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4.7 out of 5 stars
The Wind in the Willows
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 17, 2004
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!
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`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.
'Poop poop!'
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on April 23, 2003
While looking at my bookshelf for books, I picked up a book that seemed like new. I looked at the bottom of this book, it said, �by Kenneth Grahame�. Above those letters were written the words, �Illustrations-Helen Ward�. I examined the picture on the cover; it was vividly drawn, with colors ranging from birch white to algae green. The book was called The Wind in the Willows. When I flipped open the front cover I looked on the back of the title page. It wasn�t like any of the other copyright and publishing pages I�ve seen. They were based on the edition I had. The edition I acquire is copyrighted 2000 by Templar Company plc, and published by Borders Press.
After flipping over the cover of this wonderful book, I started reading it. I found out that this astounding book is about the adventures of Mole and his friends. Mole, dwells in a small house in Wild Wood. He met many friends including the gentle Water Rat, the kind Badger, and the foolish but friendly Toad. The Badger hates society, and the Toad daydreams all day and his foolishness leads him to endless trouble yet Toady is still proud himself for everything he does. One day Toad was walking and his eyes caught a deserted car. He couldn�t resist it, so he hopped in and took a ride. In time he got caught and sent to a jail in England. Eventually Toady escaped and returned to Wild Wood. There he found out that the weasels and stoats, the Wild Wooders, had taken over Toad Hall. The friends came up with a way to repossess Toad Hall. Thus one night when the Wild Wooders were having a grand feast, Toady, Ratty, Mole and Badger went through a secret passage past the guards and attacked the feasting stoats and weasels. After that battle Mole and his companions could finally live peacefully in Wild Wood.
There are plenty of high-quality chapters in this book but my favorite chapter is the last chapter, The Return of Ulysses, which is approximately 15 pages long.
It�s the most exciting part of the book because it has the section where Mole and his friends defeat the Wild Wooders. I also like the ending of the chapter because it really sounds like what a mom would say to her kid in real life. The mother weasel tells the babies that if they don�t behave, the terrible gray badger would get them.
Though there are many good parts, the part I hated was a chapter called the Wild Wood. It was all about the tedious subject of finding the hole of Mr. Badger. Half of the part was walking in the woods doing absolutely nothing! It also had a great deal of complex words, which made it kind of hard to understand. It was so boring; you could fall asleep just reading it! However, this is still a superior hardback.

Anyone who likes books with animal characters with human traits would thoroughly enjoy this book. The book has series of events that don�t really fit in to the main problem but those events are what makes this book interesting. What made this book special to me is that each creature has a different personality. For example, there�s the foolish Toad, the Badger that hates society, and Ratty who is obsessed with poems and river life. If this article interests you, why don�t you try to read The Wind in the Willows yourself?
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on March 26, 2003
"The Wind in the Willows" is an absolutely delightful animal tale. No one gets hurt (unless you want to count one small cut to the leg), and friends don't take advantage of one another. In these days of strife when we can all use some upcheer, this is a wonderful book to take one's mind off one's troubles.
Mole meet Rat when he is out and about instead of spring-cleaning and Rat is boating. Rat introduces Mole to many of his animal friends, including Badger (a burrowing kindred spirit of Mole's!) and the illustrious and infamous motor-car crashing Toad. Slightly mischievous and full of fun, the animals stick by one another through thick and thin, providing muscle as well as moral support.
Many of the chapters "stand on their own;" thus, "The Wind in the Willows" would make good bedtime reading to a chile, a chapter a night. Or like me, the reader may have reached his or her majority nearly twice over, and may just need a place to lighten his or her heart for a little while. Either way, this is a lovely book to have.
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on December 13, 2002
This childhood favorite is as fresh and charming as when it was first published--and when my father read it to us with obvious . delight when we were kids. The animal protagonists--Ratty, Mole, Badger and Toad--remind us of folks we know, which endears them to us with their all-too-human dreams and foibles. For both People and Creatures struggle to survive in the forests and streams of life.
Exhausted from his strenuous spring cleaning, Mole sets out into the world Aboveground, where he discovers the joys and challenges of riverbank life with his new friend and host, the water rat. But beware the perils lurking in the adjacent Wild Wood!
Kenneth Grahame weaves a gentle tale with willow strands of friendship, dedication to ideals and personal sacrifice for others. Come ride the roads with Toady, and scull down the river with Ratty; savor the sentimental whisperings of Home with Mole. Then join the ranks of Badger's Avengers to honor ancestral memories. This beloved classic combines humor and pathos with lively adventure in an animal realm which closely parallels human endeavor. This book is a true gem, to be rediscovered by successive generations and treasured by children of all ages!
