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The Wind in the Willows

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“All this he saw, for one moment breathless and intense, vivid on the morning sky; and still, as he looked, he lived; and still, as he lived, he wondered.”

For more than a century, The Wind in the Willows and its endearing protagonists—Mole, Water Rat, Badger, and, of course, the incorrigible Toad—have enchanted children of all ages. Whether the four friends are setting forth on an exciting adventure, engaging in a comic caper, or simply relaxing by the River Thames, their stories will surprise and captivate you.

Hailed as one of the most enduringly popular works of the twentieth century, this story is a classic of magical fancy and enchanting wit. Penned in lyrical prose, the adventures and misadventures of the book’s intrepid quartet of heroes raise fantasy to the level of myth. Reflecting the freshness of childhood wonder, it still offers adults endless sophistication, substance, and depth.

The animals’ world embodies the author’s wry, whimsical, and unfailingly inventive imagination. It is a world that succeeding generations of both adult and young readers have found irresistible. But why say more? To use the words of the estimable Mr. Toad himself: “Travel, change, interest, excitement!...Come inside.”

197 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1908

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About the author

Kenneth Grahame

1,257 books563 followers
Kenneth Grahame was a Scottish writer, most famous for The Wind in the Willows (1908), one of the classics of children's literature. He also wrote The Reluctant Dragon; both books were later adapted into Disney films.

AKA:
كينيث جرام (Arabic)
Κέννεθ Γκρέιαμ (Greek)

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 7,954 reviews
Profile Image for J. Aleksandr Wootton.
Author 5 books126 followers
January 19, 2012
Trying to review The Wind in the Willows is a strange undertaking. In the introduction to my copy, A. A. Milne wrote:

"One can argue over the merits of most books... one does not argue about The Wind in the Willows. The young man gives it to the girl with whom he is in love, and if she does not like it, he asks her to return his letters. The old man tries it on his nephew, and alters his will accordingly. ... When you sit down to [read] it, don't be so ridiculous as to suppose you are sitting in judgment on my taste, or on the art of Kenneth Grahame. You are merely sitting in judgment on yourself. You may be worthy; I don't know. But it is you who are on trial."

Milne's comments may seem overly grave, especially to those familiar with Grahame's lighthearted, whimsical, occasionally mystical, story of Mole and Water Rat's genteel life on the bank of the River and the adventures of the incorrigible and ridiculous (and highly entertaining) Mr. Toad, wanton son of worthier sires, but look here: if you love the story, you are clearly on the side of the Hobbits (indeed, if you want to know what life in the Shire is like, I can't think of a better book to refer you to); and if you dislike it, you may be an Orc at heart - seducable, like Toad, away from quiet contemplative enjoyment of this sometimes-slow book by the flash and boom of technological gimmickry. You might be the kind of person who prefers to run on an electric treadmill or rubber sports track than hike a nature trail.

And if you are, I hope you have friends as stubbornly loyal as Mole, Water Rat, and Badger who will stick by you, in spite of yourself, until you come around.
Profile Image for Jan-Maat.
1,525 reviews1,771 followers
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December 6, 2019
An Edwardian children's book that ends with the reimposition by force of the traditional squirearchical social order on the upstart lower orders as represented by Weasels, Stoats and Ferrets.

It is a through introduction to traditional British conservatism, of the Country Life rather than the Economist variety, for children with a side order of mild paganism. As such is an unwitting counterpoint to The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists.

As with How to Read Donald Duck, once you look at it and shrug off the view that it is just a children's book then the values on show are not so nice. What is it that readers are asked to feel nostalgia for?

This was published in 1908, before Lloyd George prepared his People's Budget in 1909/10, before The Parliament Act of 1911 and at the same time as women were agitating for the vote. There are the book's Weasels, Stoats and Ferrets - so take up your cudgel to uphold Merrie Olde England and our ancestral rights to under occupied manor houses and the freedom to behave with some reckless abandon!

Alternatively we have the nostalgia of The Leisure Class, our heroes are people who don't have to work, who are so different from ordinary people that they don't even have to be human any more and who can indulge themselves as they see fit - save for the inexplicable unreasonableness of the law.

Ultimately it is what is, as we all are, in this particular case a homoerotic fantasy in which all the men and boys can go off and live an upper middle-class life as animals by the river banks without having to deal with the consequences of that decision, the women will still be prepared to do the washing and the ironing apparently, and indeed woe betide the creature that tries to interrupt this way of life. The only duty is to one another, infringement of privilege punishable by violence. For all its emphasis on nature and the river, it is a very inward looking book. It is a closed off world, the industrial, urban society with a market economy is literally populated by a different species. There are few things quite as curious and peculiar as the stories people would like children to delight in.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,568 reviews55.5k followers
February 7, 2022
The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame

The Wind in the Willows is a children's novel by Scottish novelist Kenneth Grahame, first published in 1908.

With the arrival of spring and fine weather outside, the good-natured Mole loses patience with spring cleaning. He flees his underground home, emerging to take in the air and ends up at the river, which he has never seen before. Here he meets Rat (a water vole), who at this time of year spends all his days in, on and close by the river. Rat takes Mole for a ride in his rowing boat. They get along well and spend many more days boating, with “Ratty” teaching Mole the ways of the river, with the two friends living together in Ratty's riverside home.

One summer day, Rat and Mole disembark near the grand Toad Hall and pay a visit to Toad. Toad is rich, jovial, friendly and kind-hearted, but aimless and conceited; he regularly becomes obsessed with current fads, only to abandon them abruptly. Having recently given up boating, Toad's current craze is his horse-drawn caravan. He persuades the reluctant Rat and willing Mole to join him on a trip. Toad soon tires of the realities of camp life, and sleeps in the following day to avoid chores.

Later that day, a passing motorcar scares the horse, causing the caravan to overturn into a ditch. Rat threatens to have the law on the car driver, while Mole calms the horse, but Toad's craze for caravan travel is immediately replaced by an obsession with motorcars. Mole wants to meet the respected but elusive Badger, who lives deep in the Wild Wood, but Rat – knowing that Badger does not appreciate visits – tells Mole to be patient and wait for Badger to pay them a visit himself.

Nevertheless, on a snowy winter's day, while the seasonally somnolent Rat dozes, Mole impulsively goes to the Wild Wood to explore, hoping to meet Badger. He gets lost in the woods, sees many "evil faces" among the wood's less-welcoming denizens, succumbs to fright and panic and hides, trying to stay warm, among the sheltering roots of a tree. ...

