The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame. Originally published in 1908. 197 pages.
One of the biggest delights of homeschooling has been the opportunity to read classic books with my children that I never read -nor had read to me- when I was a child. One book that we recently used as a bedtime read aloud is this Kenneth Grahame classic. This is one of those timeless books that captures the imaginations of children across generational divides.
Our children thoroughly enjoyed the adventures of Mole, Rat, and Toad in this fantastical tale that often made you forget that you were reading about the antics of animals. That is, until those few moments when they have interaction within the human world.
The richness of the language made the book both refreshing and educational. I was occasionally stopped and asked for the definition of this word or the meaning of that turn of phrase. Overall, the adventures and lives of the characters was continuously riveting for both my girls and me. There really isn’t much I can add here that hasn’t been offered again and again about this wonderful book, so I’ll wrap this up with a few quotes for the sake of those of you who haven’t read it. It is my hope that as you take in the rich and captivating writing, you might be inclined to pick it up, even if your kids are all grown up. Recall the words of C.S. Lewis.
This brought laughter:
“Secrets had an immense attraction to 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.”
This sparked conversations of winter:
“No animal, according to the rules of animal-etiquette, is ever expected to do anything strenuous, or heroic, or even moderately active during the off-season of winter.”
And this reminds of the importance of hospitality:
“There he got out the luncheon-basket and packed a simple meal, in which, remembering the stranger’s origin and preferences, he took care to include a yard of long French bread, a sausage out of which the garlic sang, some cheese which lay down and cried, and a long-necked straw-covered flask wherein lay bottled sunshine shed and garnered on far Southern slopes.”
Seriously, read it. The adventures of the characters within, Toad perhaps most of all, are offered with humor, wit, and lessons of life woven between every interaction.