim-Kurgu Roman) (2021)


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The Wind in the Willows - Murat Ukray

Table of Contents

The Wind In the Willows

I. The River Bank

II. The Open Road

III. The Wild Wood

IV. Mr. Badger

V. Dulce Donum

VI. Mr. Toad

VII. The Piper at the Gates of Dawn

VIII. Toad’s Adventures

IX. Wayfarers All

X. The Further Adventures of Toad

XI. 'Like Summer Tempests Came His Tears'

XII. The Returns of Ulysses


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. 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 gavelled 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 spell-bound 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?' enquired the Rat presently.

'Oh, its 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 forepaw 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—absolute 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;

'coldtonguecoldhamcoldbeefpickledgherkinssaladfrenchrollscresssandwichespottedmeatgingerbeerlemonadesodawater——'

'O stop, stop,' cried the Mole in ecstacies: 'This is too much!'

'Do you really think so?' enquired 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 forebore 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 forepaws 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 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 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

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What people think about The Wind in the Willows

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2712 ratings / 132 Reviews
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  • (4/5)
    The Wind in the Willows is as daffy and charming as it must have seemed when it was first published in 1908. Kenneth Grahame’s classic children’s novel follows the anthropomorphic adventures of several woodland creatures, primarily Mole, Rat, Badger, and Toad. They enjoy many pastimes, including “messing about in boats,” Christmas caroling, and driving motor cars. This last becomes Mr. Toad’s passion, landing him in all sorts of trouble and, eventually, a dungeon. The animals have many adventures along the river and in the Wild Wood, but they all love home best, where they like to cozy up in front of a fireplace and enjoy simple meals with friends. What makes the book so funny is how the animals live alongside people, doing people things, but without exciting comment. And they do it all regardless of the comparative size of things. Mole and Rat harness a horse to a gypsy caravan, field mice slice a ham and fry it for breakfast, Toad drives people cars and wears a washerwoman’s clothes to escape from prison. It is easy to see why this book remains popular. Among other claims to fame, Teddy Roosevelt said he read it several times, P.G. Wodehouse was clearly influenced by the lighthearted humor (one of his novels, Joy in the Morning, shares the same title as the carol sung by the field mice), and it shows up as one of Radcliffe's Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century. Also posted on Rose City Reader.
  • (5/5)
    I managed to avoid somehow or other reading the complete Wind in the Willows until I was well into adulthood. Of course, it is probably impossible to escape bits of it such as Ratty's wise words...'Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Simply messing...."But I found myself reading the full version around the 100 year anniversary of its original publication in 1908. And, despite myself. Quite enjoyed it. There is a bit of the class struggle reflected in it with Toad representing the worst of inherited wealth and privilige and ratty the best blend of smarts and good-heartedness. But really, I didn't buy this book for the story and I already have 3 other copies of the W/W. I bought for the wonderful illustrations by Robert Ingpen. He really is a favourite illustrator of mine. And, as is pointed out in the preface, it is no mean challenge to illustrate a book where everyone has their own mental pictures of Toa's caravan, or of the wild wood, or ratty and Mole's boating expedition etc. But, to my mind, the Ingpen version is simply one of the best, His style is semi realist.....realist enough for one to enjoy the warmth of Badger's fire and the food hanging from the ceiling of his abode. (p 60-61). It doesn't do to be too critical however; Badger's kitchen is true to the text with the glow and the warmth of the fire-lit kitchen whereas a REAK Badger's lair would be pitch black and maybe damp and certainly smelly. There is so much fun