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The Wind in the Willows (Puffin Classics) Paperback – March 27, 2008

4.4 out of 5 stars 357 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"[Mole] thought his happiness was 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 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 that shook themselves free, and were caught and held again." Such is the cautious, agreeable Mole's first introduction to the river and the Life Adventurous. Emerging from his home at Mole End one spring, his whole world changes when he hooks up with the good-natured, boat-loving Water Rat, the boastful Toad of Toad Hall, the society- hating Badger who lives in the frightening Wild Wood, and countless other mostly well-meaning creatures. Michael Hague's exquisitely detailed, breathtaking color illustrations on almost every generous spread--along with Kenneth Grahame's elegant, delightfully old-fashioned characterizations of the animals--make this book a wonderful read-aloud. Grahame's The Wind in the Willows has enchanted readers for four generations, and this lavishly illustrated gift edition is perhaps the finest around. (All ages, or 9 to 12)

This reviews refers to ISBN 0805002138. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Mary Jane Begin illustrates the classic story of Mole, Badger, Rat and Toad, The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. Each chapter opens with a vignette and includes a full-page painting of a dramatic moment in the proceedings. All ages.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 1140 (What's this?)
  • Series: Puffin Classics
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin Books; 58175th edition (March 27, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014132113X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141321134
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.8 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (357 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #667,567 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
When I was very young (about six thousand years ago), our school master used to read to us from Wind in the Willows. The stories had a magical quality and a few weeks ago, as a somewhat older person, I got to wondering whether they would still have that sense of enchantment that held us so captivated all those years ago.
I was NOT disappointed. Toad was just as cantankerous and difficult as ever. Badger, Rat and Mole were just as supportive - just as memorable. Badger is unpredictable but protective (and sometimes mean). Mole is timid and shy. Rat is courageous and romantic. And who could ever forget those dreadful gun-toting weasels, ferrets and stoats glorying in their take-over of Toad Hall? Wind in the Willows is a true masterpiece of allegory with endless moral lessons disguised as a children's story. It is also a lesson in things long-forgotten... the glory of floating noiselessly down a river at dawn, past loosestrife, willowherb, bulrushes and meadowsweet. How many of us have even heard of these meadow plants, never mind seen them. But it doesn't matter, because it evokes nostalgia either for things long-forgotten or for things never-known.
At a child's level, Wind in the Willows is about friendship and about life in an imagined world centered around the river. At a less innocent level, Wind in the Willows draws many parallels with life, though Kenneth Grahame managed to avoid preaching his lessons. Not the least of Graham's parables is that 'the bigger they are, the harder they fall' because Toad is as egotistical and as self-important as they come until being thrown in jail for 'borrowing' a car.
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Format: Hardcover
Wind in the Willows is a longtime favorite of many people (and I just re-read it as an adult.) The story centers around the animal citizens of an English riverbank. Each animal has a different personality, from easy-going Mole to the wise and wiley Badger, the spoiling-for-a-fight Weasels and of course boastful Toad, the owner of splendid Toad Hall who has too much money and too little sense to know what to do with it. The education of Toad by his well-meaning friends is a good lesson. The battle for Toad Hall near the end of the book is also exciting.

The content is entirely suitable for kids. The prose is a pleasure to read out loud and creates such pictures in one's imagination. And it's funny, too (the scene where Toad is nearly struck down by a car, which he has never seen before, and decides he MUST have one is absolutely hysterical.)

If you are starting a reading-out-loud program at home, this should be at the top of your list. I'd also add Swiss Family Robinson to that list. I have wonderful memories of my teachers and parents reading these books to me. Why not give your kids the same lasting delight in good literature, reading and family fun.

Note: suitable for grades 4-8 and the writing is somewhat complex, so some 4th graders will find it a rough go.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
"The Wind in the Willows" remains a masterpiece, with adventures and talking animals to appeal to the kiddies, and lyrical descriptions and dry humor for their parents - but this edition is missing not only Ernest Shepard's evocative (and, some would say, essential) drawings, but every last one of the songs - and that really eviscerates the book. I don't know if the other versions available for Kindle have the entire book, but it would be worth paying something to get the real thing instead of just a part of it.
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Format: Hardcover
What a difference a month makes. Just a few weeks ago I pronounced Seastar Books' new edition of "The Wind in the Willows" the best gift edition of the 1908 children's classic since illustrator Ernest Shephard's classic version, due to the glorious acrylic and watercolor paintings by Mary Jane Begin ("The Porcupine Mouse," "A Mouse Told His Mother"). Yet surprisingly, it has already been surpassed, so I must pass the trophy to Harcourt's new unabridged edition. It's beautifully presented in a wide, landscape format with a satin ribbon bookmark to keep your place when the stories dutifully fulfill their destiny as bedtime reading. The notable source of the book's special appeal, of course, is the charming new artwork by extraordinary English watercolorist Michael Foreman. The pages are filled with gently expressive mixed-media paintings, from the end-papers map of Wildwood and its surroundings, to a rollicking train ride, and the wild rumpus at Toad Hall. And the illustrations are generously plentiful: nearly every two-page spread contains at least one color sketch. The sheer number of illustrations tremendously enriches the story, and the Foreman's light-handed technique, previously apparent in "Michael Foreman's Mother Goose," "Joan of Arc" and "Arthur, High King of Britain" -- is a lovely tribute to the similar style of Shephard himself. Well done.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It's a little bizarre to me how few people I know seem to've read The Wind In The Willows; it was one of the defining classics of my childhood reading, right up there with Winnie The Poohand the Oz books, but for some reason it seems relatively less well known today. It's a shame, because there's a reason it was one of A.A. Milne's favorite books, and properly considered its as much of a hallmark of English literature -- not just English-language, but British national literature -- as anything else, slotting into the Great Bookshelf somewhere right between The Hobbit and Watership Down.

Re-reading this as an adult, it not only keeps but surpasses its childhood charm. The structure alternates pastoral, contemplative chapters with chapters of action -- essentially, Mole chapters and Toad chapters -- and as a child, I typically skipped to the Toad parts just to read the exciting parts. Now that I've grown up a bit I'm much, much more able to appreciate the simply excellent writing in the contemplative chapters. Toad's saga still retains its charm, but the work as a whole definitely should have a lot of appeal to adult readers.

So, anyway, read this book, or read it again, or both. That said, you probably don't want to read the free Kindle edition.
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