Sue's Reviews > The Wind In The Willows

The Wind In The Willows by Kenneth Grahame
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Nov 12, 11

bookshelves: britain, ya-children, classics, re-read-2011, read-in-2011
Recommended to Sue by: Anne Reach and Judy
Read from November 09 to 11, 2011

I found myself smiling as I finished this reading of The Wind in the Willows. Yes I enjoyed the tale of Rat and Mole and Badger and Toad and all the other assorted animals and their people who populate that corner of England.

What struck me most during this reading, which is my second as far as I recall, is that this just doesn't feel like a children's book in so many ways. The language is so rich. The descriptions, whether of characters or places, are so full. I find this better in some ways as an adult's children's story with all the obvious parables and lessons. Would they be obvious to a child? I wonder. Well this adult enjoyed them, given in their animal guise. Love and value your friends. Avoid that pride which definitely will lead to a fall. Biblical. Is this in fact the garden of Eden.
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Reading Progress

11/08/2011 page 1
0.0% "I find I have a review from past reading. This is the official 2011 review site!! The other rating was a remembrance of a reading past."
11/11/2011 page 248
100.0% "Ended reading the book with a smile."
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Comments (showing 1-44 of 44) (44 new)

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message 1: by Judy (new)

Judy I'm finding the references to other animals and people interesting.
*the only idle dog
*fellows
*people
I had to laugh at this sentiment of Mole's ..the best part of a holiday is perhaps not so much to be resting yourself, as to see all the other fellows busy working.


message 2: by Sue (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sue I have a whole new outlook on that now that I'm no longer working at all. I'm only up to page 18 as I just started a bit ago and the book I have has smallish print, but I shall soldier on. (kind of a British sound don't you think)


message 3: by Judy (new)

Judy Sue wrote: "I have a whole new outlook on that now that I'm no longer working at all. I'm only up to page 18 as I just started a bit ago and the book I have has smallish print, but I shall soldier on. (kind of..."

Definitely British, but love it. There's been a few words I have to look up.


message 4: by Anne (new)

Anne Judy wrote:I had to laugh at this sentiment of Mole's ..the best part of a holiday is perhaps not so much to be resting yourself, as to see all the other fellows busy working. "

I loved that too.



message 5: by Judy (new)

Judy Sue wrote: "I have a whole new outlook on that now that I'm no longer working at all. I'm only up to page 18 as I just started a bit ago and the book I have has smallish print, but I shall soldier on. (kind of..."

Are you finding it hard to read?


message 6: by Sue (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sue Actually returned home from doing some errands and just read another 30 pages or so. So I guess I'm not finding it difficult to read.

One thing I'm struck by is that this book certainly doesn't talk down to children. Some of it really almost seems for adults (I'm thinking word selection more than story). The edition I have has black and white illustrations which I like but somehow can't see a child enjoying. The market for this book for adults must definitely exist.

I've just reached Toad falling in deep enchantment with the car. Once the adventures begin, everything moves right along.


message 7: by Judy (new)

Judy I'm glad you are liking it better, Sue. The subject matters seems more geared to children and the language adults. Since it was written turn of the century, maybe kids talked and read at a higher level. Mine doesn't have illustrations since it so compact. I finished chapter 4. My goal is to read 4 chapters a day since there are only 12 chapters.


message 8: by Judy (new)

Judy Anne wrote: "Judy wrote:I had to laugh at this sentiment of Mole's ..the best part of a holiday is perhaps not so much to be resting yourself, as to see all the other fellows busy working. "

I loved that too."


Doesn't it make you want to go on vacation, Anne?


message 9: by Anne (new)

Anne Not really. I'd rather be working.


message 10: by Sue (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sue Actually, if it's one of Toad's vacations, I'd rather not be there.


message 11: by Judy (new)

Judy Sue wrote: "Actually, if it's one of Toad's vacations, I'd rather not be there."

No kidding! With his lack of driving skills it might be the last vacation taken.


message 12: by Anne (new)

Anne Judy wrote: "Sue wrote: "Actually, if it's one of Toad's vacations, I'd rather not be there."