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on June 2, 2002
This book is a great way to express a lesson in life. It all started when Mole was spring-cleaning his house. He then had enough of cleaning so he went out to explore his surroundings. He suddenly spotted a water rat. Rat invited him to a boat ride and a picnic. Mole and Rat began eating when they spotted Toad and his new boat. Rat began explaining that Toad was a rich animal but spend his money on things he didn't enjoy. Afterwards, it was snowing and Mole began to wonder what Badger was like. Rat warned him not to disturb him, but Mole's curiousity got into him, so he set out to find Badger. Soon, Rat found out that Mole had gotten himself lost in the woods. They were about to turn back when a sudden storm had hit them. They were surprised to see Badger's underground home when they dug in the snow. Badger welcomed them and gave them food and beds to sleep in. In the morning, they all discussed about what to do about Toad. They all agreed to go to Toad Hall in Spring and confront him.
Spring arrived and Rat, Mole, and Badger set out to Toad Hall. They saw a brand new motorcar that Toad had purchased. They seized him and took him to a room where they can talk to him privately. After a few minutes, Toad pretended to cry and was put to his room. He mananged to escape once more and ate at an inn. When he came back out, he saw a beautiful motorcar and unfortunately, broke it. He was put in trial and was put into the darkest dungeon of England. The jailer's daughter decided to help him out and disguise him as a widow. He escaped and went to a train station. He suddenly remembered that he had no money. He hitched a ride and discovered that he was being followed! He jumped out and slept through the night. In the morning, he saw a woman in a barge and fibbed that he was a washerwoman. He washed the clothes and laughed to himself about him being a washerwoman. The barge woman heard him and threw him out. He stole her horse and rode through the countryside. He found a gypsy with food. They traded: food and money for his horse. Toad was excited, now he can get home with money. As he was walking, he spotted the motorcar that he had broken! He fainted and found himself in the car with two men. They allowed him to drive the car but then noticed that he was the Toad that jacked their car! He crashed the car into the river and jumped out. He found the police after him again. Toad was swept away by the river until he met Rat!
Rat told him that weasels and ferrets had taken over his home. He also told him that Badger and Mole had tried to protect Toad's home but they were all too strong for them. They all went to an underground passage and popped out of Toad's pantry. They all fought the weasels and ferrets and managed to win the battle.
They had a party in Toad Hall and were surprised that Toad had really changed! He gave credit to Mole, Rat, and Badger for helping him rescue his house back. When everyone would see Mole, Rat, Toad, or Badger; they would remind themselves to think about the brave animals.
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on May 16, 2002
Somehow, I missed The Wind in the Willows when I was growing up. I knew the basic story from the movie and from an extremely abridged version, but I had never experienced Kenneth Grahame's actual novel. I didn't expect it to be very much different, but I was amazed by the reading experience of the actual novel. The world Grahame created is truly original and fascinating, and I don't think it can be captured in another medium besides the actual novel. I don't know if wonderful books like Watership Down and the Redwall series could exist without this. The characters are also so enjoyable. Rat, Mr Badger, Toad, and (my favorite) Mole are written with such warmth. They (with the contrast of Toad of course) exemplify old-time values. Grahame celebrates friendship, homelife, and the wonder of nature. My favorite section of the book is the chapter "Pipers at the Gates of Dawn." In it, Mole and Ratty find such beautiful in the sound of the wind blowing through the reeds on the side of the river. The effect of the section (written in such gorgeous prose) is almost metaphysical. The two friends see such joy in a life where you can experience such beauty in the world within such a strong friendship. The Wind in the Willows is truly a magnificent read which deserves to have lasted this long. Grahame's creation is still fresh and children and adults will surely continue to enjoy it for many years to come.
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on December 27, 2001
Kenneth Grahame's classic children's tale can be enjoyed by people of all ages. As we follow the rural adventures of Ratty, Mole, Toad, and Badger, we encounter moments of earnest emotion, and intense moments that brush the depths of what it is to be human. For Grahame's characters, taken from amongst the familiar animals that inhabit the English countryside, have all the vulnerability and sensitivity of real human beings, and we genuinely warm to them as together they learn life's lessons.
The early scenes of Ratty and Mole's boat trip and picnic are a delight, and the story progresses into absolute hilarity as we meet Toad and are introduced to his crazy adventures and ill-fated escapades, as well as his incorrigible, over-inflated sense of self-importance. The most humourous episodes involve the wise and avuncular Badger's attempts to thwart Toad's hairbrained schemes and his seemingly endless conceitedness. Toad never seems to learn his lesson, and he remains a tremendously loveable rogue, though a rogue nevertheless.
