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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 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
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.
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.
I wish people would review products for what they are, not what they wish they were; the book is clearly an abridgement and does not claim to be anything else. And it is really a very good abridgement. I often, reading to my 5 year old, have to make "on the fly" abridgements of my own, as I guage his patience, his interest, and the appropriateness of the subject matter. I didn't have to do that with this book.
I also looked for "Piper at the Gates of Dawn" when I first opened this book and was saddened to see it wasn't there. But then I went online and found the text of it (as the book is out of copyright, there are a number of e-texts available). It's a truly gorgeous piece of writing - but it really is not going to appeal to the age range at which this book is aimed.
The illustrations are lush and colorful, and (important detail when reading chapter books to someone moving up from picture books) there is at least one illustration of some kind on nearly every page. The chapters selected to be presented are vivid and interesting and a good introduction to the book for smaller children.
When he's older, I'll read the full version to him - or hand it to him to read himself. But this book is a lovely thing in its own right.
Well it's entirely unnecessary to purchase this edition. There are literally hundreds of others to choose from. Or download the free e-book with the very nice original illustrations. It looks great on a Kindle.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great to see the good illustrations and really "picture" the characters.