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The Willows at Christmas Hardcover – 18 Oct 1999


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (18 Oct 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0002256045
  • ISBN-13: 978-0002256049
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 13.6 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 136,402 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

"Water?" cried Toad, turning and turning about in his distress. "What can water do against the awful might of Mrs Ffleshe? Niagara Falls would not trouble her nor a regiment of Hussars subdue her! Arsenic would be as ambrosia to such a one as she, and a stake in the heart would merely be taken as encouragement."
It's coming up to Christmas on the River Bank, and that domesticated culinary supremo, Mr. Mole of Mole End is disturbed by the absence of anything resembling festive spirit in the environs. He's sure that there's a deep dark reason behind the decision of his friends Ratty, Badger, Otter and the aristocratic Toad of Toad Hall to turn down his invitation for Christmas at Mole End.

He's almost right. "It" is a shallow, plump reason--Mrs Ffleshe, Toad's tyrannical and thoroughly imposed Christmas house guest, who casts her terrible shadow over Toad Hall, the Riverbank and the Village, forcing animals and humans alike into a state of misery from which only the vicious and untrustworthy weasels and stoats benefit.

The Willows at Christmas is the tale of the Mole's heroic fight, against the odds, for a merry Christmas, in which he's valiantly assisted by the other River bankers, Toad's dedicated and resourceful housekeeper Mrs Bugle, and a selection of downtrodden villagers. Lots of nastiness,(including an extraordinary variety of torture instruments and a generous range of mother-in-law jokes), lots of inventiveness (see extraordinary variety of torture instruments again) and ultimately redemptive. Gorgeously illustrated (including full-page colour pix) by Patrick Benson, this is holiday reading for the young- and-nostalgic at heart. --Lisa Gee

Review


‘Lovers of The Wind in the Willows will feel at home and will laugh a lot with sheer pleasure.’
The Times on The Willows in Winter

‘The old friends are just as they always were.’
Daily Telegraph on The Willows in Winter

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Book Beaver on 12 Jan 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is a tremendously enjoyable book. It is surely an absolute delight for all the many fans of the original classic book by Kenneth Grahame which has remained in print for over 100 years. This particular sequel was written after William Horwood's critically acclaimed 'Willows' trilogy and appeared in print in 1999. It is set after Grahame's immortal tome but before Horwood's first sequel which was 'The Willows in Winter'. This latest book has much in common with the trilogy but there are some differences as well. Like the others, it is illustrated by Patrick Benson but there are no illustrated endpapers which play a small but insightful part in the Willows trilogy; however, there is the bonus of 7 magnificent colour plates by Benson who before collaborating with Horwood was best known for illustrating Roald Dahl's final book, 'The Minpins'.
This magnificent book is a slightly different size to the other books but the length is the same and it has Horwood's standard 12 chapters which is his regulation length for a Willows book as it matches the length of Grahame's original.
The plot consists of Toad having to put up with an insufferably rude house guest but when Mole hatches a plan with Ratty, Badger and Otter to 'rescue' Toad, events take an unfortunate turn and Christmas spirit appears to be in short supply on the Riverbank. This is an ideal book to read by an open fire, accompanied by crumpets dripping with golden butter, the laughter of friends and a generous glass of port or a piping hot cup of tea and a sizeable wedge of stilton and some of Otter's water biscuits and Mole's mince pies. A meal such as that would be as thoroughly recommended as this exceptional book which should be on every bookcase.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Michael Finn on 10 April 2011
Format: Paperback
Back in the 90s William Horwood wrote three pastiche books that featured the best loved characters from Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows. I really enjoyed them. Each book saw these characters mature until by the third book I suspected that Horwood would reboot the series by introducing a next generation of River Bank characters. This didn't happen. Three years passed before he was to revisit Mr. Toad, Mr. Mole and company. When first published after such a lengthy hiatus The Willows at Christmas flew swiftly under my radar, until now. In the hope of having some pleasingly seasonal reading material over the festive period I ordered a copy. Horwood has rolled back time to not long after K.Grahame's classic and prequelling his own trilogy.
Mr. Mole is dismayed to discover that the spirit of Christmas has been lost by the riverbankers and the nearby village. He sets out to try to rediscover it. The early scenes with Mole investigating the causes of the lack of festivity are the best. Miss Bugle's sad little Christmas witnessed by the ever lovable Mole almost had me reaching for the handkerchief and for a mind boggling moment had me hoping for a little inter-species romance. The later sections of the book slide more into the sorts of situations that Mr. Toad's foolishness often resulted in the original. The threat of incarceration and execution should surely be familiar to Mr. Toad. Patrick Benson's rustic little line drawings and beautiful coloured plates complement the writing perfectly. Very good but never really replaces the original book in your heart but for those wishing to spend time with such beloved characters for a little bit longer you really can't go far wrong with this book and the three that preceded it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By GERWYN CORNISH on 23 Oct 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
very good ,I read to my grandchildren
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Min Lang on 17 Mar 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
William Horwood carries on Kenneth Grahames delightful story of the folk of the riverbank. This is a very good animated version of it, beautifully done.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Gary Hall on 29 Jan 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Happy with book, packing and speed of posting. Purchased for neice for Xmas. Why do I need to add more words than is needed.
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