The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame: A book that appears to have been part of everyone’s childhood except mine. We had a lovely hardbound copy as long as I can remember, but I never read it until now. And it doesn’t translate well to adults. Having been written a century ago, I expected it to be dated, but I didn’t expect it to be quite so…odd. Each chapter is more or less a separate story about the same group of characters: poetic Rat, generous Mole, selfish Toad, gruff Badger, and friendly Otter. Toad has by far the most personality, what with his utter conceit and his obsession with motorcars, but he’s less entertaining than tiresome. I don’t have any issues with the idea of talking animals in general, but when they begin interacting with humans it can get a little strange. For example, the illustrations in this book show Toad at roughly half the height of an adult human – which he would have to be, given part of the storyline. Maybe I would like this book more had I grown up with it, but as it stands I just see it as a really bizarre little tale that I will most likely never read again.

  1. I grew up with it, but I still don’t love it. I did really like Mole & Rat and enjoyed scenes with them. I hated Toad though. With a passion. And the Disney movie did NOT help change my opinion of him. The movie kind of freaked me out. And I had nightmares for a week after going on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride at Disneyland. It was like descending into Hell (seriously, read the whole description of the ride on Wikipedia) with car rage and a scary-obsessed toad I didn’t like to begin with… still gives me bad vibes to this day, which is why I never re-read the book as an adult.

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