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Return to the Willows
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Return to the Willows

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4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  274 ratings  ·  70 reviews
Mole, Ratty, Toad, and Badger are back for more rollicking adventures in this sequel to The Wind in the Willows. With lavish illustrations by Clint Young, Jacqueline Kelly masterfully evokes the magic of Kenneth Grahame's beloved children's classic and brings it to life for a whole new generation.
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published October 30th 2012 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) (first published September 18th 2012)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,121)
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Angus
How preposterous! The cheek, to write a sequel to the beloved Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham. Jacqueline Kelley has some audacity, but I have to commend her, for it is not misplaced. Jacqueline Kelly has done an amazing job recreating the world of Ratty, Mole, Badger, the Weasels, and Toad. plus a couple of great new characters, including a love interest for Ratty. She has tapped into Graham's style and vocabulary giving each character distinct voices, just as one finds in the original. A...more
Shanshad Whelan
I have a confession. I've never read The Wind in the Willows. It's not because I've never wanted to or picked it up and put it down again. It's just . . . simply never been in my book pile when I've had time to pick it up and I sort of always knew it was going to be around for me to read in years to come. I don't have any problem with anthropomorphic animals, after all I'm a huge fan of the Redwall series. But for whatever compilation of reasons, I've never picked up the original classic. That's...more
Karon
I received an ARC of this book a few days ago from McMillan Kids and immediately started reading and could not put it down. I am a huge fan of The Wind in the Willows and still have my old hardcover copy from the ancient times. This "sequel" for lack of a better word is such a sweet book and it remains true to the spirit of The Wind in the Willows. All the wonderful characters are back along with some new ones. The narrator is funny and a bit sarcastic. I loved the wit and the intertwining of th...more
Grady
A Lovely Return to Kenneth Grahame's 'The Wind in the Willows'

It is difficult to believe that it has been over 100 years since the original book `The Wind in the Willows', a classic of children's literature by Kenneth Grahame was first published in 1908. That novel children's book, alternately slow moving and languid and fast paced as in wild adventures, focused on four anthropomorphized animal characters - Mole, Ratty, Toad and Badger -in a pastoral version of England. That novel is notable for...more
Valentina
Very few times in all the years I’ve been reading have I come across a book that is a sequel to a classic that manages to capture the essence of the first book we all fell in love with. This one, unfortunately, is not one of those.
The magic of the first book is lost in this one. Instead, this “sequel” feels sluggish and, dare I say it, quite dull. The main story doesn’t start until way too late in novel, making me wonder how children, to whom this book is geared, will make sense of what’s going...more
Kristin
Return to the Willows is an adorable continuance of the original Wind in the Willows, and Jacqueline Kelly has done a fabulous job bringing the characters of the original classic to life again. Mole, Rat, Toad and Badger are back, and new adventures abound in this adorable tale with wit, voice, and beautiful illustrations by Clint Young. Though this is a chapter book, it is packed with a number of little adventures and amusing footnotes, making it an appealing story for young readers, and an ent...more
Monica Edinger
I'm so skeptical of any messing around with books (messing around with boats being totally fine), but have to say this one works. Kelly clearly knows and loves the original and manages, as few have before her, to pay homage while creating something new at the same time.

She perfectly captures the nature of the three original heroes: Ratty, Mole, and Toad and even manages to bring out gruff old Badger a bit. And then she successfully adds in two new characters: Toad's nephew Humphrey and a female...more
Ch_13catherinecooper
It's a sequel to the classic 'the wind and the willows'. However, the book can stand alone , and it isn't necessary to have read the original.

The book contains interconnected stories about the animals from the original, including the rat, the mole, toad and badger. The animals all take on human characteristics and emotions.

The stories and adventures are fun, and try to teach lessons. Additionally, have the characters learn moral tales as well.

