The Wind in the Willows
by Kenneth Grahame
This much-loved story follows a group of animal friends in the English countryside as they pursue adventure … and as adventure pursues them! The chief characters – Mole, Rat, and Toad – generally lead upbeat and happy lives, but their tales are leavened with moments of terror, homesickness, awe, madcap antics, and derring-do.
Although classed as children’s literature, The Wind in the Willows holds a gentle fascination for adults too. The vocabulary is decidedly not “Dick and Jane”, and a reader with a love of words will find new ones to treasure, even if well-equipped for the journey. Parents will appreciate the themes of loyalty, manners, self-restraint, and comradeship which are evident throughout the book. When the characters err, they are prompt to acknowledge it, and so a reading of this book can model good behavior to children, who will otherwise be enchanted with the many ways in which the lives of these bucolic characters differ from modern life.
This book was so successful that it enabled the author to retire from banking and take up a country life somewhat like that of his creations. It has been adapted for screen, stage, and even a ride at the original Disneyland.
(Summary by Mark F. Smith)