عنوانهای چاپ شده در ایران: «ب‍اد در م‍ی‍ان‌ ش‍اخ‍ه‌ه‍ای‌ ب‍ی‍د»؛ «باد در درختان بید‮»؛ «باد در بیدزار»؛ ن‍ویسنده‌: ک‍ِن‍ِت‌ گ‍راه‍ام‌؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز بیست و سوم ماه اکتبر سال2002میلادی

عنوان: ب‍اد در م‍ی‍ان‌ ش‍اخ‍ه‌ه‍ای‌ ب‍ی‍د؛ ن‍ویسنده‌: ک‍ِن‍ِت‌ گ‍راه‍ام‌؛ مت‍رج‍م: ش‍اه‍ده‌ س‍ع‍ی‍دی‌‏‫؛ ت‍ص‍وی‍رگ‍ر: ارن‍س‍ت‌.چ‌ ش‍پ‍ارد؛ ت‍ه‍ران‌: نشر چشمه، کتاب ونوشه‏‫، سال1379؛ در228ص؛ شابک9645571332؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان بریتانیا - سده20م

عنوان: ‏‫باد در درختان بید‮؛ نویسنده: ک‍ِن‍ِت‌ گرهم‏‫؛ مترجم: آرزو احمی‮‬؛ تهران: پیدایش‏‫، سال1395؛ در309ص؛ شابک9786002964045؛‮‬ چاپ دوم سال1396؛

عنوان: باد در بیدزار؛ نویسنده: ک‍ِن‍ِت‌ گراهام؛ مترجم: سحر‌السادات رخصت‌ پناه؛ ویراستار: مهدی حجوانی؛ تهران: افق‏‫، سال‏‫1396؛ در193ص؛ شابک9786003533493؛ چاپ دوم سال1396؛ در331ص؛

عنوان: باد در میان شاخه‌های بید؛ نویسنده: ک‍ِن‍ِت‌ گراهام؛ مترجم المیرا کاس نژاد؛ ویراستار: عزت جلالی؛ تهران: پینه دوز‏‫، سال‏‫1396؛ در52ص؛ شابک9789642886999؛‬‬

با رسیدن بهار و خوب شدن آب و هوا، حوصله ی «موش کور» خوش قلب داستان، از نظافت و تمیزکاری سر میرود؛ او از خانه ی زیرزمینی خود خارج شده، و پس از گذشت مدتی، به رودخانه ای میرسد، که پیشتر هرگز آن را ندیده بود؛ «موش کور» در آنجا، «موش آبی» را دیدار میکند که در این موقع از سال، تمام روزهایش را در کنار آب رودخانه میگذراند؛ این دو با قایق «موش کور» به گشتن در رودخانه مشغول میشوند، و رابطه ی دوستانه ای میانشان شکل میگیرد؛

کتاب «باد در درختان بید»، نوشته ی «ک‍ِن‍ِت‌ گراهام»، همانند دیگر آثار بزرگ ادبیات کودک، برای بزرگترها هم همیشه جذاب، و دلپسند بوده است؛ با اینکه این کتاب برای نخستین بار در سال1908میلادی به انتشار رسید، و در آن زمان، اتومبیلها چندان فراگیر نبودند، «باد در درختان بید»، به شکل شگفت انگیزی، توصیفاتی بسیار امروزی، از «آقای وزغ» عاشق سرعت، «گورکن مهربان»، «موش آبی احساساتی» و «موش کور ماجراجو» ارائه میدهد؛ این رمان از لطافت طبع، و سبک نگارش دل ��نگیز «کنت گرهم» بهره مند بوده، و داستانی بسیار جذاب و سرگرم کننده درباره ی شجاعت، بخشندگی و از همه مهمتر، درباره ی دوستی است

نقل نمونه از متن: (صدای زمخت و مشکوکی گفت: «اگر یک بار دیگر چنین اتفاقی بیفتد، خیلی عصبانی می‌شوم؛ این دیگر کیست که در همچین شبی مزاحم مردم می‌شود؟ حرف بزن!» موش فریاد زد: «گورکن، لطفاً بگذار بیاییم داخل؛ منم، موش، با دوستم موش کور؛ توی برف راهمان را گم کردیم.» گورکن با لحنی کاملاً متفاوت گفت: «چی؟ موش‌ موشک، دوست کوچولوی عزیزم! بیایید داخل، هر دوتان، همین حالا؛ حتماً خیلی عذاب کشیدید! توی برف گم شده‌ اید؛ من هیچ‌ وقت در برف گم نشده‌ ام، آن هم در جنگل، آن هم این وقت شب؛ بیایید تو.» دو جانور از بس هول بودند وارد خانه شوند، لای دست‌ و‌ پای هم رفتند داخل، و وقتی صدای بسته شدن در، پشت سرشان را شنیدند، خوشحالی و آسودگی وجودشان را فرا گرفت؛ گورکن، لباس خواب بلندی به تن داشت، دمپایی‌هایش هم واقعاً کهنه بودند، شمع کوتاهی در دست گرفته بود، و احتمالاً وقتی احضارش کردند، داشت می‌رفت بخوابد؛ او نگاه محبت‌ آمیزی به آن دو انداخت، دستی به سرشان کشید، و مثل پدری دلسوز گفت: «این از آن شب‌هایی نیست که دو جانور کوچک بیرون بمانند؛ فکر کنم دوباره سرگرم یکی از آن مسخره‌ بازی‌هایت بودی، موش‌ موشک؛ بیایید، بیایید توی آشپزخانه؛ آنجا آتش خوبی روشن است و شام هم هست.»؛ گورکن شمع ‌به‌ دست جلوتر رفت، و راه را روشن کرد، آنها هم سقلمه‌ ای به هم زدند، و دنبالش رفتند، از راهرویی دراز، تاریک و درب و ‌‌داغان گذشتند، وارد اتاقی مرکزی، که راهروهای دراز و تونل‌ مانندی از آن خارج می‌شد، شدند، تونل‌هایی اسرارآمیز، که از قرار معلوم ته نداشتند؛ اما اتاق، درهایی هم داشت، درهایی محکم از چوب بلوط؛ گورکن، یکی‌ از آنها را باز کرد، و بلافاصله خود را، در روشنایی و گرمای آشپزخانه‌ ای با آتشی بزرگ یافتند؛ زمین پوشیده از آجرهایی قرمز و کهنه‌ بود، و در شومینه‌ ی بزرگش، آتشی بین دو ستون، که در دیوار کار گذاشته شده بود، دور از خطر باد و بوران، می‌سوخت؛ یک جفت نیمکت، با پشتی بلند روبروی هم، جلوی آتش قرار داشتند، و وسایل آسایش بیشتری را، برای کسانی که دوست داشتند بنشینند، و معاشرت کنند، فراهم می‌کردند؛ وسط اتاق، میز درازی از چوب خام، با سه پایه، و دو نیمکت در دو طرفش، قرار داشت؛ در انتهای میز، جاییکه یک صندلی عقب زده شده بود، بقیه‌ ی شام روستایی، اما مفصل گورکن قرار داشت؛ ردیف‌های بشقاب‌های تمیز، از قفسه‌ های کمدی در انتهای اتاق، به آنها چشمک می‌زدند، و از تیرک‌های بالای سرشان: گوشت، دسته‌های سبزی خشک، تورهایی پر از پیاز، و سبدهای تخم‌ مرغ، آویزان بود؛ شبیه جایی بود، که قهرمانان می‌توانستند، پیروزی‌شان را با بریز و بپاش بزرگی، جشن بگیرند، جاییکه کشاورزان خسته از درو محصول، می‌توانستند گروه گروه پشت میزش بنشینند، و با آواز و شادی، جشن خرمن برگزار کنند، یا جایی که دو سه دوست ساده می‌توانستند، هر طور که راحت بودند، دور هم بنشینند، با ‌آسودگی و رضایت، چیزی بخورند، و پیپ بکشند، و با هم حرف بزنند.)؛ پایان نقل

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 17/04/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ 17/11/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
September 3, 2022
A delightful and entrancing story for children to wonder and adults to ponder! :)

The protagonists, our incorrigible and exasperating toad, the loyal and responsible friends, the water rat and ever-gadding mole, and finally our revered badger.

