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The Willows in Winter (Tales of the Willows) Paperback – November 15, 1996

3.9 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Traditionalists might well shudder at the thought of a sequel to a classic--especially one written by an author other than the original. But even devout fans of Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows will breathe more easily once they pass the first sentence of The Willows in Winter. William Horwood, while resisting slavish mimicry, remains true to the spirit of the original. Not many writers could follow such a tough act, but Horwood manages to create a story every bit as heartwarming and exciting as the first. Blustery Toad is up to his naughty old tricks, after a long period of enforced goodness. Through a comedy--and near-tragedy--of errors, Toad, along with resourceful Rat, loyal Mole, and wise Badger, is drawn into an extended wild goose chase that lasts all winter. With plummeting airplanes, tumbles in the freezing river, and courtroom high drama, this is not to be a winter of cozy hibernation. Patrick Benson's finely crosshatched illustrations transport the reader back to the familiar River and the always-looming great Wild Wood. Horwood and Benson's masterful teamwork is a tribute to the 90-year-old classic that Grahame himself would have been proud to see. (All ages) --Emilie Coulter --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Horwood revisits Kenneth Grahame's classic, The Wind in the Willows, to transplant its characters to a new adventure. His story, like Grahame's, involves a series of comic misunderstandings that lead different animals into a variety of odd journeys. The trouble starts when Otter's son Portly sends Mole into a blizzard on what proves to be an unnecessary rescue mission, and Mole disappears, thus mobilizing other would-be rescuers. Meanwhile Toad, having exchanged the motor car of Wind in the Willows for a flying machine, wrests control of the plane from the pilot and sails off on a chaotic joy ride. There's a bit of mistaken identity, another disguise for Toad (who previously impersonated a washerwoman), incarceration and a ludicrous trial. Toad even has an out-of-body experience. Horwood captures most of the atmosphere of the original work, although its wild, sublime silliness escapes him. Toad, for example, remains irremediably pompous and wayward, but he is no longer Grahame's larger-than-life mock-epic hero. Nevertheless, Horwood manages a lot of mirthful moments, and those who can't get enough of the River Bank and the Wild Wood will be grateful for his work. All ages.
Copyright 1994 Reed 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: 9 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 1360L (What's this?)
  • Series: Tales of the Willows
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (November 15, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312148259
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312148256
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,278,995 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By David A. Bede on September 14, 2003
Format: Paperback
Horwood himself asks the obvious question - "But SHOULD you have [written a sequel to someone else's classic, that is]?" - in the afterword, and I have to admit that's exactly what I thought at first as well. His re-creation of Kenneth Grahame's beloved cast of characters and their environs isn't perfect. Both the character development and the descriptions of the River Bank and the Wild Wood are less vivid than the original and a bit too dependent on the reader's familiarity with "The Wind in the Willows," which I was left thinking I should re-read for comparison. There is also an element of overt religiosity which turns out to be something of a non-sequitur in the end. Still, all the fundamental ingredients I fell in love with as a kid are here: diehard loyalty to one's friends, the conflict between a sense of adventure and the comforts of home, and of course, wonderfully irreverent adventures with Mr. Toad. If the ending isn't quite as climactic or satisfying as that of the original, it is true to the same spirit.
I admire Horwood's efforts to replicate the world of Toad et al as well as his chutzpah, and am sufficiently impressed to recommend this book to anyone else who has fond memories of reading "The Wind in the Willows" under the covers with a flashlight as a kid. It's not the original, but it's a nice addition.
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Format: Paperback
What bothered me most about "The Wind In The Willows" (that it ENDED)... is here resolved! From the first line "The Mole sat toasting his toes in front of the fire" I was glad to be once again in the presence of these unforgettable Edwardian animal bachelors. In my estimation, Horwood has done a superb job of capturing again the spirit of the River Bank.
Apparently, he was inspired after acquiring in 1992, several of E.H. Shepard's original illustrations for Grahame's 1908 classic, The Wind In The Willows. Observing them in his study, they began to take on a life of their own... and then "One day, quite unexpectedly (though the drawing had not changed at all), it seemed to me that Mole was off on a journey rather different than his original one. True, he had set off from the same comfortable home he loved so much, but now he was no longer heading towards the comfort and safety of Badger's house, but instead towards the River - the frozen River - and towards disaster. The story of The Willows In Winter had begun."
This is a great book that will appeal to young and old alike. It's full of the perils and consequences of misadventure, the peace and calm of friendly reunion and the importance of forgiveness. Oh ya, and a hilariously inebriated Toad!
I find it funny that Horwood is sometimes criticized for keeping the characters so similar to what they were in the original story. Isn't that what a good sequel does? Keeps things consistent, but brings them further along the road?
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Format: Hardcover
It is not often that a sequel is as good as - or even better than - the original. William Horwood's The Willows in Winter is one of those rare exceptions. His style and content are true to Kenneth Grahame's original, without being a cheap imitation, and Horwood's book can be read independantly of The Wind in the Willows. The Willows in Winter was a pleasure to read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a classic parents and children will love to read over and over. It grows on you and you become part of the community that lives in the Willows. You feel the winter cold and the total thrill of seeing Mole rise from the dead as it were.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I did not think it would be possible to continue on with the story of "The Wind in the Willows" after the death of Kenneth Grahame...but William Horwood does just that. He sweeps you away into the story just as Kenneth Grahame did. I love how he continued the story in a way that I believe would make Mr. Grahame proud. I've purchased all of Mr. Horwoods Willows books, and have not been disappointed.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I enjoyed Willows in the Wind much better. This was just not the same. Even though the characters were there, it just lacked something in the dialogue and conversations between the characters. Sorry, I really wanted to love it as much, but I just didn't.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Horwood has taken on an impossible task - to satisfy new and lifelong WITW fans. Sure, it's not the same as reading Grahame's original creation, but I really miss Ratty, Mole, Badger, and Toad, and Horwood gives us a peek into what they've been doing lately - and he's done a good job of it. If you miss the River Bankers as I did, you should read this with proper expectations. Plus, Horwood improves upon his own work in his next WITW book, so it's worth the trip to get to there.

In summary, it's nice to check in on old friends, but you can't go home again.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A wonderful book written in the style of Kenneth Graham. Totally convincing to the extent I was pleased to read that Toad had survived all his trails and tribulations! I look forward to the next instalment.
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