on 12 July 2008
I've been waiting for this version to come out on CD for a long time. My tapes, both sets, have worn out! I will never tire of listening to this, despite the fact that I scorn most children's literature nowadays! David Jason's Toad is a complete joy, conniving, self-pitying but loveable all the same, just like Toad should be. This version is atmospheric, funny, beautifully acted and 'comfort' listening of the first order. Forget the modern world and all its PC ways. Sit back and listen and pretend everything's alright - just for awhile...
on 30 October 2001
There is not much to say, that hasn't already been
said, about this children's classic story.
I am a collector of the numerous illustrators of
this book, its many abridgements and adaptations.
So far I have 38 different books by 35 different
illustrators. (To date, I have discovered 84
different illustrators so I have a long way to go,
though I do have most of the best-known ones -
Rackham, Shephard, Adrienne Adams, Tasha Tudor,
Michael Hague, Don Daily, John Burningham.)
This edition happens to be among my favorites.
And one of the reasons is that, except for the
gipsy caravan, Foreman does not appear to have "borrowed" other illustrators' ideas of how
the Wild Wood, The River, Toad Hall, and the
various other places and things within them look.
His vision is his own. There is also a softness to the illustrations that I have come to appreciate after seeing so many rather garish ones from some of the less talented artists.
Bonuses are notes about the author (which I
have found in a couple of other editions) and a
copy of letters to the author's son for whom
the book was originally written (which I have not seen previously), and a note from the Illustrator
Foreman which explains his inspiration.
It's a beautiful book, with illustrations on nearly every page spread....
on 19 November 2013
Bought this together with a copy of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland from the same series and cannot rate them highly enough!
Every Christmas we buy Hardback editions of "Classic" stories for our grandaughter, who is an avid reader now aged 8. We write a message and the date on the inside cover and hope that she will enjoy and look back on them for years to come... So far we've bought all the Beatrix Potter and Rupert Bear, and this year she said she would like a copy of the Wind in the Willows, hence this purchase. Found "Alice" at the same time and can report that one is just beautiful as well.
The book is a beautiful size, just about A5, and although quite thick, is a great size for a child to hold and read independently - something I think always needs to be a consideration as we have been caught out in the past with very large books that were unwieldy for a child to read alone if they wished. (I wish the listings would show the actual size/weight of the book, this is my only criticism of Amazon).
The quality is fantastic - the paper is thick, beautifully printed and illustrated, and even the inside cover has a rich red and white pattern which suggests it cost far more than it actually did. There is a ribbon page marker too.
Overall a gorgeous book which I can highly recommend, especially if looking for something that may be treasured for years to come.
I bought this for my 9 year old son and I to read together. The story being much more of a traditional tale than books that are more modern of today and it was so refreshing! I found myself occassionally having to explain the way the wording in the book was written to my son but he enjoyed it because of this, encouraging communication between us and the story. The book is gorgeous its a small thick book which has a padded hardback front and back cover, typeset is for children from around my sons age of 9 and up (in my opinion/experience) and ideal for adults too and of course to read aloud to your children. The pictures throughout the book are very good, beautiful infact and gives the book a nice atmospheric feel. Pictures are not on every page, but scattered about the book. I cant recommend it enough as its a beautiful book, and would make a lovely gift idea too. I know my son keeps telling me that he really loves the book so he would recommend it too!
on 26 March 2003
'The Mole had been working very hard all the morning, spring-cleaning his little home...'
I don't know the first lines of many books off by heart, but TWITW is such an immediate and engaging tale that there's no choice other than to fall neatly in step with Mole, Ratty, Badger and Toad straight away, and to stay there, if you're lucky for the rest of your life. I first read this when I was 7 or 8 and have revisited it many many times. To call it a children's book (and it's the greatest of all children's books) is to do it a massive disservice, for it is much much more than that.
I envy anyone picking it up for the first time.
on 11 June 2005
I was seriously deprived as a child and never read the "Wind in the Willow," nor did I have it read to me. Given that my Mom is an avid reader and encouraged me to be one also, I don't know why this classic was omitted from my early reading repertoire. When I met my husband, he discovered I had never read Kenneth Grahame's book, and told me it was/is one of his favorites. So, the first gift I ever received from him was a copy of "Wind in the Willows," inscribed "A kid's book for a special lady, who is a child at heart." Now the marvelous adventures of the Mole, Rat, Toad and Badger still delight, as they did that first time many years ago, when I was 19 years-old. If you are older than eight, the reading level says 4-8, and are not familiar with this tale, by all means get yourself a copy and enter the magical world created by Mr. Grahame, who wrote this as a series of bedtime stories for his son in 1908. As far as literature goes, the writing is quite lyrical, really beautiful and inventive, and so intelligent. A samples below, describes the scenery of new surroundings:
"He thought his happiness complete when, as he meandered aimlessly along, suddenly he stood by the edge of a full-fed river. Never in his life had he seen such a river before - this sleek, sinuous, full-bodied animal, chasing and chuckling, gripping things with a gurgle and leaving them with a laugh, to fling itself on fresh playmates who shook themselves free, and were caught and held again. All was a-shake and a-shiver, glints and gleams and sparkles, rustle and swirl, chatter and bubble. The Mole was bewitched, entranced, fascinated."
Grahame writes this exuberant, humorous fantasy, about the adventures of four close friends, all animals, who live in the English countryside, the Wild Wood, to be exact. He tells the tale from the animals' points of view, emphasizing the etiquette and sensibilities of woodland creatures, and those who make their homes and livings underground and on river banks. Throughout his narrative he explains how animal society works, and how non-human creatures perceive the world around them.
Toad, of glorious Toad Hall, is a spoiled, rich, rather eccentric creature, who is accustomed to doing exactly as he wishes. Reckless, he perpetually gets himself and his friends into trouble. They count on it, in fact. Ever a free spirit, with the money to indulge his whims, Toad discovers a new passion - motor cars. Of course he involves diligent, kind-hearted Mole, very clever Water Rat, and wise, reclusive Badger in his madness, and invariably they extricate themselves from the consequences, rescuing their friend Toad as well.
President Theodore Roosevelt and his family greatly enjoyed "Wind in the Willows." He wrote to the author praising the book. And A.A. Milne made a very popular play out of it called "Toad of Toad Hall."
Ernest H. Shepard's original ink drawings are wonderful.
I purchased this book to read to my young grandson (4 years old). The book brought back many wonderful memories of my childhood and the magical world the story gives to a young child hearing it for the first time.
Until I started to read to my grandson I had forgotten what a wonderful story it is, far surpassing most of the modern tales for children. It still feels as fresh as the day it was written and is not dated at all.
For some reason, I don't know why children seem to be able to relate to stories about animals rather than about human beings, this is reflected in the number of programmes on children's television about animals.
Whether it be paper back or hard back with illustrations get the children in your family a copy of Wind in the Willows, I guarantee they will love it. This is quite an expensive volume (but a terrific price on Amazon at the moment). It is worth it for the beautiful illustrations.