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Wild Wood Paperback – 1 May 2014

4.7 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Golden Duck (UK) Ltd (1 May 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1899262210
  • ISBN-13: 978-1899262212
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 1.8 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 287,605 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
'Wild Wood' is a re-telling of events in Kenneth Grahame's 'The Wind in the Willows', but from a totally different viewpoint. The story is narrated by the unassuming Baxter Ferret, who lives in the Wild Wood and is happy to spend the day tinkering with motor cars. His way of life changes abruptly following the arrival of a charismatic newcomer and social activist, Boddington Stoat, who encourages the downtrodden Wild Wooders to organise themselves into a formidable fighting force. Encouraged by his sister Dolly, who is smitten with Boddington, Baxter is gradually drawn into the battle between the Wild Wooders and the rich Riverbankers. Although gentle and humorous, this is also a thought-provoking account of class warfare and injustice. Readers of 'Wild Wood' will re-read 'The Wind in the Willows' with new eyes.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I love this take on The Wind in the Willows! The clever, good-humoured writing allows the painless re-casting of dear old Ratty, Mole and Badger as privileged idlers, totally unaware of the privations of the oppressed Wildwooders. There are shades of Akenfield here, and the peasants' revolt, but softened by the sproghtly pace of the story and the anthropomorphic setting. It has a chilling referecne to the here and now, however.
Grahame's fearsome stoats, weasels and ferrets are depicted here with empathy for their struggles to survive in an uncaring world. They mobilise, they are full of revolutionary fervour, they plan the grand coup...but in the end, things are much as they were, albeit slightly better for some.
There are wonderful touches of laugh-out-loud humour - the rabble-rousing stoat Boddington is 'peculiarly yellow, a little lacking in body, extremely bitter, but one of the best'. Toad's fine wines and beers have gloriously funny names. It is delightful, tongue-in-cheek stuff and Willie Rushton's illustrations complement it perfectly. If your spirits need lifting, this is the book for you. If you're already uplifted, read it anyway - it's a gem.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I don't know how I missed this book first time around in 1981. I was a bookseller then and am a writer / publisher now. It's genial, it's truthful, it's funny and it's poignant. What more can I say except that the illustrations look wonderful and it's truly a book for all ages.
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Format: Paperback
This wonderful book is neither a pastiche, sequel, parody or satire but there are elements of all four of them; it is more a companion to Grahame's immortal classic. Jan Needle's witty writing which is ably complemented by the deeply-missed Willie Rushton's spiky illustrations teels the story of Toad's extravagent escapades and the invasion of Toad Hall from the Wild Wooders' point of view.
The story is told by an elderly ferret named Baxter as he remembers the days of Brotherhood Hall - or Toad Hall as it was more usually known - and as probably the only one left alive who could recall the tales described by Kenneth Grahame, his memories are a source of important social history. The tales of the ferrets, stoats and weasels who seek social justice are gripping and the 'famous five' characters from The Wind in the Willows play a peripheral role as this is not their tale.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A refrain in some of the other reviews seems to be that Wild Wood sent them back to the book to which it’s a (I’d say necessary) companion. That was my own reaction, too, and a quick skim through The Wind in the Willows added to my admiration for Jan Needle’s achievement here. Grahame’s story has delighted children (and adults) for over a century, its anthropomorphism creating a bunch of distinct characters with their flaws and friendships and their clear awareness of the ordered world in which they lived. But it was a world of privilege, where those with money and power could, with impunity, dismiss some of the other animals without any awareness of their hardships. Wild Wood redresses the balance beautifully. Choosing Baxter the ferret as narrator was inspired. He has a natural good humour, a distinctive voice and, not being particularly sensitive to the social inequalities that infuriate Boddington stoat or, indeed, his own sister, Dolly, so much, he’s the everyman (or everyferret) caught up in movements he doesn’t fully understand. The story parallels –no, completes – the original, shifting the perspective and giving a voice to the underprivileged.

There’s no escaping the fact that it’s an apt commentary on our present world of divisions between rich and poor, in which money is the prime determinant but saying that makes it sound like some sort of revisionist tract. Well, even if it is (and it’s not), it’s also enormous fun, a joy, a tale full of beautifully realised characters with whom you want to spend lots of time. It has the charm of Grahame’s original, but with added warmth, humour, and a narrator we’d all like to have as a friend. Do yourself a favour, read it.
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Format: Kindle Edition
The riverbankers in The Wind in the Willows are, by and large, gentle souls, living in a rural idyll and never needing to worry about where their next meal is coming from. Even Toad doesn’t set out to hurt anyone. He just has such a monstrous ego that he never considers anything but his own pleasure. But what is life like for those at the bottom of the social scale? Why do the stoats, weasels and ferrets take the great risk of occupying Toad Hall?
In Wild Wood Jan Needle wittily chronicles why and how the young workers are persuaded to have a revolution. There is no idyllic existence for them in a society where there is no job security and no income when an animal becomes unemployed. As the comfortably off riverbankers snooze and munch their way through the long, hard winter, life becomes desperately hard for those not so privileged.
When the committed revolutionary Boddington Stoat arrives he tries to instil political zeal into the woodland residents, but although the dour, ascetic stoat troops will follow him, the other young animals are only united in insurrection by the charismatic Chief O.B. Weasel. The workers’ occupation of Toad (Brotherhood) Hall ends in failure, but perhaps the concessions achieved make it all worthwhile.
Wild Wood was first published in 1981, but I was left thinking that if O.B. Weasel had been president of the N.U.M. during the Miners’ Strike, the outcome might have been rather different, the workers united and Thatcher’s government outmanoeuvred. Boddington Stoat, in Willie Rushton’s brilliliant illustrations, has a distinct resemblance to Arthur Scargill. The book seems even more relevant now than when it first appeared.
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