detail in Inpen's paintings. (I assume they are watercolour) but not quite sure. And they fade into a blurriness that hints at more details but just not enough to resolve. His draftsmanship is superb and he manages to faithfully portray the various animals whilst bestowing a pleasing familiarity upon them. I don't know how many illustrations there are in the book but did a quick sample count and it averages out at 7.5 illustrations per 10 pages. That is a wealth of illustration and fit makes the book a delight to read to children. Some of my favourite illustrations are of mole in the wild wood with the rabbit p 50; Badger leading Rat and Mole through underground passageways p76; Rat and Mole in the rowing boat just prior to dawn p121; the weasels, armed to the teeth attacking Toad hall.....p195. But these are just a few of the absolute gems in the book. Strongly recommend it.
  • (4/5)
    Not necessarily an avid children's book reader beyond my trusty Hardy Boys....but i recently saw a local community theater production of this, and in between the time i purchased the ticket and actually saw the play, this book showed up in a box of odds and ends someone gave me.....it seemed like fate was telling me to read it....So i did! And what a beautifully illustrated work this is. The fantastical world of these animals came to life for my stifled and stiff brain so much more so than had it not been just littered from end to end with gorgeous vivid drawings in both Black & White and Color
  • (3/5)
    Surprisingly decent.
  • (4/5)
    Wonderful children's classic.
  • (4/5)
    It is great to read an old classic!
  • (5/5)
    I suppose I was in the mood for this book, but it was a sheer delight and it immediately became a favorite book. My copy has an introduction and afterword, as well as a brief author bio written by Jane Yolen which I really appreciated. We only have a small cast of central characters here, a mole, a water rat, a badger and a toad, 'Mr. Toad'. I adore Mole and Ratty. I found myself loving every one of them, maybe even Mr. Toad. This is a children's book for grown-ups as well as mid aged kids. When I got to chapter 7, titled "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn" my mouth dropped open. My copy only has a few illustrations in it - lovely black and white drawings, and the artist is not credited, although I think I deciphered the name Zimic. Then I decided that artist Tricia Zimic created the delightful cover illustration as well as the interior pen and ink drawings.I much more partial to the early half of the book, the rather nostalgic, pastoral adventures of Mole, Rat and Badger as well as the Piper piece in the middle. As Jane Yolen notes, this is really three sorts of stories in one book.
  • (4/5)
    I know I'd read this book as a kid, but have always been a bit surprised by how little impression it apparently left on me and how little I remembered about it. So a revisit seemed in order.And... Well, it's a perfectly fine kids' book. The writing is good, and doesn't condescend to or oversimplify itself for young readers, which I approve of, although a few of the hymn-to-nature passages do get to be a little bit much. And Toad is kind of a fun character; the chapter where his friends stage an intervention for him for his automotive addiction made me laugh out loud. But I can kind of see how kid-me didn't find it all that memorable. I just never quite felt as charmed by it as its reputation suggests I should be. It's nice enough, but when it comes to classic talking-animals-in-the-woods-of-Britain stories, it's never going to rival Winnie-the-Pooh for a place in my heart.
  • (5/5)
    Priceless!
  • (3/5)
    Very glad to finally take the time to read this timeless children's classic! The adventures were just what I would expect from a young child's imagination. The language, however, was a bit dry and stiff and I felt the writing style kept me from engaging fully in the clever, fun little characters. Glad to have read, but a bit disappointed in the entertainment value.
  • (5/5)
    This is one of the most lovely, funny, and beautiful books that I have ever read. I've been reading and re-reading it since I was quite young, and it always leaves me wanting more. Mole, Rat, Badger, and especially the ingenious and inimitable Mr. Toad are a perfect fusion of temperaments, quirks, strengths, and weaknesses. An odd shifting of tone from one chapter to the next nonetheless works perfectly, a rare alchemy that would have (and often has) turned leaden in the hands of a lesser author.