It's about the forest adventures of the comrades rat and mole, luncheons, dinner parties, forest gala setting and hubbub, the vanity and conceited adventures of Mr. Toad and the sagacity of our revered Badger. All are gallivanting around in the forest, a pure joyride!

Kenneth Grahame can make anyone develop a stark fascination for forests by his brilliant exposition of dense nature theme and tidbit details that go unnoticed. There is not a moment of mental lull, when you dive into this menagerie of our distinctive and adorable protagonists.

A meditative outstanding forest joyride which professes loyalty and value of friendship, ramifications of greed and robbery, misjudgments and reverence , conceit and vanity, and above all - animal etiquettes.

The animal kingdom religiously adheres to few protocols (human kingdom should learn about the diligent adherence to etiquettes, world will become a paradise for all !)

"It is quite against animal etiquette to dwell on possible trouble ahead, or even to allude to it"

“No animal, according to the rules of animal-etiquette, is ever expected to do anything strenuous, or heroic, or even moderately active during the off-season of winter.”

A perfect 5-star for this meditative read on this amusing menagerie and hilarious adventures.

Nb
- I loved, how the jailer's daughter, clever and perspicacious, eventually befriends the toad and helps him escape from the prison.

For adults
- There are so many insanely trivial things that we miss out in our daily lives, which this nature-themed exposition and colorful distinctive menagerie will teach us to ponder and appreciate!!!!
Profile Image for Bionic Jean.
1,212 reviews1,002 followers
December 14, 2022
Some of the best children’s classics have started with an adult inventing stories to tell to a child. “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”, “Winnie the Pooh”, “Peter Pan” and even “Watership Down” all began this way, as did many others. The Wind in the Willows is another such. Like them, it is a novel which can be read on many levels, and arguably has a hidden subtext. And like some others, its writing was prompted by a family tragedy.

Kenneth Grahame had already established himself as a talented writer, and had considerable literary success in the 1890s. He regularly published stories in literary magazines. These stories about a family of parentless children, were collected in one volume called “The Golden Age” in 1895. He followed this up in 1898 with “Dream Days”, a sequel, which was even more successful, and established him as a writer with a special insight into childhood. “Dream Days” itself included another children’s story, “The Reluctant Dragon”. Throughout his career, he had published children’s books and a memoir of childhood. He was successful and well-known, well before The Wind In The Willows was even thought of.

Kenneth Grahame had a child of his own, Alastair, to whom he felt very close. He used to tell his son fanciful stories about wild animals who lived by the nearby river, and in the “Wild Wood”. When Alastair was about four years old, Kenneth Grahame would tell “Mouse” (his nickname for Alastair) bedtime stories about a toad. And whenever the two were apart, his father would write more tales about Toad, Mole, Ratty and Badger in letters to his young son Alastair.

Kenneth Grahame’s own childhood at this age however, was far from rosy. He had been born in 1859, in Edinburgh. His father was aristocratic; a failed lawyer, who loved poetry—but who loved vintage claret even more. The drinking became worse when Kenneth Grahame’s mother, Bessie, died soon after she had given birth to his brother, Roland. Kenneth was just 5, when he and his three siblings went to live with their grandmother. There they lived in a spacious but dilapidated home with huge grounds, by the river Thames, and were introduced to the riverside and boating by their uncle, who was a curate.

We can clearly see echoes of his childhood in The Wind in the Willows. His grandmother’s decrepit house, “The Mount” has transmogrified into the huge mansion, “Toad Hall”, and the book is redolent with riverside and boating scenes. Kenneth Grahame was forced to move to and fro between the two adults, when the chimney of the house collapsed one Christmas, and shortly afterwards their father tried to overcome his drinking problem and took the children back to live with him in Argyll, Scotland. This brief sojourn only lasted a year before they all returned to their grandmother, where Kenneth lived until he went to an Independent school in Oxford. Whilst there he had the freedom to explore the old city as well as the upper reaches of the River Thames, and the nearby countryside. All this comes into The Wind in the Willows.

The young Kenneth did well at school, and dreamed of going to university. He was actually offered a place at the prestigious Oxford University, and was set for high academic honours, but it was not to be. The family finances had dwindled so much that his father wanted him go into a profession straight from school. Kenneth Grahame was therefore forced straight into work at the Bank of England, and duly worked there for thirty years, gradually rising through the ranks to become its Secretary. In 1908, the year The Wind in the Willows was published, he took early retirement.

As a young man in his 20s, Kenneth Grahame was a contemporary and friend of Oscar Wilde. Although married, and having a home in Berkshire, during the week he shared a London home with the painter and theatre set designer, Walford Graham Robertson. Both were very involved with the gay community, whose leading light at the time was Oscar Wilde. Another connection with the gay community was through Constance Smedley, a family friend who helped with the publication of The Wind in the Willows. A year later she was to marry the artist Maxwell Armfield, who himself was gay.

It seems very possible that Kenneth Grahame was gay, despite having a wife and child. This was a time when homosexual acts were still illegal. The novel can be read as having a gay subtext, and passages such as the description of the ancient Greek god of the wild, Pan, are quite sensuous, with descriptions of his “rippling muscles”. One academic, Professor Hunt, the emeritus professor in English and children’s literature at Cardiff University, suggests that the works were manifestations of a life which Kenneth Grahame longed for. Whether this is conscious or not, it is noticeably “a story of maleness and male companionship”, with hardly a female in sight. The only exceptions are the washerwoman, the barge woman and the jailer’s daughter. All of these are secondary characters, and perhaps even more significantly, they are human, not animal.

It is the animals in this story who are the well-nuanced, fully developed characters; the humans are merely stock types, who fill some of the minor roles. Yes, Badger is the wise teacher, mentor or parent figure, and one who is looked to for leadership, but he has his own quirky faults. His speech is described as “common”; he excitedly want to get his “grub” (food). And amusingly, both Rat and Mole end up very confused as Badger insists, “I want to learn ’em, not teach ’em!” when they are discussing teaching a lesson (chastening them).

Despite his success, and eligibility as husband material, Kenneth Grahame remained awkward in the company of the opposite sex. Only when he was 40 did he marry Elspeth Thomson, a woman who was devoted to him. Kenneth Grahame however, in a strange echo of James M. Barrie, remained distant, and incapable of demonstrating love. Elspeth grew increasingly miserable, taking to her bed for much of the day.

Their only child, Alastair, or “Mouse” was born a little prematurely, in 1900. He was blind in his right eye, and the other had a severe squint. Mouse was much loved by both parents, but it was probably the case that Kenneth Grahame was trying to relive his own childhood through his son, especially his thwarted academic aspirations, and he had absurdly high academic expectations of Alastair. “Mouse” had morbid fancies, and when he was three and a half, in an act chillingly prophetic of his own death, amused himself playing a game where he lay in front of speeding cars to bring them screeching to a halt. Another odd instance occurred when he was given his presents on his fourth birthday. Instead of enjoying playing with them, he started to repack them in complete silence.

This strange little boy was bullied at Rugby School, and again when transferring to Eton. He left the school, and was privately tutored in Surrey. Mouse was of a nervous disposition, and aware that he was not coming up to his father’s unrealistic expectations for him. His eyesight was worsening; he was fragile, and thoroughly miserable when he started as an undergraduate at Christ Church College, in 1918. He made no friends and joined no social clubs. He was to fail his Scripture, Greek and Latin exams three times within his first year; if he failed them again, he would be sent down (have to leave university).

