6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very beautiful book---for adults
I'm almost embarrassed to admit how much I love "The Wind in the Willows." I'd seen a movie version, with Eric Idle, I think, and knew it was kind of cute--substituting little animals for middle-aged Edwardian gentlemen, with all their foibles. But the book is so much more. It's abslutely lovely on issues like the true meaning of good fellowship, wanderlust vs. the...
Published on Feb. 3 2003 by Walter Horn
3.0 out of 5 stars Didn't live up to my expectations
I enjoy most classic childrens' stories and I relive my youth when I read them. I was disappointed when I read this book because the characters were not very likeable. Mr. Toad seemed to have everyone wrapped around his finger; his sad puppy eyes seemed to allow him to get away with everything. I was hoping one of the characters would stand firmly against him and not...
Published on Aug. 17 2001
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very beautiful book---for adults,
I'm almost embarrassed to admit how much I love "The Wind in the Willows." I'd seen a movie version, with Eric Idle, I think, and knew it was kind of cute--substituting little animals for middle-aged Edwardian gentlemen, with all their foibles. But the book is so much more. It's abslutely lovely on issues like the true meaning of good fellowship, wanderlust vs. the pleasures of home, decency, conceit, the beauty of nature, faddism, etc. The section on Rat and Mole submitting to the lure of Pan is beyond moving: it's just gorgeous.
As pointed out by another reviewer, Grahame's strength is not in his plotting. It's not clear why the police don't follow Toad to his family estate and just arrest him there for his various high crimes and misdemeanors, and the old fellow's final conversion to good sense is completely out of nowhere. But his bluster and beligerance are very funny , and his escapades, however unbelievable are always enjoyable.
It's important to note, though, that this book isn't really even for older children or young adults. It's more like Trollope than Baum (though it's much more rhapsodic than either). It will be most satisfying for the middle-aged or elderly, I think. I certainly wouldn't advise trying to read it to your kids: it's one of those books that sells each generation in children's book sections in spite of never actually being enjoyed (and probably rarely finished) by more than a small handful of kids. Descriptions of the effects of smells, underground architecture, and comforting provisions are not up most 8-year-old alleys, even if some children will find Toad's preposterous escape from prison (as a washerwoman) and several of the drawings funny. I'm glad, however, that the success of "Wind in the Willows" miraculously persists, even if this is largely due to its cache as "a classic." Because whether it's for kids or not, it's a wise and beautiful book.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Idyllic, adventurous, poetic, humorous ... truly classic!,
Reading a book that is well-established as a classic offers both risks and rewards. The risk is that one's expectations might be too high, leading to disappointment. The reward is that the book matches expectations, leading to thorough satisfaction. Reading Kenneth Grahame's "The Wind in the Willows" is certainly rewarding, but also risky. It's unquestionably a classic, popularized in part by A.A. Milne's dramatization in 1929 under the name "Toad of Toad Hall." Quite honestly, expecting a child-like story, I found it on a higher level altogether, and perhaps even best appreciated by teens and older readers. It has a poetical lyrical quality that could discourage younger readers from completing it on their own.
But that aside, it's not hard to see why this book has stood the test of time. Especially the talking animal protagonists are outstanding. Shy and loyal Mole, clever and courageous Rat, gruff and gentlemanly Badger, and arrogant, adventurous and crazed Toad - the animal characters that populate Grahame's novel are thoroughly individual, real, and loveable, despite their individual quirks. They are distinctly animal-like, and yet aspects of their life (food - transport - clothing) are distinctly human, enabling us to identify with them quickly and easily and yet be charmed by their differences. Toad does ultimately repent from his conceited egotism "Henceforth I will be a very different Toad", although we cannot help get the feeling that this is not the first time he has embarked on a road of repentance only to be ambushed again by his old nature. All of this is portrayed with poetic lyricism, as well as warm sympathy and humour.
