Great Middle Grade Reads discussion

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ARCHIVES > Wind in the Willows/Return to the Willows

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message 1: by M.G. (last edited Aug 28, 2013 07:20AM) (new)

M.G. King (mgking) | 728 comments My family went sailing during our summer break, and inevitably Ratty's quote comes up: "Believe me, my young friend, there is NOTHING--absolute nothing--half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats." The characters and language of this classic are utterly charming.

I've recently spent a pleasant afternoon revisiting the Willows in Jacqueline Kelly's sequel. She did a wonderful job capturing Graham's voice of the original. Has anyone else had a chance to read this yet?

message 2: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 1662 comments Mod
I hadn't seen this one. Read the older sequel, The Willows in Winter a few years ago and wasn't wild about it. This one seems to be getting better reviews. I might have to try. The desire for more of a book I loved as much as WITW is hard to resist, though it's always a risk.

Cheryl is busier irl atm. (cherylllr) Return to the Willows might be a good book, and might do a good job capturing the voice - but I wouldn't expect it to be able to capture the spiritual resonance. I can't imagine anyone else, especially someone living in a different era, being able to write the Pagan Dream chapter. Nonetheless, I'll investigate. Thanks for the heads-up!

Cheryl is busier irl atm. (cherylllr) Which is a shame. The kids who are sheltered from that kind of violence have friends who are playing violent video games.... I was a sheltered child, and I still cannot read anything with a 'yuck factor,' any thrillers or horror or anything 'intense.' I wish I'd had more honest adventure in my books when I was young.

Sorry, that may not be articulate. Maybe someone can guess what I'm trying to express.

message 5: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 1662 comments Mod
Mercy. We read our kids all sorts of things more violent than WITW! Certainly by age ten or so, when we were reading Brian Jacques and Erin Hunters' Warriors books.

I have to laugh, too. We were very opposed to toy guns and all that, and it went just fine until the day we read them Little House in the Big Woods. Once Pa Ingalls had taken up his rifle and killed a bear, every stick they saw was a gun. There was a lesson there, and it wasn't for the kids!

message 6: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 1662 comments Mod
Joy wrote: "Sorry, my comment about the violence was meant tongue in cheek. Although I probably know at least one person who might have objected..."

I was hoping it was a joke, but I wasn't quite sure! Because, you are right--there are people who will object to just about anything (I'm still trying to get someone to ban my books, though. Seems like the BEST marketing ploy!).

message 7: by M.G. (last edited Oct 15, 2013 04:22AM) (new)

M.G. King (mgking) | 728 comments I had a chance to meet the artist Clint Young, who illustrated Return to the Willows, at a book event a couple weeks ago. The illustrations are incredible, especially since this is his first children's book, but his claim to fame is that he created (in a completely different style) a couple of the characters in the animated Clone Wars series. So if you have boys, you might be able to entice them to read it . . . .

Newbery Medalist Jacquelyn Kelly wrote the sequel -- I think I might like the sequel better than the original! (although it retains Toad's penchant for "violent" adventure, Joy!)
Return to the Willows Return to the Willows by Jacqueline Kelly

message 8: by Jemima (new)

Jemima Pett | 1355 comments Mod
I've been lurking a lot over the past few weeks, but followed this thread avidly, since I usually cite my influence as Wind in the Willows. Joy, I was really worried when I read your post! I'm glad it was tongue in cheek :)

I thought about reading The Willows in Winter for my winter book reviews, but I wasn't that hooked by the blurb, and it wasn't cheap! Maybe I'll try Return to the Willows later on.

message 9: by Meghan (new)

Meghan I just got a review of my book that said it was 'in the same league as' The Wind in The Willows. I was thrilled!

Graeme's book was a big part of my youth - I remember specifically curling up in my big bean bag and reading along with it while I listened to the audio version, read by Kenneth Williams. I was sorry that the 100th anniversary went by without a re-release of William's audio book. If you've never heard it, see if your local library can find it for you -- it is WELL worth the effort. Seriously. I STILL listen to it, 30 years later.


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