Original title: The wind in the willows.
Title of this edition: The wind in the willows.
Author: Kenneth Grahame.
Editorial: Methuen Children’s Books Ltd.
Edition year: 1, 1979.
Prizes: Mr. Toad was voted Number 38 among the 100 Best Characters in Fiction Since 1900 by Book magazine in their March/April 2002 issue (Wiki).
Synopsis [Warning: Spoiler]: Mole and Rat enjoy their life by the river. Taking picnics, row in the river, and stay by the fireplace in the winter, that’s all their life. On the other side, Mr Toad, rich Mr Toad, likes new adventures. That’s why Mr Toad has been trying motor boats, mobile houses… and now motorcars. Because Mr Toad is obsessed with cars, Mole and Rat have to call Mr Badger to chase Mr Toad and make him a good citizen again. But Mr Toad, refusing to give up cars, scape from his friends custody and steals a car, putting him into prison for it, and letting the Weasels into Toad Hall. The story ends by the 4 friends retaking Toad Hall and coming back to their life as it was before Mr Toad started to be a car-addict.
Personal Review: This book is a real classic among literature for kids, and most of the people I know read it while they where in the school. I don’t remember reading it completely at school, but I do remember parts of the story. That makes me enjoy the book even more, because as I was reading it, coming to a chapter I knew triggered memories of things that happened in my life while I first read it. That’s why I recommend adults to read some of the books they read as a kids, as it will be a good experience.
A part from the previous toughs, I would like to comment that this book has become such a big classic, that it has several TV adaptations. I have seen some of them, and they always focus on Mr Toad and cars (forgetting for instance some very nice adventures like Mole and Rat looking for a lost child in the river, or visiting Badger the first time). Other versions turn the Weasels into more dark characters that trick Toad in order to get the control of Toad Hall. It is not bad, but have in mind that it is not the story as it is told by the book.
I also want to comment that despite the book is fantasy, it has some elements of science fiction. There is some passages where Badger speaks about men and how they came and go and how animals are always there. In particular, Badger house connects with old human tunnels. So… what’s going on here? In other parts of the book Mr Toad interacts with several humans…. so can this be a world where some type of war or catastrophe turned animals into superior lifeforms? Did part of the humanity disappeared? How good/bad is relation between humans and animals? Do they share the same laws? More important, is it ok to eat other animals, and if so, are they intelligent as well or not? I think that if somebody wants, it is possible to turn this into a post-apocaliptic world (like Adventure Time for instance). On the other hand, Mole/Rat/Badger/Toad can be humans whose behaviour imitates those of the corresponding animals, and the authors, instead of dealing with long descriptions, simply characterise them as animals to speed up the storytelling.