No kidding! With his lack of driving skills it might be the last vacation taken."


I haven't read that part yet, but I'm cracking up. I can just imagine it. Thanks for making me laugh this morning. I hope I can catch up with you guys.


message 13: by Judy (new)

Judy Anne wrote: "Judy wrote: "Sue wrote: "Actually, if it's one of Toad's vacations, I'd rather not be there."

No kidding! With his lack of driving skills it might be the last vacation taken."

I haven't read that..."


You will. In the meantime I won't give anything more away..... ! :)


message 14: by Anne (new)

Anne You're not giving anything away, not with this book. It's not the kind of book you can "spoil" by knowing ahead of time that these critters get into a car crash. I mean, really. We're talking about badgers and rats and moles (who eat up my garden). We're not talking about a major novel here or a who-done-it. Spoil away.


message 15: by Sue (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sue I have to say (again) I find this the oddest combination of adult/child's book ever. I think I like it better an an adult's book in a way.


message 16: by Anne (last edited Nov 10, 2011 10:34AM) (new)

Anne I wonder what age this books appeals to the most. Grade 4-6 which equals ages 9-11. Does that make sense? I wasn't much of a kid at that age, myself, so I don't really know.


message 17: by Judy (new)

Judy It appeals to my "kid-ness". :)


message 18: by Sue (last edited Nov 10, 2011 02:00PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sue I read books "older" than my age throughout my childhood so I guess I don't know about the age for books. I remember I read "gone With The Wind" in the 6th grade and loved it. There was a discussion about this at CR. Wonder what I'd think today.

I do like many YA books now that are recommended to me by friends but none of them read like WiTW.

I am rethinking a bit though, if my book had some nice colored pictures and larger print I suppose it could appear physically as a children's book. My copy doesn't. Maybe that's part of the subliminal confusion for me.


message 19: by Judy (new)

Judy I wish I could see your pictures because I'm having a hard time figuring out if the animals are normal size and the people are smaller... Are the cars toy-size so Mr Toad can drive it? I'm over-thinking it, aren't I?


message 20: by Sue (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sue I'm not really going there. Sort of how I don't try to pronounce the names in Russian novels. I just let them glide over me.

The pictures seem to show the animals as a bit more than life size. I'm thinking particularly of the scene where Rat and Mole are looking in the window in the Village. They are tall enough standing on their hind legs to look up at the window. And there is a picture of Toad walking away from the prison in the washer woman's clothes so obviously he was large enough to wear them.

This is the magical world where I guess we aren't meant to think too much about it since then they are small enough to slip back under the ground or into the river bank. I'm taking it as a book not to think about, just to accept sort of at face value.


message 21: by Judy (new)

Judy I'll try to tune out the logical side of my brain. :) It really is a cute book. I'm glad we read it together. I plan to finish it up today.


message 22: by Sue (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sue I've been busy so far today so I probably won't finish til tonight for discussion purposes. Four chapters to go.


message 23: by Judy (new)

Judy I've only gotten one chapter read, Sue. The vet was able to get our stray kitten in for his little operation. I hope to get it finished tonight also. If not, it can wait until tomorrow.


message 24: by Sue (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sue Sounds like a good plan.


message 25: by Judy (new)

Judy Still trying to picture the hair on toad's head. He definitely is a unique toad! Now, he can ride a horse, too.


message 26: by Sue (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sue He's a silly and strange toad, he is!

I've finished. I found the last couple of chapters to fly by. And I literally finished with a smile on my face. I'm glad you and Anne suggested reading this--it was a delight. I love Rat and Mole. Toad---well I'm afraid I've probably met a few like him who never did learn a lesson.

The vocabulary and use of language in this book amazed me to the end. It's no insult to an adult to read this with such rich description throughout.


message 27: by Pete (new)

Pete daPixie 'that corner of England' you mention in your review is along the river Thames in Berkshire. (I didn't know that Kenneth Grahame was actually Scottish.)
Peter Acroyd writes of Grahame, Jerome, Carroll, Dickens & Shelley etc., all riverside dwellers, in 'Thames-Sacred River.'


message 28: by Judy (new)

Judy Thanks for the rec, Pete, that does look enlightening.

