Wind in the Willows

Wind in the Willows    Utube promo shot

I read ‘Wind in the Willows’ for the first time last week What a gorgeous book and how incredible a writer is Kenneth Grahame  The prose celebrating the exuberance and effervescence of  natures  seasons and the   busy bustling creature life of the river and woodlands in which his tale is set  fairly bounces off the page with life and vibrancy   .To read this book lifts your spirits and inspires you, taking you on an exuberant and powerfully nostalgic trip back down  the forgotten  rivers and ponds and meadows and forests and backwaters and byways of your own childhood  encouraging you to recollect and treasure even more  perhaps forgotten child memories and simple pleasures of springs and summers past  .

How deftly and ‘tongue in cheekily’ Grahame anthromorphisizes rendering unique and lovable and perfectly believable and diverse  specimens of humanity though his characters mole ,otter, rat and badger and of course Toad.

How  compassionately and humorously he presents the  challenges and conundrums of being human the creatures face  in their solo and shared adventures and their often really recognizeable and humorous and resourceful  ways of dealing with the same .

I noticed in this book that once the  creatures pledged friendship to one another they stood by one another through thick and thin.They had one anothers backs . They were often willing to go out on a limb for their friends  and put their friends needs and comfort ahead of their own and the book stands a s a tribute to the value of true friendship . As ratty prepares his picnic basket for a boating trip down the tributaries of the river and Toad cajoles his long suffering buddies to venture forth on a gypsy caravaning adventure ,you find yourself squirming with pleasure and  asking  ‘Can I come too ?’   Grahame raises  our consideration about the  value of one way of life over another year e’g. the  benefits and drawbacks  of the life of a traveller as opposed to the  benefits of staying put in one place . He makes liberal use of sensory  enticements and creature comforts   to draw us into the story the hot brown  toast dripping with melted butter , the roaring fireplaces  as creatures huddle cosily in their dressing gowns and carpet slippers sipping hot drinks and  mulled wine writing poetry  or  plannng their next adventure or philosophizing  about life love the universe and everything  .

My absolute favorite character though is Mr Toad who is vanity personified and totally outrageous .He makes me think of Frasier the  bombastic TV character in the show by the same name. I just  laughed my head off  at Toads outrageous antics and his vain follies  .He is completely over the top .The book is a beautiful escape and I am looking forwards to finding a copy of the film .

As A A Milne in his introduction writes,” When you sit down to it, dont be so ridiculous as to suppose that you are sitting in judgement on my taste or on the art of Kenneth Grahame. You are merely sitting in judgement on yorself .You may be worthy  I dont know but it is you who are on trial.”

 

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