The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham is one of the best-loved children books ever.
It is loved so much by so many because it’s a tale for child and adult alike that deals with universal themes.
My sister bought this edition for my son when he was only 5 years old, and we have loved it ever since, and it has become our family book. So my son has grown up with the Wind in the Willows.
When he was very young we read him the story and he also had a tape recording of it. As a 5 year old, he listened to the story with great interest, it thrilled him because it plunged him to a mysterious world where animals live.
It is a story about delightful talking animals that live by a riverbank, wake up out of hibernation, and simply get on with their every day lives. They enjoy life to the full and my son delighted in their exciting adventures.
As he grew older my son began to interpret these animals on a different, deeper level. They became more human to him as he began to understand that they are in fact just like us.
Each one has his own beautifully observed character. Toad, Badger, Ratty and Mole are so real that my son now uses them to describe people we meet:
‘I don’t much like the new boy, he’s just like Toad – boastful and conceited!’
Mr. Toad is indeed boastful and self-satisfied, and Badger is gruff but kindly and respected. Then we have Ratty who is considerate and laid-back, and finally Mole, the rather nervous and timid member of the group.
These characters have enriched our lives. There are also scary Weasels and Wild Wooders, and judges and jailers, and washerwomen!
The story is very exciting! The book deals with many universal themes such as friendship, courage, loyalty, honesty, dignity, self-discipline, greed, deception and more! And each character deals with these themes according to his type. However, the protagonists are united in their sheer exasperation at the Toad’s fickle obsession with the motor car!
This book has been very useful in helping us explain some difficult concepts to our son, and to answer some of the more complex questions that all children ask their parents. For this we will be forever grateful!
Beauty and Richness of the Language
It is the beauty and richness of the language that captures our imagination every time we read it. Its gentle humor and rich vocabulary makes it compelling. It is perfect English, the kind of language that you only encounter in literature of quality.
My son’s love of literature began with the Wind in the Willows, and we have read this book many times.
The illustrations by Robert Ingpen are beautiful too, and make this edition delightful. It is one of our hardcover books that we cherish. We loved the book so much that we bought a tape recording of it read by Alan Bennett, which I also highly recommend. He brings the story to life like no other reader. Even as adults we enjoy listening to him because he is a master storyteller.
If you are looking for a book to give to a child for Christmas, or as a birthday present, then I highly recommend this classic novel. It is a timeless tale, a masterpiece that has never been out of print!
For children of all ages.
You may also be interested in reading an article I have written about the practical help parents can give their dyslexic children. Reading aloud to them every day is one of the best ways to develop their reading skills.
Have you read The Wind in the Willows to a child? It’s an amazing experience. Please leave a comment.
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