- Age Range: 6 and up
- Grade Level: 1 and up
- Lexile Measure: 660 (What's this?)
- Series: Wordsworth Classics
- Paperback: 192 pages
- Publisher: Wordsworth Editions Ltd (April 1, 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1853260177
- ISBN-13: 978-1853260179
- Product Dimensions: 4.9 x 0.5 x 7.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 966 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #40,512 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Wind in the Willows (Wordsworth Classics)
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Inspired by correspondence from Wind in the Willow's author Kenneth Grahame to his young son, award-winning illustrator Michael Foreman took up paint and brush to follow Mole, Ratty, Mr. Badger, and Toad through another edition of this well-loved kids classic.
Grahame's time-honored story, an adventure-filled idyll that meanders across a lovingly described English countryside, cemented its status as a masterpiece generations ago. But this newest edition adds some noteworthy extras: the unabridged text includes two chapters that don't appear in some modern versions ("The Pipers at the Gates of Dawn" and "Wayfarers All"), and the book closes with reproductions of two of Grahame's actual letters to his son Alistair ("My darling Mouse") in 1907, written on ornate, old-timey stationery from two Cornwall hotels and recounting one of Toad's first adventures (which Toad fans will recognize as the train-assisted escape of a certain "washerwoman").
These inclusions alone might merit a new edition, but Foreman's illustrations stand shoulder to shoulder with those of previous Winds artists (among them Ernest Shepard, the original illustrator, and Arthur Rackham, both of whom Foreman modestly stands "in awe" of). The lively, full-color illustrations appear generously throughout the book, as they convincingly capture both the story's small moments (like the washerwoman's weeping, for one) and more explosive events (like the storming of Toad Hall). (All ages) --Paul Hughes --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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Top customer reviews
First off, Wind in the Willows is a beautifully written tale, as many others here have already told. So well written, it is, that some people believe it shouldn't be illustated at all. However, as an artist, I am not in that camp. I appreciate a person willing to render 2D or 3D life to the written word. What a task!
This is a book which one can pick it up and put it down as one wishes. We sometimes read our favorite bits over and over. Grahame's writing is perfection, and we voice his characters for fun sometimes. There's a silly claymation television series that was done in the 1980s if you want to show the kids the t.v. version after you've read it to them. It was available on Netflix - not sure if it still is.
Also, for 'purists', fyi, this is the book in its unabridged form (the original full length tale).
For those looking for the abridged version, with lovely illustrations, check out the version with Inga Moore as illustrator. Moore has illustrated a version of The Secret Garden which is also lovely.
I would probably have preferred an edition with the illustrations by E.H. Shepard or Arthur Rackham (although the former would be more appropriate for someone who is six. However, neither of those editions was available on Amazon at less than collector's prices.
The most dismaying thing in my search for this book is the number of abridged versions for sale, which I believe to be unconscionable. I can well imagine those sections of the book that a modern editor / publisher might feel "superfluous," particularly for young readers. Well, if someone finds a chapter tedious, skip over it. It's not like that won't be necessary later in life, and with any number of other books.
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.