It had all got too much for him. At his last dinner in Hall, he downed a glass of port, surprising the undergraduate sitting next to him. Alastair then set off across the meadows—the setting for all the stories his father had told him, which had entranced him so—and which were to become The Wind in the Willows. Across the meadows was the railway track.

With supreme irony, just as Peter Llewelyn Davis, the original for J.M. Barrie’s “Peter Pan” was to do many years later, Mouse threw himself under a train. He was just 19 years old.

When his decapitated body was found the next day, his pockets were crammed with religious books for his dreaded Scripture exam. He was buried in 1920, on his 20th birthday. His grave is hidden in a quiet corner of Oxford, in Holywell Cemetery, in the shadow of the medieval St. Cross Church. Located beside the River Thames, this is the gentle setting for Kenneth Grahame’s masterpiece. His father scattered lilies of the valley over the coffin. And 12 years later, his father too, a shattered genius who had now written The Wind In The Willows, was to be buried beside the doomed little boy who had inspired him. Perhaps after all, he had gained some catharsis through writing down the stories he had told his beloved little boy.

At the time of Alastair’s death, Kenneth Grahame was no longer the Secretary of the Bank of England. He left his post abruptly in 1908, following a reported dispute with a governor, Walter Cunliffe. Some academics view Walter Cunliffe as the template for Toad, in his bullyish and forceful nature, and it has been suggested that Walter Cunliffe knew of Grahame’s sexuality and bullied him about it, which led to his early retirement.

Kenneth Grahame and his wife (and son, Mouse) then moved to an old farmhouse, where father and son spent their time, “simply messing about in boats”. As we have seen, he used the bedtime stories he had told Alastair at this time, as a basis for the manuscript of The Wind in the Willows, where his characters do much of the same. But he was never to write anything else. For all his fame and fortune, Kenneth Grahame remained a tortured soul until his death in 1932, a broken-hearted man of 73.

Yet the legacy of this tragic life, is a delightfully whimsical tale which has entertained both children and adults for generations. We can recognise all the anthropomorphised animals so well from our own lives. It starts with Mole, an “Everyman” and hero of the story, a home-loving ordinary sort of chap. He is tempted to explore a little further than his own comfortable domesticity, when he meets Ratty, and is very impressed by his ideas. The water rat turns out to be a dashing free-spirited, imaginative and capable friend, and the two of them have many adventures. One involves meeting Badger, a venerable wise old soul, with his down to earth reasoning and help. He is a father figure or teacher to the others. Then of course there is Toad, who is wildly taken up by any new craze, and tempted by anything new. Toad is convinced that he can outwit everybody, and his ridiculous antics provide most of the humour in this book. He represents the spirit of abandonment and adventure that many of us might dream about, but are either too shy, or too practical and self-controlled to do.

Toad is impossibly vain and conceited, rather dim-witted, but when not devising new plot and tricks, he is very loyal. He has inherited a great house from his father, who knew full well what his impressionable and impulsive son was like, and asked Badger to look out for him, after he died. Toad is therefore immensely rich, but has a good heart essentially and is very generous to his friends, who spend much of their time getting him out off the scrapes he gets himself into. Children will love Mr. Toad, and secretly admire his devil-may-care attitude, and defiance of conventional rules and etiquette. His antics yet even this does not cool Toad’s delightfully wicked ways.

The purpose of children’s stories during this “golden era” of children’s literature, was largely didactic. Today its overt themes of appreciation for domesticity and manners may seem quaint and moralistic, yet in reality, most parents would want their children to follow these. Throughout the novel, Rat and Badger are praised for their hospitality, or and as in the case of Toad, criticised for their lack of it. Kenneth Grahame also shows children how to act towards others in certain situations, sometimes by speaking directly to the reader to comment on the importance of etiquette, from the smallest examples of table manners, or much larger concerns of honesty. Through both its plot and its writing style, The Wind in the Willows clearly shows the manners deemed proper in the Edwardian era.

Unlike the much more savage story of “Peter Pan”, Kenneth Grahame’s characters have to face the consequences of their actions. Both Mole and Toad make mistakes, and suffer for them. The characters in this novel are realistically flawed, as we all are, but children are shown that the way to learn and grow is to face those consequences.

The exploits and escapades of Mr. Toad were such an appealing part of the book, that 2 decades later, when it was in its 31st printing, the author A.A. Milne adapted those chapters for the stage. The result was A.A. Milne’s 1929 play, “Toad of Toad Hall”. Almost a century later, it was yet again adapted for the stage, this time as a musical, by Julian Fellowes. This is a book which has never been out of print, has many adaptations, and never lost its appeal.

One reason for this is that it is not just a collection of moral tales, but also an exciting adventure. Kenneth Grahame’s characters love adventures. In common with Victorian and Edwardian gentlemen, those from this class do not work. Instead they go on visits, take boats out on the river, go for long picnics, and enjoy the open air and Nature. Both they and we therefore as a consequence appreciate the beauty of Nature through exploration. Toad takes his road trips, home-loving Mole explores the Wild Wood on his own, and even Rat, thoroughly settled in his riverbank home, is momentarily tempted to setting out for an ocean life, at the end of the season. Each of the main characters is subject to the lure of adventure.

Yet whilst each of them has an adventurous spirit, and enjoys their various escapades, they all enjoy the sense of having a place of their own to return to. Rat and Badger seem older, and are more set in their ways. They prefer to stay close to their homes, while Mole and Toad want to see as much of the world as they can. Nevertheless, Mole and Toad are also glad to have a home to go to, and which they view with great affection. The closing scenes of the novel reiterate the power of home, with

Interestingly, although they are not human, each character represents a certain stage of a human’s life. Badger is the oldest and hence commands the most respect. Rat acts as if he is slightly younger than Badger, (for example, he is more active around his home) but he still seems to be very sensible and quite mature. Mole behaves like a young man just trying to make his way in the world. Sometimes he is quite daring, but he also needs someone to guide him, as he tends to make foolish decisions. Toad’s behaviour, very obviously, is that of a spoiled, immature child.

At this time, young men would often find their place in the world through the mentorship of an older, more established gentleman. We see an example of this with Rat and Mole. They instantly like each other, which enables Rat to advise Mole in many areas, and help him towards maturity, turning him into a considerate and kind gentleman. The reader sees how successful Rat has been by the end of the story. Mole plays an essential role in the final adventure at Toad Hall, and is highly praised by Badger. Toad, on the other hand, is a more difficult case, so only Badger can fill that role of a mentor. It will take a while, but we do see signs that Toad will improve as well. It is clear that Kenneth Grahame had a strong belief in the power an older man had, as a guide to a younger one.

The novel is a series of episodes, in twelve chapters; each in a way complete in themselves, and each varying a lot in its style and pace. Some are adventure stories, full of camaraderie; some are humorous interludes, often with a little moral lesson. Some are thrilling, and full of excitement; some far more contemplative, and beautifully evocative of the English countryside. And two chapters in particular, chapter 5, “Dulce Domum” about an animal’s instinct for home, and chapter 7, “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn”, about the great god Pan, are mystical, and very strange. Aspects of and references to the novel are to be found in unlikely places; “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn”, is also the name of Pink Floyd’s first album in 1967.

