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210 of 213 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Continues to stand the test of time
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...
Published on December 10, 2001 by F. G. Hamer

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77 of 83 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars You get what you pay for
"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...
Published on April 22, 2010 by Booklover


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210 of 213 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Continues to stand the test of time, December 10, 2001
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. After that, it's all downhill for Toad, and it is only thanks to the loyalty of his friends that he regains some of his position in society - though not before learning a little humility first.
Though, at an older age, we pretend to be more sophisticated, at heart we always hold out the hope of a return to innocence and simple adventures. We are still (most of us) perfectly capable of identifying with the animals and the idea, as one reviewer put it, of two school-aged hedgehogs frying ham for a mole and a water rat, in a badger's kitchen does my imagination no harm whatsoever! As for Grahame's choice of phrase (...the "remotest dungeon of the best-guarded keep of the stoutest castle in all the length and breadth of Merry England"...) it's almost as poetically attention-grabbing as Rowan Atkinson's Blackadder series.
If you're looking for laser guns and hi-tech wars, W-i-t-W is NOT the book to buy. If you're after something a little more gentle (and a little more intelligent) Wind in the Willows is an outstanding example of a Classic that continues to withstand the test of time.
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79 of 81 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another classic for all ages, November 29, 1999
By A Customer
I was introduced to the denizens of the river when I was very small - maybe age three or four. My edition was illustrated by Arthur Rackham, still the best version to this day, IMO (much as I love Ernest Shepherd's work...)
I still remember being entranced by the juxtaposition of lyrical descriptions and occasionally wild and crazy action, expecially when Mr. Toad was involved - prefect balance for a child, and a terrific introduction to the wonders of the language in the hands of a true master. And one phrase - "Be my eyes, Ratty!" - has stayed with me ever since - that was when I really GOT the idea of helping and selflessness.
I still have my beat-up old book and make sure that all the children of my acquaintance have a good hardback Rackham copy. This classic - forget Disney - is right up there with the original Poohs, and I'm sure it will remain a favorite for generations to come. Do yourself and the children in your life a favor and read it - preferably out loud - and prepare to laugh, smile, shed a tear, and never forget.
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103 of 110 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book to read to your kids, March 26, 2001
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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41 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous!, October 27, 2012
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This book is absolutely gorgeous! I received it today and have begun reading it. So far the story is lovely. But the illustrations are truly wonderful. Some of the illustrations are cover the full page, while others are only on part of the page. I paged through the book and there are only two page-spreads that do not have any illustrations. I look forward to reading this to my kids and having them enjoy the story as well as the illustrations.
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77 of 83 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars You get what you pay for, April 22, 2010
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"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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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars MR. TOAD RIDES AGAIN, February 17, 2003
By 
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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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a magical tale; a wonderful printing!, July 26, 2011
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i am a collector of the puffin classics in softcover, and having now received this edition, am an even bigger fan of the hardcovers! well bound and whimisically decorated, i have already ordered more copies of this particular edition as i am so fond of it!

i collect different editions of this book, as out of all literature in the world, it is easily in my top echelon. widely regarded as a children's book, this is far more than can be classified in words (or one genre).

while the story is technically about creatures and "their" river, it is truly about so much more. the essence and magic of life is hidden in these pages. it is a treasure.

i only have one real issue with this edition, and that being that ernest h. shepard's dear illustrations are nowhere to be found. i certainly do not require illustrations for a meaningful read, however with such iconic images, it seems an unfortunate omission. it does contain illustrations by robin lawrie, which are quite nice, if sparsely included.

if you have never read this book or are looking for a solid edition in softcover, please look into the aladdin classics edition (also available here on amazon). it not only has the full text with illustrations, but the forward by susan cooper is one of the most intelligent and touching essays ever written on kenneth grahame (it makes me emotional just to think of it).

one specific caveat to the puffin classics editions are the inclusions at the end of the book of bonus information on the author, the characters, and so much more. what a wonderful addition to an already stellar novel!

i genuinely hope you read this book. there is something for everyone to find in these pages.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Straighten Things Out!, September 22, 2009
I don't care whether you publish this; I do care that you get things straightened out. You have the same reviews appearing with two DIFFERENT editions of "The Wind in the Willows." One is the Centennial edition with the illustations of E.H. Shephard and one is the Everyman's Children's Classics edition with the illustrations of Arthur Rackham. What will be VERY important to some readers (like me) is that one reviewer points out that a substantial amount of "Bowdlerization" has taken place -- I assume in only ONE of the two editions. All references to guns and knives have been deleted, and a whole chapter dealing with the Deity has been cut out. I will want the unabridged edition -- which is it?!
Theodore J. St. Antoine
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Join the fun with Mole, Ratty, Badger, and of course, Mr Toad!, November 17, 2008
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A gem of a book. This is one of my favorite books from childhood (and adulthood!). This newest edition, which celebrates the 100th anniversay of the first publication of Kenneth Grahame's book (1908), has the most delightful illustrations by Robert Ingpen. A lovely collector quality book for anyone, young, or not so young!
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic novel, poor Kindle edition, November 9, 2010
By 
T. S. (United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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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. The lack of illustration is common to most kindle editions, and is somewhat forgivable since the text was first published unillustrated; I may be less demanding on that front since I found the illustrations from my childhood edition (Tasha Tudor's) popping back into my head constantly as I re-read the text. For me, this book is always going to be illustrated, no matter the edition.

But the real shame is the lack of the various songs. Normally, again, this might not be a crisis in a kid's book -- most songs in most kid's books, even most classic kid's books, are eminently skippable. Problem is, here they aren't; not just because the songs are well-written and funny, but because some of them are central to the story, and one at least -- "Toad's Last Little Song" -- is the emotional denouement of the entire book.

I'd recommend finding another edition, one with the songs and with good illustrations.
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Wind in the Willows (Wordsworth Classics)
Wind in the Willows (Wordsworth Classics) by Kenneth Graham (Paperback - April 1, 1998)
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