There are numerous footnotes throughout the book wh...more
Julie
Ok, did you read Wind in the Willows? It was one of my favorite books growing up. I loved the animals and the grown up mannerisms and lighthearted adventures of these creatures. It helped that I had Willows outside my window. This book is a keeper, like on your special book shelf keeper. No way is this book going to be loaned, selfish me. Jacqueline Kelly has managed to capture the mood and feel of the original book, but what makes this book so special is the wonderful artwork, the special color...more
Kathleen
Grahame's cast of characters returns for new adventures mostly starring Toad's visiting nephew Humphrey, kidnapped by the Wild Wood's weasels and stoats to repair Toad's hot-air balloon.
Well-plotted and engagingly told, this is a treat for its language though after a while that can get a bit tiresome. (I've lost my enthusiasm for "messing about" with anything.) Footnotes translate the Briticisms for American readers. Some of this is probably more aimed at the adult Wind in the Willows lover, but...more
Pam
This book is just beautiful. All of it - the language, the writing, the storyline, the jacket cover, the illustrations, the font, the binding, etc. Kelly has done a wonderful job staying true to the original feel of the characters in Return to the Willows. The annotations are not only educational, but funny.

When I saw this book - a brand new book - just sitting on the stand in the children's section of the library, I just had to grab it. As much as I like reading e-books, I treasure beautiful bo...more
Hannah
Jacqueline Kelly writes a sequel to Kenneth Grahame's THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS that is as timeless as the original. The magical world of rowboats and burrows is recreated by Kelly, who captures both the tone and the beloved characters of the original in RETURN TO THE WILLOWS.

Slightly episodic in structure like the original, Kelly writes all the wonderful bits of Willows with her own twist -- Toad gets into a hot-air balloon, Ratty finds love, and we get introduced to a whole host of new character...more
Srinidhi.R Srinidhi.R
perfect sequel to "The wind in the willows"..loved it..
Ranting Dragon
http://www.rantingdragon.com/return-t...

When choosing to write a posthumous sequel to a book that is arguably one of the finest examples of children’s literature to date, you must do so very carefully. Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows, first published in 1908, laid the literary groundwork for novels such as Richard Adams’s Watership Down and even Brian Jacques’s Redwall series. So to say the undertaking of a sequel is an ambitious task would be an understatement (see William Horwood’s q...more
Jessica
I won a free copy of the ARC through First Reads.

This was fantastically fun to read. Unfortunately I never read The Wind in the Willows but I did see the cartoon rendition. This book was very much in the spirit of that. I really liked the author's quirky footnotes. I think some of the vocabulary used is probably above the level of the targeted age group but Kelly did address a lot of these words with her footnotes.

I did find Toad to be absolutely annoying. This was only made worse by his adven...more
Seth
Jan 21, 2013 Seth rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Any adorng fan of Grahame's original.
To attempt a sequel to one of the most beloved children's books in the Western cannon might seem audacious at best, arrogant at worst. But with only a few missteps, Jacqueline Kelly manages to pull it off, and the result is a loving continuation of the whimsical adventures of Mole, Rat, Badger, Toad, and a few new friends.

The original 1908 classic is one of my favorite books of any genre--I simply adore it. I've read it twice in the last 18 months, and I picked it up again tonight after finishin...more
Kathleen Pacious
Jacqueline Kelly has taken on the challenge of writing a sequel to Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows, one of the most beloved books written for children, and yet treasured equally (and sometimes even more so) by adults. Return to the Willows brings us back to the idyllic English countryside, complete with old friends Rat, Mole, Toad, and Badger who get into countless adventures together. Kelly captures these characters’ voices extremely well and gives a delightful picture of friendship,...more
Marie
Mar 07, 2014 Marie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: kids
I'm not going to weigh in on whether this is "as good as" the classic. Times change, language changes, audiences change. What I know is that it's refreshing to find a contemporary children's book that is perfect for a family readaloud: intelligent language, lots of humor, lovable characters, and bite-sized chapters that stand alone while still working towards a final climax. I was similarly impressed with her previous book, The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate (for a middle grade audience). I hope th...more
Danielle
First off I received this book for free from Goodreads First Reads.
I read the original tale many many years ago and must confess that I don't really remember it anymore. That said I read this as though it was my first experience with the characters and with no expectations or comparisons to the original. I thought this was great. I really enjoyed some of the little footnotes. Although I knew what almost all of them were I found many of them comical but also great for a younger reader who would...more
Wonderbunny
I loved the Wind in the Willows when I was growing up...I didn't love this. It did bring back some memories but I have to wonder how a younger generation is going to enjoy it. I'm not even sure in Wind in the Willows is still read. Some of the language feels antiquated and the group of characters is a little dated too. Regardless of how this book might now be received, I found this easy to put aside for other books. The beginning was also a little weird as the main adventure didn't start for a b...more
Erin
First and foremost, the illustrations were beautiful. I was particularly fond of the final illustration of Mole reading to his goddaughter, Wednesday. I'll admit that when the story dragged a little, the promise of further pictures kept me going, and I would love to get a print of that last one.