Yet oddly, as a whole, it works, as countless enthusiastic readers have attested. Catchphrases such as “messing about in boats” and “poop, poop!” have found their way into English culture. There are many abridgements and rewritten forms of the novel, with appropriate language for very young children. When I approached my latest reread. I was certain that I would easily be able to select just one of the three versions that I have, to keep. Nevertheless, all three seem to have somehow found their way back on to my shelves.

The Wind in the Willows is quintessentially English, and moreover very Edwardian. As we have seen, it is very concerned with correct form, and good manners; with what is required to be an upright jolly good fellow. We recognise the English traits of pomposity and bluster, a certain reserve, a sense of decency, a “stiff upper lip” in the face of danger, a dry and understated sense of humour, a sense of the ridiculous and absurd, and an enjoyment of adventure. The whole is imbued with a love of Nature and the English countryside, with lyrical passages which are quite beautiful. The whole is a paean to the English countryside, and Kenneth Grahame repeatedly shows his views of the superiority of country life over city life.

The novel begins when Mole decides to leave his crowded home in order to live more in the country, and this idea continues to permeate through each episode. We see the author’s views in his portrayal of the destructiveness of the motor car. He continually criticizes the ugliness of industrial life; a city became the Wild Wood once the humans abandoned it. But his love for the pastoral life comes through most in his prose, which is rich in imagery about the beauty of nature.

“the rich meadow-grass seemed that morning of a freshness and a greenness unsurpassable. Never had they noticed the roses so vivid, the willow-herb so riotous, the meadow-sweet so odorous and pervading.”

The relaxing settings, rustic picnics and peaceful rambles along the riverside, all contrast with the hectic, crowded city. As its author said, it is a book for those “who keep the spirit of youth alive in them; of life, sunshine, running water, woodlands dusty roads, winter firesides”. Altogether it is a very endearing book, and one which can be read over and over again.

It is one of the great children’s classics, and a book which is full of a type of carefree happiness. How especially poignant and ironic, then, that the little boy who enabled its creation, found that such delight and happiness always eluded himself.
Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews8,682 followers
August 21, 2019
I feel like I have been in a bit of a reading slump lately. It is not that I am reading a whole lot less, I am just not REALLY enjoying the time that I am reading. It might be that the whole family is in back to school mode, so schedules have changed. Or, maybe just the general ups and downs of life will occasionally put me in a “low interest in reading” category. All of this just to say that The Wind in The Willows is another victim of my “reading is meh” state.

When I first started this, I tried to read it to my kids every night. I figured since it was written for a younger crowd and I found it in the kid’s books section at the library it might be perfect for them. I recently read The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe to them and they loved it. So, this would be the next best step, right? Nope . . . they were not interested at all. We sat down for about 10 nights straight trying to read this and they quickly lost interest, loudly exclaiming “I’m bored” after a few pages. Around 40 or 50 pages in I finally gave up.

Then I went on to reading it on my own. Maybe my experience was tainted by my disgruntled children, but I was not getting much more excited about it than they did. Every time I read it I had to force myself to refocus as my mind was wandering. Now, this is not a complicated book, so the fact that I was losing touch with the content was definitely a red flag. And, I think another thing about it that was frustrating was that most of the book is really long run on sentences with lots of commas. You might think that doesn’t make a difference, but it is quite taxing on the brain when sentence after sentence goes on and on without a break. I kept wanted to yell “yes, yes, I get it! You can stop now!”

For many, this is a classic. If it was released now, I am not sure if it would be met with the same excitement. The story is kind of silly, which is okay as it is for kids. But, since it didn’t keep my kids interested, it must not be the right kind of silly. I need to look into the background of this story as I am sure that the anthropomorphic woodland creatures interacting with humans in a normal fashion must be an allegory for something. Or, maybe it all doesn’t mean anything. Either way, I am glad it is finally done and, on the bright side of things, I can check another classic off the list!
Profile Image for emma.
1,783 reviews42.8k followers
January 28, 2022
This book is no plot, just vibes.

If you're in the mood to just think about forest animals wearing tweed, and picnics in rowboats, and dinner parties attended by a bunch of rabbits and stuff à la the third act of Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr Fox, and it's cool with you if that replaces story altogether, you're in luck.

In short, if you want to get the same effect as if you looked at this picture for about an hour:


You're in the right place.

Bottom line: I cannot imagine children reading this book, but I can imagine cottagecore twenty-somethings reading it!

clear ur sh*t book 64
no quest, just seeing how many more i can finish
Profile Image for Anthony Buckley.
Author 9 books98 followers
February 26, 2012
This book was written in 1908, when the world was being shaken by the newly self-confident masses. Women were propagandising for the vote; the Irish were demanding Home Rule; the Trade Unions were showing their strength. Socialism theatened. A spectre was haunting Europe, and particularly England.

Wind in the Willows is an elegant parable about class struggle, about the dangers of decadant country-house-living in the face of powerful revolutionary forces.

There are maybe four generations in the story. There is the young man Ratty, a gentle sort of chap who spends his time messing about in boats. He is joined by the younger, less experienced Mole. Mole may even be petty-bourgeois, but he proves himself to be stout-hearted for all that. Mr Toad, however, has come into his inheritance, and lives in his country house. Toad is an irresponsible figure, taking up foolish hobbies of which, in the story, the most fateful is the motor car. The older man is Badger, and it is he that casts cold water on this irresponsibility.

But where is all this irresponsiblity going to lead? Outside this cosy comfortable setting, lie the dangerous forces in the Wild Wood. Mr Toad, besotted by his motor car, is arrested and sent to gaol. His defences down, his house is quickly occupied by the weasles and stoats who live in the Wild Wood.

To the rescue comes Mr Badger, who is wise enough to see that if Toad is to regain his valuable property, he must forsake idleness and frivolity and stand up to the people of the Wild Wood. So the band of gentlemanly heroes take up arms and re-establish the shaken social order.

"We shall creep out quietly into the butler's pantry -", cried the Toad,

"- with our pistols and swords and sticks - ", shouted the Rat,

"- and rush in upon them -", said the Badger,

"- and whack 'em and whack 'em and whack 'em - ", cried the Toad in ecstasy.


This is, then, a cautionary tale, a warning to the propertied classes to take up, if necessary, arms against the lower classes and to stop living lives of decadent indolence.
Profile Image for Fabian.
933 reviews1,525 followers
October 16, 2020
A genuinely refreshing little romp through tunnels & pastures. Zen is something that's somehow--& very surprisingly--reached. This is the ultimate impression the reader is left with.

Outstanding, engaging and more fun than Aesop's menagerie, it moralizes vaguely on fidelity, the value of friendships & associations... The final sentence even addresses finally the main target audience-- the 'lil tykes and treasured ones; and even sustains with the theory that looks may be deceiving... the Badger is ultimately not the savage beast you may've erroneously predicted.

Sure, it is rife with discrepancies: a world where humans speak animal & animals speak human. The aid of humans is, I will admit --KAhYYute! There is wisdom in this, far surpassing anything in Disney's* imaginarium. The animals begin to hear a single string, a musical undertone, & this drives their natures and certainly seals their fates.

Which are you? Adventurous Toad? Impressionable Mole? Generous Badger? otter? fox? washer-woman? little girl (remember, womenfolk don't enter the tale until half-way the story!)?... or do you simply presume to know it all, omnipresent, and wise as the wind?

