The Wind in the Willows (1908), Kenneth Grahame, illus. Ernest H. Shepard, Scribner’s, 259 pp.
For my 100th post, it’s fitting that Grahame’s masterpiece should be the focus, as it’s always been one of my all-time favorites. I always wish I owned a row boat whenever I read it, so I can thoroughly understand how Mole gets swept away by the air and water and Ratty’s river-side lifestyle.
However, I suspect that adults may enjoy this book more than children do. Of course, Toad’s manias that always land him in trouble, and Ratty and Mole’s adventures on the River or in the snow or with Badger can keep some children’s interest. But this book’s idyllic, nostalgic, almost hallowed sense of the countryside may be beyond what most children — most city children, at any rate — can find meaningful. Because of all the news coverage, children may be aware of the loss of un-civilized land, but so few of them actually experience it as a loss.
My own daughter has never read this. I tried reading it aloud to her at one point, but she quickly lost interest. Not enough action.
I don’t mind. I’m happy enough reading this on my own, and perhaps, as she gets older, she’ll find her way to it.