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Join Mole, Rat, Toad, and Badger on a few seasons of adventure on the banks of The River and in The Wild Wood.
I’ve never read this before and found it pretty charming if a bit outdated. I think I would have enjoyed it more if I had read it in elementary school. I remember bits and pieces of the Disney cartoon but I’m honestly not sure if I’ve ever watched the whole thing.
The illustrations by David Roberts in this edition were bright and engaging.
Luckily, I noticed as I was flipping through the front matter that this is an abridged version. The publisher eliminated the chapter entitled “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn” because it “pauses the action and is largely about the god Pan from Greek mythology.” I’m not a fan of abridgements so I downloaded an ebook to read the missing chapter in the proper sequence (It’s the real chapter 7 if you’re curious). It was a beautiful, dreamy piece and I’m so glad I read it. I think this book is the poorer for leaving it out.
I liked the chapters about Rat, Mole, and Badger a lot. They’re gentle animals doing gentle things. But Toad–well, Toad is annoying. He’s rich and conceited and gets away with a lot of shenanigans because he’s rich. I kept waiting on him to get a good comeuppance but really all he had to do in the end was throw some more money at his problems. He does eventually show some growth but I was fed up with him by then.
I’m not sure how modern parents would look on this book, not being one myself. The characters throw the word ass around a lot, as in “Toad, don’t be an ass.” My mom would have rephrased that even in the ’80s. The animals drink beer and smoke. It’s all appropriate to the time the book was written but how is that viewed in children’s literature now?
I’m glad I read this and reservedly recommend it with the caveats listed above.
If you liked The Wind in the Willows, you might also like my reviews of
- The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
- Time Stops for No Mouse by Michael Hoeye, read by Campbell Scott
- Once Upon a Marigold by Jean Ferris
Buy The Wind in the Willows from Malaprop’s Bookstore in beautiful Asheville, NC or