*okay, so obviously the Disney version DOES exist [although, did the ride outright disappear from the Anaheim theme park?]. I'm not stupid... But really the book is a longer journey, more in the literary tradition of Thoreau, and not instantaneous and vapid and bumpy, like the "ride." [But, DID YOU KNOW?!?! You CAN read Kenneth Grahame's entire novel waiting in line for Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. If it still exists.]
Profile Image for Bionic Jean.
1,212 reviews1,002 followers
September 3, 2022
For my review of the text of this wonderful book, please LINK HERE.

This review is for an excellent illustrated edition of the children’s classic novel, The Wind in the Willows. The text is complete, printed in a largish font in an oversize book, and the many beautiful illustrations are by the established fantasy artist, Michael Hague. The quality of his work has been compared with that of Arthur Rackham, and indeed I noticed a few nods and tributes to his talented forebear, even to the style of Michael Hague’s signature on the corner of one particularly sepia-toned watercolour, using a wide alphabetical style, inside a hand-drawn oblong frame. This is very reminiscent of Arthur Rackham’s trademark signature.

Michael Hague describes how the love of The Wind in the Willows had passed through four generations of his family, with his grandmother remembering with delight her own father reading the book to her, shortly after it had first been published in 1908. When Michael Hague himself was asked to illustrate the book, he felt this to be a great honour, following in the steps of Ernest H. Shepard and Arthur Rackham, but he was also conscious of a great sense of responsibility:

“I love the book. I love the dependable Water Rat, the kindly Mole, the sturdy Badger, and especially I love Mr. Toad … There is, I think, a bit of Toad in all of us. Certainly there must have been a bit of Mr Toad in me when I agreed to illustrate his book.”



Michael Hague makes it clear that he does not try to reinterpret the story, but instead:

“to infuse my illustrations with the same spirit that Kenneth Graham’s magic words convey … I begin with character studies and try to capture on paper what I see in my mind’s eye.”

His small thumbnail sketches of each character are then developed and enlarged to full sketches, before Michael Hague begins to draw the full scene. This way of working has produced illustrations which are full of life, immediacy and energy. The individual personalities seem exactly right, as if they have sprung straight out of the story. I personally much prefer these to Ernest H. Shepard’s sketchily drawn features on his characters in this book, which do not seem to have the quirkiness and life of those in the “Winnie the Pooh” books.



Michael Hague works in line and water colour, although, unusually, he draws in 2H pencil initially, so that the thin wash will not be smudged. Either an ochre or blue wash is then laid down, depending on whether he envisages a cool or a warm picture. The other colours are then applied, and the ink lines are the final stage.



The result is a vibrant yet naturalistic illustration of old-fashioned country life. The affectionately drawn characters are set within countryside which is imbued with the season and the time of day, and is heavily atmospheric. The trees are dark, knobbly, brooding - and a few have faces, especially in the night time scenes. The riverbank is fresh and verdant, with easily to identify familiar flora bursting forth.



Indoor scenes are bustling with cheerful people, full of good humour (and a few sly jokes, such as a pickpocket in action, on the edge of one railway scene!) They are carefully observed, showing authentic Edwardian dress, and accurate ancient buildings such as the gaol. Equally, the indoor scenes of Mole’s homes and Toad’s castle feel cosy and comfortable, or impressively ornate, complete with oil portraits of Toad’s illustrious ancestors. All are a delight to pause over, and enjoy the detail therein.


If you wish to choose just one illustrated version for a child to read, when they are old enough to enjoy the unabridged novel with its original language, this edition is definitely the one I would recommend.
Profile Image for Manny.
Author 28 books13.4k followers
January 13, 2014
PART TWO OF PETER JACKSON'S THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS (CONCLUSION)

[Night. Toad Hall, interior. STEPHEN FRY as TOAD and ORLANDO BLOOM as BADGER are in the middle of a wild melée with numerous STOATS and WEASELS.]

BADGER: It's no good, Toad! There's too many of them! [With a blow of his cudgel, he knocks a WEASEL into the open fire.]

TOAD: We can hold them off, Badger old chap!

[EVANGELINE LILLY as a HOT BADGER-BABE crashes through the window and lands next to them.]

BADGER: [Choked with emotion] You came back.

HOT BADGER-BABE: Badger.

[For a moment, they just look at each other. A STOAT tries to take advantage of their inattention to sneak up on them from behind, but TOAD grabs a carving knife from the dining table and wittily disembowels him.]

BADGER: Thanks, Toad.

[TWO MORE STOATS have meanwhile advanced on TOAD. BADGER amusingly decapitates them with a single blow of his cudgel.]

TOAD: Nice work, Badger!

[Dissolve to the pantry, where MARTIN FREEMAN as MOLE is frantically mixing something in a large bowl, assisted by ELIJAH WOOD as RATTY.]

MOLE: Okay, that's the sugar. Now we need some fertilizer.

RATTY: Will this horse-shit do?

MOLE: It'll have to.

[He dumps it into the bowl, pours in the contents of a bottle, then accidentally drops everything on the floor.]

RATTY: Oh dear--

[A deafening explosion. Clouds of smoke cover everything, then we see letters superimposed on them saying PART THREE COMING NEXT CHRISTMAS.]

A REPRESENTATIVE OF THE ESTATE OF KENNETH GRAHAME: What have we done?
Profile Image for Debbie.
684 reviews425 followers
February 26, 2022
Why I chose to read this book:
1. My GR friend (and author), Holly Ducarte, recommended it to me; and,
2. it's a perfect read for my "Classics Month"!

Positives:
1. these interwoven animal tales were told as bedtime stories for Kenneth Grahame's son. They are warm and lighthearted with short, sweet plots featuring the loveable characters of Mole, Water Rat (I pictured a Muskrat), Toad and Badger;
2. speaking of characters, my favorite has to be Toad! Although quite conceited, Grahame expertly portrays him as a very likeable rascal. Luckily for Toad, his friends help keep him in check;
3. the settings, indoors and out, are all very descriptive! I loved all the cozy picnics and homey mealtimes. I also had fun trying to picture Rat, Toad and Mole catching a horse and harnessing it to a cart! and,
4. for me, this story was a little reminiscent of Watership Down, but much less intense and a lot more fun!

My only niggle:
Although written with children in mind, it's unfortunate that today's youngsters (and even some adults) would lack the patience and appreciation for the rich vocabulary and expressive prose in this well-loved story composed over 100 years ago; however,

I highly recommend this quick and fun read about the value of friendship!
Profile Image for C..
Author 19 books400 followers
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April 21, 2007
This is one of those books I want to love; I REALLY, really want to love this book. I've read so many essays by book lovers who have fond, childhood memories of being read this by their father, or who ushered in spring each year by taking this book to a grassy field and reading this in the first warm breezes of May. I want to find the tea and boating and wooded English countryside to be slow yet sonoriously comforting, like a Bach cello suite or a warm cup of cider on a cool April night.