    But I won't be reviewing the book in great detail here. Instead, here's how Sebastian, my seven-year-old son, reacted to the story.

    I have to admit that I was worried that the book might be too advanced for him. And at first, my fears seemed prophetic: the story didn't seem to interest him very much, and he often asked to read something else (or read one of his own books to me). I had carefully picked an unabridged edition (TWitW is often abridged, with "The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn" chapter being the most frequent casualty), but I found myself abridging the book on the fly. The language is truly lovely, but at Sebastian's age some of the longer descriptive passages just don't work.

    After struggling to read it to him for several weeks ("Dad, let's read something else tonight!") I picked up the book with the private resolution that if Sebastian didn't get more interested in it that night, I'd return it to the library and wait a year before trying again.

    And then Mole decided to make a private trek into the Wild Wood to meet Badger.

    I'd forgotten how frightening that section was! It's like a ghost story. Sebastian was riveted. From that point on, he was captivated; he even had me bring it in the car, so I could read it to him on the way to the train station (my wife was driving, of course).

    It took me a little while to work out the voices. Mole's is nasal and high, a bit like Terry Jones' when he's playing a silly part in Monty Python (ironically, Jones played Toad in a movie adaptation of the book, I believe). Rat is more mellifluous and a bit, well, educated; I keep thinking of "the playing fields of Eaton" when I'm reading him (not the actual fields, mind you; I've never seen them. I'm thinking of the phrase.)

    Badger is more gruff, deep, and direct (I think of Ed Asner's Lou Grant, but as a Brit). For Otter, I think of a British athlete, a "jock" type; cheerful, casual, and strong; a bit like Hugh Laurie, for some reason (obviously not when he's playing House).

    I should note that I'm NOT particularly trying to do British accents; I'm just letting the voices in my head shade the voices as I read them. So a tinge of accent creeps in, so to speak.

    Toad is the one character who gave me trouble. Eventually I decided that since Toad gets the best lines, and has the most emotional moments, I might as well use something close to my own voice - but pitched just a little higher, and with just a touch of melodrama. Toad is quite a ham, after all.

    For a seven-year-old, Toad is clearly the favorite of the book. That "his" chapters alternate with other ones was sometimes a small problem - but even so, during (for example) the Toad-free "Dulce Domum" chapter in which Mole's nose and heart are temporarily recaptured by the smells of his old home (a truly heartrending scene) Sebastian's interest remained strong enough to carry him through to the next chapter.

    Without question, the high point comes in Chapter X, "The Further Adventures of Toad". Toad's incredibly funny song, his escapes and adventures, his highs and lows are all perfect grist for the child reader/listener (and for the parent who loves reading dramatically to their child, for that matter).

    The final two chapters cap the book off perfectly. Any properly bloodthirsty child will revel in the passages in which piles of pistols, swords, and cudgels are amassed for each animal to use in the battle to come. Tiptoeing along the secret passage, the battle itself...this is the sort of thing children love, when it's well-told. And it is perfectly written here.

    I will confess that the reform of Toad is not quite believable (Sebastian confidently told me that Toad would not stay reformed). And the ending comes just a little too quickly. I have always wished as soon as I finished the book that there was more - and so did Sebastian. I know that sequels have been written by some modern-day author; I tried to read one of them, but at the time it didn't quite work for me. Some day, perhaps, I'll try it again...but maybe not. It would be more rewarding to simply re-read The Wind in the Willows once again.
  • (5/5)
    Ok, second attempt at a review after the damn interwebs ate my last one. Luckily I’m composing this one offline first.

    To me Kenneth Grahame’s _The Wind in the Willows_ is a particularly fine novel. It’s a children’s story and normally that would get my back up. I’m generally not a big fan of children’s lit or YA, and to add to this I didn’t even read this book as a child and thus have the requisite rose-coloured glasses to lend credence to my love for the story. Somehow, however, this tale of the adventures of four animal friends in an idealized and idyllic Edwardian English countryside resonated deeply with me. I think part of this has to do with the deft hand Grahame shows in the creation of his characters: shy amiable Mole, courageous and resolute Ratty (that’s Water Rat by the bye), gruff but stalwart Badger and, last but certainly not least, frivolous and vain Toad, all partake of elements of archetype and yet are never fully defined by it, they manage to emerge as characters in their own right. The setting too seems to straddle the line between generic and specific. The animal friends are constantly travelling against a background whose very names are emblematic: the River, the Wildwood, the Town and yet when we come to their homes we could not wish to find more congenial or personal places of the heart.

    Our tale (or perhaps I should say tales) begins as the shy Mole first pokes his nose out from his underground home to be presented with a newly discovered wider world he approaches with awe and wonder. I wouldn’t quite say that Mole is the main character of the stories that follow (though he is always a significant part of them), but I’ve always had a soft spot for him and enjoy seeing Grahame’s idealized English meadows, woods and countryside through his amiable eyes. Toad would probably be the more likely candidate, certainly for a good portion of the stories which concentrate on his adventures: a life-loving jester of a character with more money than brains always looking out for the next fad that is of course the fulfillment of his true heart’s desire…yet again. Indeed, keeping tabs on their friend and trying to hammer some good animal sense into his soft head is one of the major tasks the other characters must undertake in many of these tales. Grahame’s pacing is excellent, at times meandering with a leisurely pace from a boating foray on the River to spring-cleaning a much-loved home, and at others moving at breakneck speed to escape from prison or reclaim an ancestral home from dangerous enemies. Thus we follow our friends as they learn about their world and each other and I cannot say that there are many more enjoyable companions to be had for such a venture.