I fell asleep before finishing the book last night, so will finish the last chapter today. One thing I loved about this book was that there were some creatures not usually used in animal-fiction, mole and badger, water rat. Also, the rat wasn't shrewd, sneaky and generally obnoxious, he was the good guy for a change. Like that! I like to pick up Mole and cuddle him, he is such a sweetie.


message 29: by Judy (new)

Judy I finished this afternoon. What a nice cozy, sweet book. Thanks for reading with me. :)


message 30: by Sue (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sue Pete wrote: "'that corner of England' you mention in your review is along the river Thames in Berkshire. (I didn't know that Kenneth Grahame was actually Scottish.)
Peter Acroyd writes of Grahame, Jerome, Car..."


Thanks for the added info Pete. I wasn't even thinking in terms of the Thames when reading. That adds even more to the book. I am going to have to read the Thames book.


message 31: by Sue (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sue Judy wrote: "I finished this afternoon. What a nice cozy, sweet book. Thanks for reading with me. :)"

And to you Judy. I'm glad I read it and it is fun to read together.


Monica I read a beautifully illustrated version of his to my nephew before he could speak, and, being a boys boy, he wanted the bits about the automobile read over and over, especially the bits with engine sound effects.


message 33: by Sue (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sue Must have been fun. I can see Toad appealing to the little boys everywhere.


Zanna I think classic/Victorian children's books tend to be very adult! I was given a book of Victorian Fairy Tales when I was a child. Fortunately I was very bookish, or I would have found it very difficult!


message 35: by Sue (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sue They seem to exist on more than a child's level for sure. This story, in book form, is really not a child's tale though a cartoon/animated feature would likely captivate a child and the illustrations and reading it aloud would probably interest many. The edition I have is definitely intended for an adult or much older child since it has almost no illustrations and small print. I picked it up in England as a momento of a vacation in the 1970s.


Zanna Oh that sounds nice! In general I am not much bothered about books as things. But my mum has a little first edition of The Lady of Shallott. And I get it = )


message 37: by Sue (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sue Have to admit I do like books often for themselves though I don't have any valuable ones. I did find one from around 1900 in my mother's house when we were cleaning out her house and kept it because it is a nice little Christmas book. I'm sentimental too and kept a few things my siblings didn't want like my mother's riding crop, etc.

The book you are going to have one day sounds wonderful. Some things are more than things since they have so much history and memory in them.


Zanna Ah I meant 'I understand the appeal'


message 39: by Sue (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sue Given that you are here on GR, I guess that's something I'd expect, but I also can understand not being into things. I'm a bit into them. My brother was helping me last year after I'd been in a car accident. He brought all the stuff that had to be emptied out of my car over to my apartment. My trunk was still full of things I'd used for my homecare job that I'd never gotten around to taking care of. Well he looked at my books and told me I have a problem.

Of course this is the same brother who planned to throw away the originals of all the photos we had found in my mother's house after his daughter made a dvd for each of us children. My sister and I halted that. On going through them, I found names and dates confirming identities of family members, etc. Also, computer scanned reproductions aren't the same as an original photo from the early 20th century or late 19th, no way.

I am trying to "filter" my belongings, but it's a difficult task.!


Zanna I like things, but only if I use them, if they have a moment of use in which they help me experience transcendence. Like a handpainted bowl or a pair of turquoise silk trousers. But I'm not attached to things so much for memories, or for collecting and having, like a library of books - I just give them away unless I really expect to read them again or look for something in them or pass them on to a particular person in the future


message 41: by Sue (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sue I should become more like that. I'm a work in progress. But I know there are some things I will retain that attachment to.


Zanna eh, I don't wanna suggest that my way is the better way at all; it's just what I find in myself, the inclination that keeps rising to the surface. My political beliefs are maybe in tension with a lifetime of socialisation... I can't step outside of those influences... but under and behind that dialogue is... the tingle in the spine, the voice of love, what Audre Lorde calls the erotic. I try to listen to that, because when I dance to it then I am lit up, I am really alive


message 43: by Sue (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sue :)
To life!


Zanna to life!


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