The story was charming, and reminded me of the original Wind in the Willows, although it's been a long time since I've read it. Return to the Willows actually made me want to literally return to the origi...more
Delores Thomas
Ok this is a sequel to a children's book and I am a long time adult. I remembered that I enjoyed the Wind in the Willows so I decided to see what she did with these characters. I absolutely loved this and I hope she continues writing.
 wade
The only reason I am not giving this book 5 stars is that the author already had the characters developed for her in The Wind in the Willows. That said Ms. Kelly does a masterful job capturing the spirit and excitement of the original book. All the characters are their as they bravely go off into new adventures. The weasels are the villains but they really aren't that bad making their captive toad brush his teeth. You always know how the book will end (happy) but it is a very creative journey al...more
Anne Broyles
THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS is not one of my favorite childhood books, though I enjoyed reading it with my kids and like how Toad, in particular, is a cultural icon/reference much like Winnie the Pooh, Tigger and Eyore. I chose to read Kelly's sequel to the classic more because I loved THE EVOLUTION OF CALPURNIA TATE than because I wanted to spend more time with Ratty, Mole and Toad. SO imagine my surprise when I was drawn into this book for its own sake, and the appeal of Clint Young's marvelous pa...more
Larry Saunders
This sequel was only "okay" in my opinion. I liked the series of 4 sequels written by William Horwood ("The Willows in Winter," "Toad Triumphant," "The Willows at Christmas," and "The Willows and Beyond") much better - closer to the writing style of the original. They may be harder to find (I borrowed them from my local library, and my library had to send to get them from other libraries). As for this attempt, my feeling was that the author was trying too hard to be funny. Not a bad effort in ge...more
Trish
Wind in the Willows is a treasure that I reread at least once a year. The rich relationships, the lovely landscape. Every time I read this work I find something else to admire. Ratty's description of the river alone is one of the most beautiful passages in literature. So, it was with many misgivings that I considered Return to the Willows. The author has done such a wonderful job of bringing the characters back to life. A real treat to read their continued adventures. And the illustrations are g...more
Ben Guthrie
This book is excellent fan fiction, but that is as far as it goes. Sure, it's fun to see Toad getting into more trouble, or more weasels getting beaten over the head, but it lacks the magic of the original. The romance, in particular, feels wrong. I can certainly imagine someone who thought he was a confirmed bachelor changing his mind, but part of what made The Wind in the Willows what it was was the complete lack of romance--it was a book about friendship, and there was nothing to distract fro...more
Samuel Best
May 28, 2014 Samuel Best rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: yes
Recommended to Samuel by: myself
Shelves: z, ww
i like it
Angie
Loved it. The author captured the characters, their voices and quirks, all of it. So perfectly. The illustrator's work is just lovely ... the picture of Humphrey might be my favorite.

This is one you read for the characters and not necessarily the "action." Toad is up to his old tricks. Will he never learn?

I want to get a copy for our school collection so I can see ... as much as I loved it I'm. actually not sure what kids will think.
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Jacqueline Kelly was born in New Zealand and moved with her parents to western Canada at an early age. She grew up in the dense rain forests of Vancouver Island, so you can imagine her shock some years later when her family moved to the desert of El Paso, Texas. She attended university in El Paso and medical school in Galveston (lovingly known as “Galvatraz” among the inmates). She practiced medic...more
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The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate Calendar 2 Newbery Winners: The Underneath / the Evolution of Calpurnia Tate / Hoot / Heart of a Samurai

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