But I just find it tediously boring. I've tried it three times, and after about twelve pages I sigh, put it down, and pick up something else. Perhaps my father needed to have read it to me when I was young.
Profile Image for Leo ..
Author 2 books381 followers
March 7, 2022
As a child I adored these tales. The TV show was great with real live animals from the riverbank and the calming voice of the narrator. Imagine living by a riverbank and having breakfast with the animals like Snow White. To watch the otters play. To listen to the water as it babbles over the stones and pebbles. To sing with the birds and marvel at the kingfishers with their iridescent feathers and absolute beauty. To wonder at the bees and butterflies as they collect nectar from colourful flowers. The purity of nature, the damsel flies and dragon flies. The water boatmen skimming across the surface of the water and water voles gnawing on water grass. A carp perhaps breaching the surface with a gaping maw trying to catch an insect. To see the badger and the fox. The deer and stoat. The owl and woodpecker. So much beauty from the riverbank. What a wonderful garden we live in.👍🐯👍🐯

In the woods:

I could sit here for hours...watching the babbling brook stream by
Exited by water boatmen and the colours of an iridescent Dragon fly
That sound of the water cascading over pebbles...soothing...real
For me this time alone...is a big deal
The silence only disturbed by birds singing
And in the distance...church bells ringing
No traffic or crowds...serene...peaceful...mellow
No buildings or tarmac or...lines of yellow
No stop signs...no entries...or cautionary laws
No infrastructure, technology...boundaries or walls
# leo'sesotericprose
Profile Image for Ron.
Author 1 book133 followers
August 10, 2016
They don't write books like The Wind in the Willows anymore.

Today's books for children are sly rhymes, action and social engineering. Wind belongs to an older, more innocent time when even accomplished men such as Kenneth Grahame, A. A. Milne and J. R. R. Tolkien invented stories for their children.

Stories which over the years became classics of literature.
Wind isn't a fairy tale so much as it's life told for those who will inherit it. Told by those who love the inheritors.

Even if you've read it before—especially if you've seen Disney's Bowlderized revision—read it again. Pause along the way to consider the world Grahmane portrays. This is England; this is childhood; this is life as we remember it, or wish it was.
Profile Image for Reading_ Tamishly.
3,940 reviews2,168 followers
October 20, 2021
"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."

Reading children's classics/books which I have missed out during my childhood when I'm an adult is quite a learning experience. To me, they're much more than just books meant for children. I, as an adult, who do not know everything about how children feel (especially for these fast changing times) and as someone who could only remember what I used to feel as a child, these books provide me with so much life and experience that they are teaching me lessons about different lives, letting me dive into emotions which I thought didn't exist and most importantly, they are filling up the void which I left behind with all my innocent curiosity and doubts.

This particular book is much more than a children's book. If I had read this book as a child, I might have seen it as just a story of the animal characters going through their daily lives and having some kind of adventure.

There are times in the story which would have been difficult for me to understand as a kid but made more sense to me as an adult. Like when the characters are having a breakdown and how the other characters deal with it; the Mole making a scene remembering his home; the novelty of being together until the end even when things get uncomfortable, strange and bizarre; the pretentious showoffs; handling difficult people in your circle; families and socializing; laws and prison; identity and belonging; mental health and mental state; and yes, that pride goes before the fall. Toad. Hope you do not dislike him that much. I could see the images of so many in his character. As well as in the characters of the humble Mole, the respectable Badger and the practical Rat. I am simply blown away by how these characters have been shaped and discussed throughout the adventurous story.

But now when I read it as an adult, the lines have so much more to deliver. The story is more meaningful and it gave me lots of things to think about.

*Some favourite lines:

"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 "

"Why can't fellows be allowed to do what they like when they like and as they like, instead of other fellows sitting on banks and watching them all the time and making remarks and poetry and things about them? What nonsense it all is!"
Profile Image for Ines.
316 reviews185 followers
June 16, 2019
I have read this book together with my almost 7 years old daughter, let’s say she has read it to me...
The stories are a bit odd, but the friendship between the mouse, the badger and the mole is nice.... my daughter did not like the toad at all, classic character typical of our days " all pretensions and rights but no duty"
I found no particularly important meaning in these stories, except the friendship that binds this little gang, still accepting the Toad, despite all the trouble combined...
We would only give two stars, but since we took the book with Inga Moore’s beautiful and dreamy illustrations we rounded it up to 3. I overestimated, and by a lot, this book. Too bad!!











Ho letto questo libro insieme alla mia bambina di quasi 7 anni, diciamo che lei l'ho ha letto a me....
le storie sono un pò strampalate, ma è carina l'amicizia tra il topo, il tasso e la talpa.... a mia figlia non è piaciuto per niente il Rospo, classico personaggio tipico dei nostri giorni " tutte pretese e diritti ma nessun dovere"
non ho trovato nessun significato particolarmente importante in queste storie, se non l'amicizia che lega questa piccola banda, accettando ancora Rospo, nonostante tutti i guai combinati...
Avremmo dato solo due stelline, ma dato che abbiamo preso l'edizione con le illustrazioni stupende e sognanti di Inga Moore abbiamo arrotondato a 3. Ho sopravvalutato, e di molto, questo libro. Peccato!!
Profile Image for Jason Koivu.
Author 7 books1,198 followers
February 12, 2014
Lavishly described meandering adventures of the mild nature.

The Wind in the Willows has an intrinsically English flavor. The characters are happy to live their ordinary lives with only a hint of interest in the wider world. Too strong of an adventurous spiritedness is considered uncouth. Such hearty frivolity as Toad's is frowned upon to the utmost!

Unfortunately this goes for the author, too. Kenneth Grahame's plots are not terribly gripping due to their lack of depth. He seems pleased rather to spend the time describing a pleasant boating holiday down the river. If it wasn't for the scenes with the Wonderful Toad, the Fantastic Toad there would be very little excitement indeed.

However, it is the bond of friendship and the love of homely pleasures that entices us to read on. I gave it 3 stars, because I liked The Wind in the Willows. No more and no less, and let's keep it as nice and cozily close to uncontroversial as that, shall we?



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Profile Image for Joanne Harris.
Author 93 books5,576 followers
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July 26, 2017
Having first read this so many years ago, I found myself revisiting it with joy and some incredulity that it's still seen as a children's book. It's sublime - the poetry of the prose; the descriptions of the natural world; the sly PG Wodehouse humour, and most of all the jewel-like clarity of that very little world: the Riverbank; the Wild Wood; the World Beyond a kind of blur on the distant horizon. The characters are marvellous: combining some wonderful comic dialogue (which I can't help hearing in Alan Bennett's voice) with some genuinely terrific insights into: addiction, alcoholism and male mid-life crises (Toad); depression (Rat); and anxiety (Mole). Most of all, what's striking to me is the essential *kindness* of it all: there's drama, but of a special sort: there's conflict, but a conflict that is resolved through quiet discussion, good sense and understanding. And of course, there's friendship; the kind of real, satisfying friendship that we all hope for, but that few of us ever find. In a way it's what THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING might have been, if Sam and Frodo had spent their lives messing about on the river with Bilbo and Gandalf, instead of having to fight the minions of darkness. Reading it is good for the soul: perhaps even more so as an adult than it was when I was child. It reminds us that, even in the darkest of times, there are simple pleasures to be had; that however dark our future may seem, friendship and love can carry us through.
Profile Image for Alex.
1,419 reviews4,279 followers
December 3, 2018
I was suspicious of this book when I was a kid. It's all, "Hey kids, here's a fun story about talking animals," right? And I was like no, this is just you banging on about trees. This is a pastoral poem in disguise. It's boring. This book is like the guy who comes into your classroom and sits backwards on a chair all, "Sammy the sock puppet is here to get real about abstinence!" It's like when your mom was like "I froze this banana and it's just as good as a popsicle!" It is not. Mom is full of shit.