There is something here for everyone. When the friends aren't lazily floating down the river or indulging their appetites, they are worrying about Toad's latest escapades with motor-boats or automobiles. Readers will find themselves attracted to the rustic, quiet and cozy life of companionship on the river, or else the neverending action that ensues as Toad follows his selfish passions and gets himself into trouble and the climax as Toad and his friends seek to recapture Toad Hall from evil weasels, ferrets and stoats. While the final battle offers thrills, Toad's "education" is undoubtedly a good lesson for us all. Grahame's animal world offers much food for thought for humans in the real world. Visiting this fantasy world is not escapist, because it better equips us to live in the real world.
If there is any criticism, it might be that the novel does not work the aspects of introspection and adventure together cohesively and so does not always function well as a whole. The shift from pastoral introspection to madcap adventure and back is at times too great. But even if the snap-shots of "The Wind in the Willows" 's fantasy world are somewhat fragmented, in the end it's the characters of this world that make it so convincing and successful. With their successful combination of idyllic companionships and adventurous mishaps, Mole, Rat, Badger and Toad will continue to make new friends of readers in years to come. -GODLY GADFLY
5.0 out of 5 stars An some-what, outrageously funny animal story,
This review is from: Puffin Classics Wind In The Willows (Paperback)
I had read this book, and I thought it was an some-what, outrageously funny animal story, with just a hint of mysticism (the Piper). And as to the question: "Who do you think is the hero?" I think all four are heroes - Toad,Rat,Mole and Badger.
The characters I love are Rat and the jailer's daughter, to me she's like the first animal-activist - hates animals being locked up. And I also love the "Duck's Ditty," it's really catchy. Overall, I love this book from beginning to end; that's all I could say. One last thing I should mention: When it comes to driving, Mr. Toad could be like the poster-boy for things NOT to do on the road!
5.0 out of 5 stars Picnic in the Willows,
This review is from: The Wind in the Willows: The Centennial Anniversary Edition (Hardcover)
`Straighten up, everybody,' commanded the Badger in his best parade ground voice. 'We must all give a good impression to the reviewer. This means you too, Ratty.'
'Why yes badger,' cried Ratty, hastily stuffing his tea cake under the picnic table. 'Best behaviour, what?'
'Where is Mole?' continued the Badger, glancing sternly at the cake crumbs clinging stubbornly to the Rat's whiskers.
The Mole broke surface directly beneath the picnic table, almost scattering the Rat's carefully laid out treats to the four winds. Clambering out from under, he turned towards the stern Badger.
'Here I am, sir,' squeaked the Mole anxiously.' I do hope I am not late?'
'Of course not, Moley, Just in time, what?' Laughed the Rat as he straightened his table. It would not do to leave good, picnic food unstraightened. It would only, he knew, attract the Weasels. Or even a stoat or two.
'When you have quite finished,' announced the Badger, striving to maintain the dignity of the occasion, 'I would like you to impress upon the good people reading this that Mr Grahame's novel, which is all about us, I hasten to remind you, is the finest tale of riverside life ever written by human or animal. I want you to impress upon anyone who asks that this is a cheery-up of a book, a time to relax of a book, a best reward of a book, to warm the hearts of all.' The Badger unshipped a particularly stern glare. 'Do I make myself clear?'
'Why of course, Badger, 'replied the Rat while doffing his boater at a pair of passing rabbits and their giggling brood, 'Wind in the Willows is the finest book of its kind. I would advise folk everywhere,' he smiled at the rabbits, 'to read it to their children for double the pleasure.'
'Yes quite', the Badger harrumphed.
'Now, on the next item on the agenda. Where, oh where, is that wasteful extravagant miscreant, you know who?'
Crash! With an explosion of knives, forks, cupcakes, bread and honey, and cheese, the picnic table evaporated into the ether. The animals scattered, the Rat losing his boater in the proceedings.
