The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
Publisher: Lancer Books
Number of pages: 253
Mole has a sudden case of spring fever,
gives up on his house-cleaning, and wanders in the fields and
meadows. He finds himself by a river (he has been such a
stay-at-home that he has never seen it before) and meets the
Water Rat, who invites Mole into his boat, something else he
has never seen before. "Believe me, my young friend,"
Rat says dreamily, "there is nothing —absolutely
nothing —half so much worth doing as simply messing about in
A world of friendships, the joy of carefree
wandering, of picnicking, and playing has opened for Mole.
Half way through the book, the Mole, the Water Rat and the
Badger go to Toad Hall to try to help their friend Mr. Toad
who has a bad habit of reckless driving. Toad has quite a few
adventures. His irresponsible living and extravagance lead to
the loss of his home to the barbaric stouts and weasels. The
four friends go to battle to regain Toad Hall. The book ends
with a banquet where all the friends rejoice at Toad’s return.
- Under the surface of a charming story with its lovable
characters and its long-vacation atmosphere, there is subtle
encouragement in kindness, patience, industry and loyalty.
- Kenneth Grahame writes beautiful English prose. Richness
of language adds to the depth of the book.
- The story captures very well the meaning of true
friendship. For instance, Badger reprimands Toad’s
foolishness: "Independence is all very well, but we
animals never allow our friends to make fools of themselves
beyond a certain limit; and that you’ve reached."
Toad’s friends regard him as "another self" as they
correct him into becoming more mature.
- Another theme of the story is the emphasis on leisure.
In our modern world in which people shift back and forth
from work to working at making recreation, we forget the
value of spontaneous play. In the Wind in the Willows,
the river is where leisure is taken and enjoyed.
- "Fascinated by machines as modern boys are, Toad
learns the hard way, by experience, that adventure and
technology are incompatible…Toad is a fat, spoiled, sporty
English boy who finds out what the modern world is like, is
rescued and gets home." (John Senior)
The mystical digression at the center of
the book "The Piper at the gates of dawn" needs to be
explained. The god of nature in the form of Pan is a pagan
The Wind in the Willows shows us a
quartet of endearing characters, friends with real virtues
contributing to each other’s moral growth.
Note: The teacher who wants to find an
in-depth study of the book can read with profit Tending the
Heart of Virtue by Vigen Guroian p. 88-97 and The
Mysteries of Life in Children’s Literature by Mitchell
Kalpakgian p. 82-86.