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The Wind in the Willows (Sterling Illustrated Classics) Hardcover – March 6, 2012
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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 the Paperback edition.
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 the Paperback edition.
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Top customer reviews
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.
Chris MacDonnell as narrator is an excellent choice, his character's speaking voices are so perfect. Mole is voiced as a slightly self-deprecating creature, but his voice strengthens as he grows wiser later in the book. Badger is a big gruff voiced animal, and Toad is voiced just as a toad should be, with a slight nasally tone that comes from not having a proper nose. MacDonnell gives little touches to the story like chuckles and car horns, they fit right in.
I was provided a copy of the audiobook by Chris MacDonnell in exchange for an honest review. I really think this audiobook would be perfect for a nostalgic adult or to play for a child as a bedtime story.
There is a lot that could be drawn from this classic novel -- the adventurous Rat who shows Rat the whole world that is out there; the foolish and impulsive Toad; the stoic Badger.
I recently listened to this via audio, and the legendary Ralph Cosham (of Louise Penny fame) was the narrator. He did an excellent job -- highly recommended!
I noticed another reviewer use the word "Zen" while describing this book, and he is absolutely right -- it's just a delightful, peaceful, and fun story to fall into... and to read time and time again. No matter how many times you need them and reread them, the animals in the woods will always be there for you.