Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows
“The Wind in the Willows” is a young adult novel by Kenneth Graham which follows the adventures of the anthropomorphic animals Mole, Rat, Badger, Toad, and their friends. When the novel begins, Mole is at home doing spring cleaning, and he is quite bored with it.
Grahame, K., & Green, P. (1983). The wind in the willows. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
I had never read this book and was very impressed with the story. I could see how many today might see it as slow-paced but I found it well written and interesting. The setting of the story was one of the stars of the book. The way that Grahame was able to describe the area around the river and into the woods, with the scenery, the weather, and the smells, was very well done.
The characters of the book were also impressive. While they clearly had strong traits, they were not one-dimensional characters. Mole seemed happy, naive and adventurous to the point that he got into trouble. But he also wasn’t a nuisance or the annoying character that constantly got into trouble. He had friends from his old neighborhood that he invited in during caroling and he also had a good heart and strong social awareness of when to help and when to step back.
The short stories themselves were very interesting. At times, things seemed to move slow, but Grahame is giving a lot of information all along the way. The story of Frog stealing the horse and then the car and crashing it and running away from the authorities was so interesting. It really made the reading fun! Overall, I loved the book and look forward to reading it again.
Marantz, K. (1983). The wind in the willows. School Library Journal 30(1). p. 122.
On re-reading The Wind in the Willows, I was immediately drawn into this narrative so effortlessly experienced, so right in its descriptions and character development and by the adventures that have kept their serio-comic edge over the years. How readily we accept the naive mole and braggadocio Toad and their animal associates the equal of humans they occasionally contact. Grahame makes us care about them all through his word pictures and conversations.
The Wind in the Willows can be used as a way to show children a classic children’s book of early fantasy with talking animals. The story does an excellent job of describing the area and of some of the activities that take place in the story. For example, the woods during the winter and the way Grahame describes it sets an amazing image that helps a reader visualize what the setting is. Also, when the characters are out boating, it is clear that the author knows his subject very well, and this scene can be used to highlight that for aspiring writers.