When the dust settled, all was revealed. The remains of a once-fine motorcar sat right in the middle of what had once been a picnic. Upside down, stuck helplessly in the bough of an oak, waved the tweed-clad legs of one who, even upside down, could not be mistook for a upright citizen. From inside the strong oak there came a muffled, yet unmistakable cry.
5.0 out of 5 stars A primer on friendship,
The Wind in the Willows is a delightful children's classic that touches upon many things; wonder, pastoralism, but most of all friendship between individuals very different from one another. One of the hallmarks of this classic is that the adventure stories remain entertaining to this day. A must read for any child.
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best of Children's Literature,
I am perplexed regarding the previous, one-star review. . . I own this edition of The Wind in the Willows, and it is complete and unabridged. Nothing is missing. I have read this book aloud to my five year old daughter three times entirely, and additionally she loves it so very much we often read bits and pieces as the fancy strikes. It's truly a timeless book, highly imaginitive and possessing an impressive moral compass. The first time I read it aloud, my daughter was barely three. Despite the advanced vocabulary, she listened, positively enchanted, as the poetic language is so riveting. And, I don't ever stop to explain new words, unless she asks, as I do not like to interupt the story. I'm always surprised at how much she is able to understand from context. Her own vocabulary has increased due, in part, to listening to this classic. It's such a fabulous tale of frienship and loyalty, both adventurous and touching. Hague's illustrations are whimsical and beautiful. I recommend this book, and especially this edition, most heartily!
5.0 out of 5 stars Full of Fantasy, wonder and awe! A book for all ages,
By A Customer
This was a wonderful book showing the importance of friendships between all types of creatures great and small. It also shows the respect that is given between animals for eachother. I recomend this book to anyone who loves to sit down to a book full of fantasy, practical thoughts, suspense, friendship and much more.
4.0 out of 5 stars Put down Redwall and pick up The Wind in the Willows,
By A Customer
I really loved this book because there was a lot of action. Mr. Grahame is wonderful in the way that he combines people and animals so flawlessly. All of the characters are extremely realistic.
Mr. Mole and Mr. Rat live by the river and are best friends. One of their other friends is Mr. Toad. Mr. Toad is what many people call vain but what I call stupid. He flits from fad to fad, never once doing something for more than a week at a time. Currently, he is absolutely obsesed with motor-cars. When Mr. Toad steals a motor-car and ends up in jail, the weasels take over his home. It takes all of the animals help to win back Toad Hall again.
Anyone who enjoys a a great fantasy story will love The Wind in the Willows. However, I strongly recommend this book to the lovers of the Redwall series and Tailchaser's Song.
5.0 out of 5 stars The wind in the Willows,
By A Customer
The Wind in the Willows
I would recommend this book to others because it's hard to put it down .I read the whole book in a half day. It was fun reading about the adventures that the animals had with their different personalities. My favorite character in the book was Mr. toad because of his crazy adventures. His personality also changed thorughout the book. In the beginning he talked alol abouty himself, was gredy and was very mischeivous. By the end of the book, he was generous, kind, adn thought about others. the best single moment was when r. toad pretended to faint while he was dressed as a washer woman. He chose to do this because he had seen a car in the distance and was hoping to drive it. His plan worked. By telling lies to the men in the car he was able to drive.
5.0 out of 5 stars A mellow sojourn in a gentle world,
This classic features stirring prose, a peaceful country setting, and characters that you can relate to (even if they ARE animals ;-) I think I liked the social and natural setting best of all, a depiction of a Victorian English world that probably never existed, but which lives on in the imaginations of children. One chapter has a description of a nature god, which lends interesting depth to the story. Some of the characters are old-world stereotypes (the rich dilettante Toad, and the crude barge-woman, for example), but all the main characters are fleshed out enough to seem "human" - loyal Mole, practical Rat, solitary Badger; even Toad is seen to have his good side. Just to show how dreamy and beautiful the prose is, here's a sentence from the first page: "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."
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Puffin Classics Wind In The Willows by Kenneth Grahame (Paperback - April 1 2008)
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