Reading/Interest Level: Primary, Intermediate
Author: Kenneth Grahame
Illustrator: Nancy Barnhart
Publisher: Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. for Barnes and Noble
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame is a classic. The story begins with Mole, fed up with his life in his hole, he decides leaves on holiday and soon meets Water Rat. But what started out as a vacation becomes Mole's new life. Mole, Rat, Badger, and the infamous Mr. Toad all live near the river. The first three friends live a peaceful life while Mr. Toad lives rather chaotically. As each chapter focuses on a different window of their lives, the story progresses through nearly a year and a half, closely following Mr. Toad's obsession with motor cars, his arrest, imprisonment, and escape.
This novel is categorized as a children's literature, but the syntax and plot structure are rather advanced for a children's novel. The story focuses on friendship and a simple life, but it also has more advanced themes such as religion and ego. Toad consistently never learns from his mistakes and his ego is comical, but a child might not realize how flawed his character is. At one point, Rat and Mole experience a vision of Pan, the Greek god of the Wild, but it is very clearly metaphorical for a Christian experience. It is best for this story to be read by an adult to a child so that the child may more fully enjoy the excitement of the story.
*Contains mild language.