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The Annotated Wind in the Willows

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3.99  ·  Rating details ·  164,716 ratings  ·  5,290 reviews
“Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing—absolutely nothing—half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”—the Water Rat to the Mole


An instant bestseller upon its initial publication in 1908, The Wind in the Willows has become one of the beloved stories of all time. How could Ratty and Mole have known when they took to the river over one hundred years ag
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Hardcover, 468 pages
Published April 6th 2009 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published October 8th 1908)
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Spock's Cat Just to clarify Riverreed Greenland's comment below about the use of 'ass' in the book - in UK English, an ass is a donkey and the word is often used…moreJust to clarify Riverreed Greenland's comment below about the use of 'ass' in the book - in UK English, an ass is a donkey and the word is often used to mean 'silly, stupid, foolish'. I wouldn't, therefore, call it profanity. In US English, my understanding is that 'ass' is what we spell 'arse' in UK English. This is emphatically not what Kenneth Grahame means.

Otherwise, this is a very gentle, clean, and child-friendly book. There is a fight scene but this is not described graphically at all. (less)

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J.Aleksandr Wootton
Jan 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-of
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 jud
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Jan-Maat
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
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Matthew
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
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Anthony Buckley
Jun 02, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics, literature
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.
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Bionic Jean
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 write
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Manny
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.

HO/>[EVANGELINE/>[Night.
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Fabian
Sep 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 decei
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Pamela
I feel like I am the only person in the universe to not *get* this book. Perhaps I am not really human, but rather a troll or some other such hard-hearted creature.

I suppose my main issue with this book is that I couldn't quite understand the world that Mr. Grahame created. Pithy words of wisdom on What It Means To Be A Child tell us that children don't have preconceptions and thus accept things more readily, being shaped only by the prejudices of adults. I assume most people would use that arg
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Chris Van Dyke
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 j
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Jason Koivu
Oct 01, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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 spen
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Ron
Sep 11, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Ines
Jun 15, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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, b
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Sara
Jul 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
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
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Joanne Harris
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 heari ...more
Alex
Jun 19, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: boring grown-ups
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 ...more
Miranda Reads
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/>The
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✨The Reading
Dec 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 help
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Bradley
Mar 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-shelf, fantasy
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
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Leo .
Jan 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 flower ...more
Terry
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, thi
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Diane Barnes
Aug 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 Ha ...more
Nathan
May 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found Wind in the Willows to be one of those rare books that contains true joy. Several times since I have moved in with the Kenyons, I have gotten in a disagreement with another opinionated member of the household over the value of "dark" literature versus "light" literature. "It is so easy to write about dark things," she might say. "Why don't we focus on happiness?" I think when most people read a "happy" story, they find it shallow, unrealistic, and boorish since, as any random perusal of ...more
Bionic Jean
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 s
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Alice Poon
Apr 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, classics
I’ve just finished “The Wind in the Willows” by Kenneth Grahame. I’m giving it 5 stars out of 5 because I was absolutely bewitched by the endearing animal characters, the spellbinding scenery and the sometimes touching, sometimes hilarious twists and turns of the story. The minute description of English rural scenery shows the author’s genuine love of the place where he spent his boyhood – the enchanting Berkshire countryside and Thames River vicinity. I would recommend this book to anyone who l ...more
Sue
Nov 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sue by: Anne Reach and Judy
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
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Laurie
Jan 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"The real way to travel... The only way to travel! O bliss! O poop-poop!... What carts I shall fling into the ditch! Horrid carts-- common carts-- canary-coloured carts!.... Me complain of that beautiful, heavenly vision! That swan, that sunbeam, that thunderbolt!"

--Frog on automobiles
Lata
Though female characters are almost completely nonexistent in this story, I find myself enjoying this book all over again; this could easily be the fourth time I've read this book. There is a certain comfortable, uncomplicated rural Britishness about this story. With all its class divisions and expectations firmly in place, and not questioned at all....
Dear Mole and Rat boating along the river on a lazy summer afternoon, Badger's stern, codgery self, and absolutely unrepentantly silly and
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Christine
This really isn't a children's book; I don't think you can really admire the beauty here until you are older. My edition is, in fact, the edition my great aunt gave my father.

It isn't so much the sense of a simpler time, more of a sense of simpler life. If the Hobbits in Middle Earth are the standard English folk, the animals, the mammals, are the standard English folk here.

Still enjoyable.

Love Ratty.
James
Mar 28, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
There are undoubtedly some lovely, engaging and entertaining moments along the way – and there are clearly some memorable characters in Kenneth Grahame’s ‘Wind in the Willows’. (This edition is beautifully illustrated by Ernest Shepard which enhances the stories no end).

Somehow, some way though – I just don’t get it… I don’t understand the great appeal, the classic literary status or the high esteem in which Grahame’s book is held? Clearly I am missing something and I’m not sure what
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Kenneth Grahame was a British 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.
“Spring was moving in the air above and in the earth below and around him, penetrating even his dark and lowly little house with its spirit of divine discontent and longing.” 1075 likes
“Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” 261 likes
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