Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Wind in the Willows

The Wind in the Willows (Puffin Classics)The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
Evan’s ESS = 7 out of 10
Erin’s ESS =  out of 10
Content = G (Intense Animal Drama, Cross-Dressing Amphibians, Speed Addiction)

"I'm going to make an animal out of you, my boy!"

Why: Ah, what a lovely tale of adventure, innocence and friendship.  For countless readers this book conjures pleasant images of a bygone era and serves as a fond reminder of childhood.  For us however, The Wind in the Willows stands as one of those books we missed in our youth and therefore provides us with zero preconceived ideas.  We’re not really sure where we’re going with this, but we’re now caught in a reflective mood.  Okay, it’s passed.  Onto the review... 

The Wind in the Willows tells of the exploits of Mole, Ratty, Mr. Toad, and several other unique animals.  Their adventures together are as infamous as Mr. Toad is vain.  Actually, most of the exploits are centered on Mr. Toad’s wildly eccentric behavior.  What else would you expect from an amphibian with a fascination for automobiles and speed?  One in such circumstances can only hope to have as caring and thoughtful friends as Mole and Ratty.  Plus, all’s well that ends well, right? Not that this novel ends well... although we’re not saying it doesn’t either.    

In spite of its acclaim, we were only mildly impressed by The Wind in the Willows.  Is it bad that we wanted Toad to suffer a little more retribution?  Maybe that says something about us (oh, who are we kidding, of course it says something about us).  Don’t get us wrong, this novel is definitely above average, but we were just hoping our emotions would be poked and prodded a little more.  The characters were great and the moral lessons are worthy.  Who knew there are so many rules that govern the animal world? 

We’re curious to hear what others thought of this novel, especially those who read it in their youth.


  1. I, too, came to this book in adulthood. I was not a fan; in fact, I found it incredibly boring and think that kids today will probably not be interested in it. I though Toad had way more coming to him too; he was SUCH a jerk! For real.

    I did like Ratty though, and Badger is pretty awesome. Mole is cute but he could get tiresome quickly.

  2. I love the Wind in the Willows, but I loved it from a young age.

    I love Rat and Mole, and I love the style of the prose. It's a tribute to nature in all her faces.

    The book has issues: most notably a rather British classism separates the main characters (gentlemen) from the "ruffians" of the Wild Wood.

    My favorite chapters have always been The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, the one where Rat and Mole host carolers at Mole's house, and Wayfarers All. So... not any with Toad in them. I did like his plots more on last re-read, though.

    I wrote more about the book in 2009 as part of a series on books with animal societies The Wind in the Willows