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The Wind in the Willows (Penguin Popular Classics) Paperback – 29 Sep 1994
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The tales of Ratty, Mole, Badger and Toad. When Mole goes boating with the Water Rat instead of spring-cleaning, he discovers a new world. As well as the river and the Wild Wood, there is Toad's craze for fast travel which leads him and his friends on a whirl of trains, barges, gipsy caravans and motor cars and even into battle.
About the Author
Kenneth Grahame (1859-1932) was born in Edinburgh, but grew up with relatives in Berkshire where he developed his love for the countryside surrounding the upper parts of the River Thames. He was educated at St Edward's in Oxford, but instead of going on to Oxford University he joined the Bank of England, where he rose to become Secretary. He wrote several books including The Golden Age and Dream Days which includes the short story 'The Reluctant Dragon' (later made into a Disney movie). Kenneth Grahame developed the character of Toad in The Wind in the Willows to amuse his young son, Alistair. It was published in 1908 and still remains a best-loved children's classic.
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When pressing my Sister for birthday present ideas she mentioned this book but said it was unavailable. I checked good old Amazon and found it easily - Many 'wonderful brother' points scored there! Took a look when it arrived and my Sister was absolutely right, the illustrations by Inga Moore combine PERFECTLY with Kenneth Grahame's wonderful text. This is a beautiful edition and very well worth buying!!
The text is a carefully abridged version of the full book, with the following tales missing:
Chapter 7 - "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn"
Chapter 9 - "Wayfarers All"
Additionally, the original Chapter 11 "Like Summer Tempests Came His Tears" and chapter 12 "The Return of Ulysses" have been much abridged and combined into a new chapter called "The Return of Toad" with text amended to combine the essence of the two original chapters if not their detail.
I'd have loved to see how Inga Moore would have treated "The Piper At The Gates of Dawn", and I missed the now excluded coda to the book where Toad finally realises what a braggart he is and turns over a new leaf to appear as a sensible, generous and modest host at the friends' victory party ... But there's so much else to love here that these are just regrets for lost opportunities rather than crippling faults.
The book is quite large (approx 11 1/2" tall by 8 1/2" wide , is hardback, with 180 pages in nice satin finish paper. It is very well produced with tight binding and clear sharp printing, and it is COPIOUSLY illustrated with Inga Moore's beautiful full colour drawings. There must be about 90 illustrations as (allowing for full double-page illustrations) there seems to be about 1 illustration for each page of text.
The illustrations are detailed, very nicely drawn and sympathetically coloured. The front cover image of Ratty & Mole in the rowing boat shown above IS from the Inga Moore edition and all the other illustrations in the book are the same quality and style. To repeat my warning - The "Look Inside" feature does NOT show this book and the crude illustration it shows is utterly unlike Inga Moore's lovely work.
I found the text font size in the book to be a bit larger than I would prefer, but it's certainly not a problem I can't help wondering whether the publisher had to use a slightly larger font to let them synchronise text and illustrations while giving the illustrations the sort of size they deserve??
The 'acid test' of how good this edition is ... Yes - After seeing the copy I bought for my Sister I have now ordered one for myself!!
Each character has his own traits. I associated more closely with Ratty as he is comfortable staying close to home, cares about others and appears to be more mature than those around him.
The mere fact that new editions continue to be issued is a clear demonstration of the story’s continuing popularity. This particular one by Alma includes an illustration by Tor Freeman which, although not to my taste as I am a traditionalist, will be loved by younger children.
Breakaway Reviewers received a copy of the book to review.
Published over a hundred years ago, rather like JK Rowling and her Harry Potter books this was turned down by a number of publishers, and when it was eventually published received some quite snooty reviews from critics. However despite this this was a hit with the public, and has remained so, and it is easy to see why.
This isn’t perfect by any means and reading it you do soon realise that the animal characters change size on a number of occasions, from their normal animal size, to being larger and coming into contact with humans. They even have money, after all Mr Toad can buy anything he seemingly wants and lives in a hall.
As Mole leaves his home for a look outside on a glorious spring morning so he comes into contact with Ratty, and the two are soon firm friends. With Badger, who Ratty already knows, Mole makes another new friend, and also with Toad. But with all the comedy and incident here it is Toad that captures everyone’s imagination. He is conceited and really to a certain extent obnoxious but we can’t help but root for him as he goes to prison, escapes and then finds out that Toad Hall is being squatted in by stoats and weasels.
Creating a world that has many similarities with the real one at that period, this is a tale that keeps us all enthralled as we read of the many exploits and adventures that happen here, as well as the more sedate side of life, with relaxing and taking meals with friends. Always a treat to read there is one thing here that you end up saying and can’t help yourself when you get into a car, and that is Toad’s saying of ‘Poop! Poop!’ Don’t worry it does wear off after a few days, but the next time you read the book it happens again.
This is an absolutely wonderful book, beautifully written and completely absorbing. Like other great children's books, it tells the truth about the human condition better than any adult book could do. It makes you laugh and cry and also makes you think and feel in a new way. Marvellous!
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The book itself is one of my all-time favourites: one of the best and most adorable classics out there.Read more