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The Wind in the Willows Kenneth Grahame

Default Smiles Here’s a fun one. Imagine you’re spring cleaning, but Spring is calling you out into the sunshine. And you don’t really get a lot of sunshine. Frankly speaking your house is underground. And you’re a mole. So you throw down your duster and go out to explore the great wide world, big and bright and beautiful and new!
Sassy Sharky Slow it down.
Happy Smiles NEVER! This is one of those books where the descriptions just sing. Talk about painting a picture with words. There’s a touch of humour too, it doesn’t take itself too seriously. And some pretty poignant bits about home and feeling secure.
Happy Sharky2 Definitely a strength. Smiles and I don’t get to see the countryside and rivers and forests often. Ever. And the book makes it sound really nice and damn it it’s made me want to have a picnic in the grass at least once in my life. Even when I KNOW it’s going to be uncomfortable and damp and full of bugs.
Default Smiles Basically the story is just about Mole experiencing the big wide world, meeting new people, and making a couple of good friends. Like good-natured Rat and his boats, and Badger, the most sensible animal in all the land. Who lives in the middle of a nightmarish forest where Mole also gets to experience mortal terror for the first time.
Happy Sharky2 You can tell it’s not exactly a thrilling plot, maybe minus getting lost in the woods, so if you want that instead you’re out of luck here. Stick around until we tackle something more action-packed. This one’s not really meant to be that. It’s really relaxed and beautifully worded. The river, the change of seasons, even the terrifying Wild Wood get treated like magical things, exciting and strange and the place to be. Definitely appropriate for a Mole. Even better for city kids. At least the first part is, which is the best part.
Sassy Smiles In Sharky’s opinion which is not the only opinion in the world.
Quiet Sharky Tch.
Confused Smiles Okay okay. Here’s the thing. And it’s kind of a weird thing. It’s all one book, but tone-wise you can split it into three distinct parts. One is Mole’s story, all about exploring and experience and pretty pictures. The other is… two chapters of… kind of-
Confused Sharky Mysticism?
Shocked Smiles Kind of yeah. Remember when I said the story doesn’t take itself too seriously? Yeah that stops for these two chapters. They get all mysterious and slightly otherworldly and it’s kind of jarring after the light-hearted tone in the previous chapters. Not that they’re not written great. But look, you have one chapter about a lost kid found because the great nature god Pan came unto the animals and said Lo, here is the chi-
Confused Sharky Yeeah no. He doesn’t quite say that. But there’s a pretty deep and serious current of spirituality going on. And the other chapter is just… travel mania possessing Mole’s friend and he has to physically stop him from running away to sea and he breaks down crying?
Shocked Smiles Well written, but weirdly intense! You’re definitely better off reading these two chapters as if they’re a different book altogether.
Angry Sharky 3 And the third part.
Sassy Smiles Sharky’s least favourite.
Angry Sharky 2 The third part.
Default Smiles So there’s this character Toad introduced pretty early on, completely obsessed with motor cars. The third part is basically his story. How he keeps crashing cars, his friends stop him, he gets a new one anyone, gets in trouble with the police, and the whole story of how he gets away and finally makes it home, only to have to win it back from the weasels. The tone basically does a 180, dropping all the relaxed experiencing for action and noise. And it ups the humour, nothing in this whole adventure is taken seriously at all. Even Toad getting locked up is so overblown and dramatic and drastic that it’s just hilarious. Why DON’T you like this part?
Angry Sharky 3 Simple. Toad.
Surprised Smiles … 0h. Sharky’s least favourite.
Angry Sharky Toad. I’ve never wanted to argue with an author more than over this character. C’mon Graham, you keep insisting he’s a really nice guy at heart and that’s why all the other animals are fond of him and put up with him but man. All I see is a swollen headed idiot who’s only ‘nice’ when it suits him and does EXACTLY what he wants, and as soon as it doesn’t work out he starts crying and repenting for exactly FIVE seconds to make everyone feel bad for him, and then JUST GOES AHEAD AND DOES ANOTHER STUPID THIN-
Surprised Smiles So… should we make Sharky’s rant corner a regular feature on these reviews now?
Default Sharky Shut up Smiles. Anyway. Yeah. It’s a great, funny, farcical story that I can’t really enjoy as much as I want to because I just haaate the spotlit character. But again, totally subjective. Maybe I’m the only one who hates him. Maybe I just hate. Full of random instances of hate. Maybe you’re next.
Default Smiles But again, treat it like another separate book. I guess what we’re saying is, even if you don’t like parts two and three too much, or maybe you will, who knows, it’s still definitely a book worth reading at least once.
Default Sharky Again with the ‘we’, when you’re the only one saying it…

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2 thoughts on “The Wind in the Willows Kenneth Grahame

  1. We loved the TV series which we used to watch with our little daughter when she was growing up. Endless hilarity! Especially Mr. Toad’s antics and the weasels’ cunning plans to take over Toad Hall and general no-goodness which always failed. The story must have been stretched and embellished for the screen, of course. I must read the book now to see how it really goes. There are some really well illustrated editions available.

    1. A lot of things get added for tv, but for the best. Toad is infinitely more enjoyable in the Cosgrove tv series, as are the weasels. A great adaptation!

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