Ernest Shepard's brilliant illustrations will only add to what is an incredibly touching, joyful, and involving experience.
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on December 10, 2001
When I was very young (about six thousand years ago), our school master used to read to us from Wind in the Willows. The stories had a magical quality and a few weeks ago, as a somewhat older person, I got to wondering whether they would still have that sense of enchantment that held us so captivated all those years ago.
I was NOT disappointed. Toad was just as cantankerous and difficult as ever. Badger, Rat and Mole were just as supportive - just as memorable. Badger is unpredictable but protective (and sometimes mean). Mole is timid and shy. Rat is courageous and romantic. And who could ever forget those dreadful gun-toting weasels, ferrets and stoats glorying in their take-over of Toad Hall? Wind in the Willows is a true masterpiece of allegory with endless moral lessons disguised as a children's story. It is also a lesson in things long-forgotten... the glory of floating noiselessly down a river at dawn, past loosestrife, willowherb, bulrushes and meadowsweet. How many of us have even heard of these meadow plants, never mind seen them. But it doesn't matter, because it evokes nostalgia either for things long-forgotten or for things never-known.
At a child's level, Wind in the Willows is about friendship and about life in an imagined world centered around the river. At a less innocent level, Wind in the Willows draws many parallels with life, though Kenneth Grahame managed to avoid preaching his lessons. Not the least of Graham's parables is that 'the bigger they are, the harder they fall' because Toad is as egotistical and as self-important as they come until being thrown in jail for 'borrowing' a car. After that, it's all downhill for Toad, and it is only thanks to the loyalty of his friends that he regains some of his position in society - though not before learning a little humility first.
Though, at an older age, we pretend to be more sophisticated, at heart we always hold out the hope of a return to innocence and simple adventures. We are still (most of us) perfectly capable of identifying with the animals and the idea, as one reviewer put it, of two school-aged hedgehogs frying ham for a mole and a water rat, in a badger's kitchen does my imagination no harm whatsoever! As for Grahame's choice of phrase (...the "remotest dungeon of the best-guarded keep of the stoutest castle in all the length and breadth of Merry England"...) it's almost as poetically attention-grabbing as Rowan Atkinson's Blackadder series.
If you're looking for laser guns and hi-tech wars, W-i-t-W is NOT the book to buy. If you're after something a little more gentle (and a little more intelligent) Wind in the Willows is an outstanding example of a Classic that continues to withstand the test of time.
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on September 24, 2001
I doubted if a children's book could command my interest at this advanced stage of my life, but I have to say that "The Wind in the Willows" completely enthralled me. It is the story of four personified animals, the eponymously named Mole, Water Rat, Badger, and Toad, who live on or near a river that runs through an idyllic countryside obviously modeled on Edwardian England. In their world, physical size with regard to objects and other animals doesn't follow any kind of common logic or consistency; the animals seem to be simultaneously as big as humans and small enough to live in their own natural habitats.
The animals have vivid human personalities. Mole is timorous and meek, Rat is adventurous and poetic, Badger is unpredictable but protective and mean when he needs to be. Toad, however, is the most salient figure; he is wealthy, greedy, conceited, and clumsy, and he lives in a stately manor called Toad Hall. Mole and Rat's interests are simple; they enjoy boating down the river and socializing with other animals, including otters, field mice, and a seafaring Rat who regales the Water Rat with eloquent tales of his voyages around the world. They even encounter the god Pan, in a strangely ecclesiastical moment.
Toad's picaresque adventures throughout the book provide a counterpoint to Mole and Rat's more pastoral activities. Toad is so captivated with the idea of faster and faster transportation that when a motor-car overtakes and wrecks his horse-drawn cart in the road, he can only watch the departing vehicle in avaricious rapture. So then he buys car after expensive car, wrecking each one with his incompetent driving. Despite his friends' attempts to cure him of his obsession, he steals a car in a frenzy and is consequently thrown in jail. However, he escapes by means of a ridiculous ruse and, after many more adventures, finally returns to his native river-bank only to find that Toad Hall has been taken over by gun-toting stoats, weasels, and ferrets. (Note the parallels to Homer's Odyssey here.) Fortunately, his friends rise to the occasion to help him reclaim his home, after which he resolves to learn some modesty.
A great thing about the book is that Grahame uses many words that may be new or unfamiliar to young readers, but they're used in such a way that kids may be able to figure out their meanings by context. Also, while there are lessons to be learned through the animals' (especially Toad's) examples, there is no heavy-handed moralism to dilute the book's enjoyability. Clearly this is a work of the utmost creativity and imagination and demands the adult reader expand his or her mind to the realms of childlike wonder.
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