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Return to the Willows Hardcover – October 30, 2012


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Return to the Willows + The Wind in the Willows (Sterling Illustrated Classics)
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 890L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); 1 edition (October 30, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080509413X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805094138
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 7.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #440,400 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

From Booklist

In an age of sequels, it should come as no surprise that Newbery Honor–winning author Kelly has written a sequel to Kenneth Grahame’s immortal The Wind in the Willows. Nor, given the stature of the original, should it come as any surprise that this suffers by comparison. That said, Kelly has succeeded in capturing some of the charm of the original, and her characters evoke the spirit, if not the substance, of Mole, Rat, Toad, and Badger. The plot resembles that of the original: Toad is brought low by his hubris; Rat and Mole demonstrate their steadfastness; and there is trouble with those pesky weasels and stoats. Kelly has introduced two new characters: Toad’s young nephew, Humphrey, and a comely young rat named Matilda, with whom Ratty (heresy of heresies) falls in love! Not heretical but simply annoying are the copious footnotes that clutter the pages, offering sometimes condescending definitions of British words and phrases and arch commentary on the text. Nevertheless, Return is a diverting tale that, one hopes, will send young readers in search of the original. Grades 4-7. --Michael Cart

More About the Author

Jacqueline Kelly was born in New Zealand and raised in Canada. She is a practicing physician and now makes her home in Austin and Fentress, Texas. This is her first novel.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 54 customer reviews
Willow was as good as or better than the original wind in the willows.
Linda M. Moquin
Clint Young’s illustrations add to the overall appeal of this book; younger children will find the pictures add to their enjoyment of the story.
delicateflower152
I loved this book so much I bought two, one for each family of grandsons.
Debi

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 31, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
It is difficult to believe that it has been over 100 years since the original book `The Wind in the Willows', a classic of children's literature by Kenneth Grahame was first published in 1908. That novel children's book, alternately slow moving and languid and fast paced as in wild adventures, focused on four anthropomorphized animal characters - Mole, Ratty, Toad and Badger -in a pastoral version of England. That novel is notable for its mixture of mysticism, adventure, morality, and camaraderie and celebrated for its evocation of the nature of the Thames valley.

Now 104 years latter Jacquelyn Kelly takes up the banner by writing a sequel, The Return to the Willows. She keeps the same characters and adds some (badger, weasel, hedgehog, and the female rat Matilde) and though the book starts with the same ride on the river with Ratty and Mole, the adventures they encounter are new and for the most part successful. Toad's wild ride has now become an adventure in a balloon ride that seems to be the focus of this set of stories. Kelly writes well, but she has taken on an aspect of her writing (Kelly was born in New Zealand, raised in Canada, and now lives in Texas!) that makes her find it necessary to dumb down certain parts for American readers, even stating that fact in her footnotes. For instance, page 95 footnote: `Biscuits: cookies. To further confuse the issue, what Americans refer to as biscuits are actually more like scones.' On page 50, 'Indeed. Or as they say in America, no kidding.' It is a trait some may find `cute' but it does suggest to the child reading or hearing these stories for the first time the Americans are of lower intelligence than their British counterparts.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on October 6, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The best way to read this book is out loud and using lots of fun voices for the characters. Even if you are reading it alone read it aloud. But even better would be to read it with a child. My son loved Frog and Toad as a child and I suspect he will really reading this new version to his son.

Kelly was very brave to try to write a sequel to the Wind in the Willows. Just reading through it for fun, I think that it is well written and the illustrations are fairly well done.

The rhythm of the words seem to trip off the tongue like The Wind in the Willows and that immediately brought back some great times reading with my sons. We still have some family quotes and fun sayings from those days that get brought up now and then. It is probably a good thing to try to keep the fun going, just so the kids are still reading Frog and Toad from a young age.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth Depree TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 16, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a delightful book, but for upper elementary/middle school and adult readers. Amazon's description indicates age "8 and up readers", but I think the word choices and sentence structure are directed at the "up", not the age 8 readers. The 280 pages, mostly all text, are also likely to deter the young readers.

I am taking it with me when I visit my son and his family in a few days and look forward to reading it to my 8-year-old grandson. I know from books that I have read to him on past visits that he enjoys stories where animals are the main characters. But it is not a book that he would enjoy reading on his own. .

The drawings of the characters and that illustrate some of the scenes are excellent, too bad there are not more of them.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Wandering Hoosier VINE VOICE on September 30, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Few authors have as much talent as Jacqueline Kelly. She brings the Toad, the Mole, the Rat, and the Badger back for another adventure. The Toad has a fabulous hot air balloon that he manages to crash into a steeple. The book continues with Rat finding a girlfriend, Toad having a short stint as a genius, and Humphrey, Toad's nephew, crating some trouble of his own. We then learn that Toad has offered a reward for recovering his balloon. Humphrey and his new friend, Sammy the weasel, travel into the Wild Wood to retrieve it. During the trip, however, Humphrey gets kidnapped and needs his friends to save him.

Kelly's literary talent shines throughout the book. She tells a delightful story that keeps true to the characters of her animals. The mole is afraid of heights and the weasel needs to control his impulse to steal, even little souvenirs from his friends. She also adds humorous footnotes throughout the book that adds humorous sarcasm to the story.

I gave the book four rather than five stars for a few reasons. While all scenes included incredible detail and required great skill to write, the book as a whole often dragged and didn't move in a succinct manner. The last one hundred pages moved quickly, but the first part of the book did not seem to fit together as well. Also, I didn't think that the pictures added as much to the book as they could have.

I read a copy of the book that has black and white pictures rather than the full-colored pictures that the retail book contains. The black and white pictures portray the characters in a very realistic manner and not in the whimsical manner that I imagine them to be. Accordingly, Clint Young's pictures of the characters differed from those that I thought Kelly created and the pictures, therefore, seemed to detract rather than add much to the enjoyment of the book.
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