    I’ve seen arguments online that these stories are somewhat parochial and insular: whenever the world outside of the hedgerows intrudes it is usually either a dangerous temptation or a destructive force. I can’t really argue with this, but does all literature need to celebrate the novel and the strange? Isn’t there a place for the well-loved hearth and a joyous homecoming? _The Wind in the Willows_ is nothing if not a celebration of the comfortable and the familiar, a paen for a world and a type of beauty fading away. There may be good reasons for why it had to die out, but I would argue that there is still value in remembering it. When I try to put my finger on what it is about this book that so captures my imagination and elevates it from being merely a tale about talking animals within the context of a long-dead worldview I think that Christopher Milne, son of the author of _Winnie the Pooh_, may have said it best when he talked of “those chapters that explore human emotions – the emotions of fear, nostalgia, awe, wanderlust.” It is these parts of the book that speak directly to my heart and examine the wider aspects of the human spirit.
  • (5/5)
    UPDATE: Finished this book- twas well worth re-reading. I loved this edition, the illustrations were especially beautiful!






    I am reading this book once again. A different edition this time, this one illustrated by Inga Moore. The story, pictures and layout are relaxing and engaging, especially at this time in my life. Looking at meadows and streams and reading about carefree days is just what I need right now.
  • (4/5)
    There is a brilliant book here - absolutely whimsical childlike adventuring brilliance! Unfortunately a lot of rubbish got mixed up with it somehow. For a vastly improved reading experience read these chapters:

    Chapter 1 - The River Bank
    Chapter 2 - The Open Road
    Chapter 3 - The Wild Wood
    Chapter 4 - Mr. Badger
    Chapter 5 - Dulce Domum
    Chapter 9 - Wayfarers All
    Chapter 7 - The Piper at the Gates of Dawn

