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The Wind in the Willows–endearing children’s classic for all ages

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The Wind in the Willows

by Kenneth Grahame

My book club decided to read The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame, a children’s classic written in the early 1900’s by a British author. As a retired educator, I felt like this is one of those books I should have read. I downloaded a free copy from Project Gutenberg. It has some illustrations, but I found I would have liked more. The other readers in my group had various ways of reading this classic tale. One had a particularly beautifully illustrated version that I adore. Another friend listened to an audio version recorded on YouTube. At least one group member expressed disappointment that her version was an adaptation. Regardless of the version, however, we all enjoyed reading it.

The Wind in the Willows is a charming tale of a water rat, mole, badger, otter, and toad. With its exquisite language and intricate descriptions, this book is perfect for reading as a family. It was a staple in A.A. Milne’s family which I consider high praise indeed. The pace moves back and forth between quiet reflection and raucous adventure. The tale has themes of home, friendship and satisfaction. The characters move through life together with commonalities and differences that serve to make the story even more interesting.

Toad is a favorite character with moods ranging from manic to subdued and intentions to reform that often seem genuine, but sometimes are quite insincere. He has a passion for the latest and greatest “toys” and is always on the lookout for a new adventure. Fortunately, he has supportive friends who will do anything for him. He is a source of humor for the reader.

If you have never read The Wind in the Willows, I strongly recommend it, especially if you enjoy beautiful word pictures. I like researching unfamiliar words, but those who don’t will have no problems as the general meaning of words of a botanic nature, Britishisms, and words no longer in common usage are certainly easily understood from context. The Wind in the Willows is a great read, and I am so glad to have added it as part my literary heritage.

Rating: 4/5

Category: Children’s Fiction

Notes: Ages 7-14

Publication: 1908 & 1913—Charles Scribner’s Sons

Memorable Lines:

Toad talked big about all he was going to do in the days to come, while stars grew fuller and larger all around them, and a yellow moon, appearing suddenly and silently from nowhere in particular, came to keep them company and listen to their talk.

He increased his pace, and as the car devoured the street and leapt forth on the high road through the open country, he was only conscious that he was Toad once more, Toad at his best and highest, Toad the terror, the traffic-queller, the Lord of the lone trail, before whom all must give way or be smitten into nothingness and everlasting night.

Toad sat up slowly and dried his eyes. Secrets had an immense attraction for him, because he never could keep one, and he enjoyed the sort of unhallowed thrill he experienced when he went and told another animal, after having faithfully promised not to.


  1. Carla says:

    This is a book that I originally thought I had read, but I don’t think I did. When I was young, there was a show on TV based on this book and I watched it, which I think is why I thought I had read it. I now need to see if I can find a copy, off to check the library. Great review Linda.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I need to get this for my 8 year old grandson, he is a good reader, but says he hates to read which breaks my heart…I am on a mission to show him what a pleasure reading can be and I think he would love this book! Thanks Linda

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Perfect for my granddaughter especially because our yard had moles and toads! Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Cozynookbks says:

    Many years ago I watched a movie I still adore called The Storylady. She was a bored señior who got a job reading books to children. One of the stories she read was The Wind in the Willows. This brings back memories.
    I’m going to see if it’s available at the library or on LibriVox. I just might take a listen one day.
    Thanks for the great review.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. lghiggins says:

    How wonderful that you made that connection. I hope you enjoy it if you get the opportunity to read/listen to it.


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