More things that are bullshit
- Carob
- The Berenstain Bears
- Mathletes
- Sturbridge Village

You can't fool kids, and since I am super immature you can't fool me either: Wind in the Willows is still boring. I'm not saying it's all bad! The parts with Mr. Toad are pretty entertaining. Poop poop! Lol, I'm on Team Toad. And it's sweet that Ratty and Mole are so obviously gay.


blah blah blah trees and shit

But it's like sitting through Mr. Rogers just to get to the Make-Believe stuff. In between there are just pages and pages of hogwash like this:
"Mole stood still a moment, held in thought. As one wakened suddenly from a beautiful dream, who struggles to recall it, but can recapture nothing but a dim sense of the beauty in it, the beauty! Till that, too, fades away in its turn, and the dreamer bitterly accepts the hard, cold waking and all its penalties."
And here's what that is: it's booooring.

So, what was bullshit for you when you were a kid? Knowing is half the battle! Now I want a popsicle.
Profile Image for Sara.
Author 1 book447 followers
July 11, 2016
If you have children and you have not read this gem with them, do it now. Go buy a lovely illustrated edition and make a memory that I think will last beyond childhood. Mole, Ratty, Toad and Badger are characters worth knowing and visiting in childhood again and again.

When I closed the last page of this book, I was sad to see these characters go. I enjoyed the story, which had a classic quality from page one. There are numerous lessons to be learned here, the value of nature and how to live a balanced life, and the value of society. However, I think this is primarily a tale about the true quality of friendship, loving your friends, helping them, telling them in a non-hurtful way when they are over-the-top, and just sharing with them all the true pleasures in life: a fire, good food, a float down a river and a secure night's rest. I thought about my best friend and how she has seen me through all the travails of life and shared so many brilliant moments and how we have turned fright into laughter and a lack of funds into a celebration just by being together. It made me very nostalgic and I wanted to run over to her house, the way we did when we were young and lived close by, and have a sleep over and talk into the morning hours and get up and share a breakfast and plan an outing. I wanted to link arms and walk into a forest, unafraid and replete with smiles.

If I am ever feeling sad and lost in the world, I think I will grab this book and read it again. I hope I can find an illustrated hard copy somewhere, preferably with illustrations by Moore, whose work has bowled me over online. Oddly enough, I thought I had read this before, but found that I had not, and I'm very glad I decided to join the group reading and get my very pleasurable introduction to Mr. Grahame's fabulous menagerie.
Profile Image for Piyangie.
504 reviews361 followers
June 23, 2022
The Wind in the Willows is widely accepted as a children's novel. To some extent, this classification is justified since its story consists of the adventures of a Mole, a Rat, a Badger, and a stubborn toad. But the line is drawn there. The story may be told in the manner of animal adventures, but thematically it goes deeper catering more to the young adult/adult audiences.

The interesting characters of the Mole, the Rat, the Badger, and the stubborn Toad, and their adventures teach the values of friendship, loyalty, dire consequences of greed, pride and vanity, and more importantly the value of protecting and blending in with nature. When Kenneth Grahame wrote it, the United Kingdom was under an industrial and technological revolution. Industrial and technological progress marred the established agricultural economy. It also threatened the people's natural relationship with nature. If the story is privy to his perspective, one can feel Grahame's disapproval of these new developments that threatened the natural environment and its relationship with the people.

The adventures of these different characters were interesting in themselves. However, my enjoyment of the story rose from the different personalities of the characters (especially the exasperating toad) and the thematic expositions that Grahame had worked on. Credit must go to him for the successful creation of this complex enterprise of writing a story for children to enjoy and adults to ponder.
Profile Image for Miranda Reads.
1,588 reviews153k followers
December 10, 2020
And with just 6 hours to spare - the 2017 Pop Sugar Reading Challenge has been completed

The prompt: A book you bought on a trip.

A whimsical classic tale featuring Mole, Rat, Badger and Toad. We have sheltered Mole, venturing out to see the river with Rat. There's the stodgy old Badger who turns out to be much more warmhearted than anticipated. The fanciful Toad learns several valuable life lessons - one of which requires the garb of a grandmother during a prison escape!

Charming, fun and a bit concerning. Look, reading this as an adult, I do have a few questions:
-- Do all critters have the same name? If two moles meet, do they refer to each other as Mole? Or is it just our cast of characters that has the misfortune of being named after their species?
-- How can they eat meat? It seems like all animals are intelligent beings in this book so how can they bear to eat ham and sausages? Perhaps the tasty animals don't count...

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Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 5 books3,846 followers
June 22, 2018
Re-read now to make up for reading it a long time ago.

What did I think about it? The adventures of Toad, that inestimable peerage of nobility and intelligence?

Pfffttth.

Unlike the other classic I just finished, these talking animals have little to do with religion or politics other than a cameo performance from Pan. And that was just a little last minute grace. :)

So what did I think about the whole book? It's a comic buddy novel with very loud and distinctive Victorian animals having adventures, watching Toad get into trouble or eventually getting Toad out of trouble, or otherwise enjoying rashers of bacon.

Funny? As in Three Men in a Boat funny? Perhaps. But this one is absolutely a children's novel, too. And quite fun. :)
Profile Image for Diane Barnes.
1,210 reviews453 followers
August 30, 2019
My second reading of this did not disappoint. I never read it as a child, but the first time was many years ago, and I thought it was wonderful. It was equally good this time. I am usually a stickler for logic and some semblance of reality in my reading, but animals wearing clothes, toads that drive cars, rats that row boats, civilized animals using china and crystal and utensils; well, what can I say, I bought in. I was invited into the cozy burrows of Rat, Mole, and Badger, the opulent Toad Hall, went on adventures with all of them, and enjoyed every minute. This is a thoroughly satisfying read for those looking for a brief escape in the pages of a book.
Profile Image for Cindy Rollins.
Author 20 books1,882 followers
September 16, 2020
Reread in audio. A book I wish I could hug. Visiting these old friends is always a joy and as an adult I love the wilder chapters where Grahame captures the essence of animal instinct. I do love these four creatures.
Profile Image for ✨Bean's Books✨.
648 reviews2,916 followers
December 22, 2018
A delightful classic!
Mole, Badger and Rat (Ratty) are friends of the infamous Toad of Toad Hall. While his friends live the simple country life, Toad lives the life of a millionaire Playboy. one day while taking his friends for a ride in his carriage an automobile spooks the horse and overturns the carriage. Toad then gets a wild hair that he must have an automobile at all costs. Can toads friends save him from his very self before it's too late?
This is a great little story that helps tell children not just a tall tale filled with animals but helps them distinguish moral values and presents friendship from several different points of view. The characters are different but mesh so well that most anyone can identify with at least one of them. The story, although not long, is beautifully written in lush detail. Perfect for young readers who are just beginning to learn to read big books.
The actual book story is a bit different from the Disney version of Mr. Toad, but they definitely have their similarities. If I remember correctly the underlying story is very much the same. I do think however, watching the Disney version would be a great compliment to the story after reading the book.
My son and I thoroughly enjoyed this book. He loved Rat the best as he was so kind-hearted and gentle and willing to take Mole under his wing in so many undertakings.
This is a book I think every child should read at least once. And if you are an adult and have not read it I would highly recommend doing so.
Profile Image for Terry .
391 reviews2,137 followers
June 15, 2012
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.
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