    This pretty much cuts out Toad, and ends on the highest of notes. I'm really pretty sore about reading all the crappy adventures of Toad, but I did love the rest. I had better come back in a year, follow my own advice and review again
  • (3/5)
    The Wind in the Willows is an odd book in that it is meant for children yet has chapter titles such as "Dulce Domum", "Like Summer Tempests Came His Tears", "The Return of Ulysses" and most famously "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn". Some of these chapters are stand alone with only a few threads of plot to interconnect them. In fact there is very little plot as the book is about friendship and maintaining the status quo. It's a very conservative book. I read it last forty years ago and can remember as a child being confused but somehow affected by The Piper at the Gates of Dawn chapter. Reading it as an adult, it is clearly the best part of the book. Still dislike Toad though.
  • (5/5)
    This was required reading in my house. Not a day went by when someone didn't refer to dear Ratty, or Toad Hall. I had 3 copies by the time I was ten.
  • (5/5)
    A great series of stories that I loved as a kid and liked even more as an adult. A couple are slightly long for storytelling but many would be great for slightly older children.
  • (2/5)
    Perhaps if I'd had pleasant memories of this book as a child I may have a different view of it while reading it as an adult. It's beloved by so many that I wish I'd been introduced to it, unfortunately I was never able to find the charm in it or maintain any lasting interest.
  • (5/5)
    This was perfect. I started stretching it out toward the end, only reading it in the evening when the mood was just right. I didn't want it to end. It was such a feel-good book. I totally loved the style of the writing. I think I'm going to take a look at a couple sequels that have been written but they weren't written by the same author so I'm not counting on anything.
  • (3/5)
    As a child at had one chapter of this book that had great illustrations, I always liked the art more then the story of toad stealing a car. Probably because it lacked the context of the rest of the book. When I saw it for free on my kindle I decided to get it a read. A very enjoyable book even for an adult.
  • (5/5)
    As the introduction (written back in the 80s by Grahame biographer Peter Green) rightly identifies, although Mr. Toad made The Wind in the Willows famous, his action packed adventures are the least evocative and I’d go further to say he’s the least interesting of the characters. The best chapter, Dulce Domum, in which Mole desperately seeks to return to his own home despite its humbleness is an intoxicatingly emotional description of the inescapable connection most of us have to our own familiar four walls however else we might imagine they seem to others (and nearly had me in tears by the time the carol singers arrived). The loyalty between Ratty and Mole is also especially touching, not unlike that between Sherlock and Watson, the former often riding roughshod of the latter’s feelings until he realises he’s gone too far, guilt sets in and he shambles about making amends.
  • (5/5)
    Perhaps this is one of the books you either love (which I do) or can leave. Charming creatures, true friendship, mostly harmless adventure where all is well that ends well for those most deserving. The lessons of life captured here are as real as any among humans while spinning "tails" of lives we can never experience. Lovely fantasy and a pleasure to read aloud to children.I recently enjoyed this again just for myself on my kindle. I highly recommend this to anyone wishing to escape to simpler times when tea by a fire or a picnic by the river watching the clouds pass by is a pleasure you seek.The adventures of Toad are a bit more exciting.Truly a classic tale somewhere between Thornton Burgess and Beatrix Potter.
  • (2/5)
    Dreadfully tedious and boring. I have difficulty believing that children these days would enjoy either the language or story (or lack thereof). The only interesting part of the entire book was the reclaiming of Toad's estate and that ended in half a second.
  • (5/5)
    This actually isn't the edition I read,which cancels the reasons for writing a review. I loved the line drawings, done by a recent modern artist. I can't find the cover--it was a large format-- but so many of the other editions and art seem very charming, so what the hey. Whatever you buy or read will probably work out just fine.A very nice book, a classic, for small children and then when they can read, they will enjoy going back and reading it themselves. Older kids reading it a first time? Yeah, I can see many wouldn't like it. I think the attraction for young children, rather like the Borrowers, is the cozy underground homes with furniture and tea and toast. Animals rowing boats. At, of 4 or 5, it just still seems possible. And Ratty and Mole: best buddies, never too harsh with the other's fears or failings. These are important feelings and uh messages.
  • (3/5)
    My copy is actually a hardback with beautiful illustrations. I always found this fun, though I preferred the early chapters to the end.
  • (5/5)
    When I was in the 3rd grade I chose this book for the diorama assignment.
  • (5/5)
    One of those few delightful books that always takes me to a place where life was full of astonishing mysteries and harmless ventures
  • (5/5)
    Originally published in 1908, this classic British animal fantasy began as a series of bedtime stories that the author created for his young son, and only found its way into print after Grahame retired from his career in banking. Described as everything from a paean to the beauty of English country life, to a portrait of the class structure of late Victorian Britain, The Wind in the Willows is one of those stories that can be interpreted in diverse ways, and appreciated on many different levels. The tale of four friends - humble Mole, who happens upon a new life and a new social circle one day, when he sticks his nose up out of his burrow; friendly Ratty, a stouthearted sailor and happy-go-lucky river-dweller, who serves to bind the friends together; wise and retiring Badger, who may prefer the solitude of his woods, but nevertheless proves a valuable ally and friend; and spoiled Toad (of Toad Hall), the conceited son of privilege, who has a better heart than either judgment or resolve - it is as engaging as it is well written, and every bit as relevant as the day it was first published.Chosen as our December selection, over in The Children's Fiction Book Club to which I belong, The Wind in the Willows is one of those books (of which there are far too many, I am afraid) that I have long been meaning to read, but to which I never seem to get to. How glad I am that my book-club commitments finally gave me the push I needed to pick it up, as I absolutely adored it! I can see why so many readers have recommended it to me over the years. The social analysis is certainly of interest - I find the idea (put forward in our book discussion, amongst other places) that the four friends each represent a different strata of the middle and upper classes, while the residents of The Wild Wood (the weasels, stoats and ferrets) represents the "underclass," quite convincing - although it was the beauty of the language that really stood out, on this initial read. The playful use of language, with made-up words and plenty of alliteration - 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..." - the lyrical descriptions of the world of river and wood, and the gorgeous dreamlike passages leading up to the breathlessly magical encounter with Pan, in "Pipers at the Gates of Dawn," all left a powerful impression on me. I will be wanting to read this again, I think, and will be thinking of it for some time to come. It's just a lovely, lovely little book!
  • (4/5)
    Grandly humurous and entertaining adventures that have as much for adults as they do for children. Beautifull written with rich desciptions and characteriszations.
  • (4/5)
    A great children's story. I recommend this for family-reading.