Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
Discussing my favourite animals, as you do, I realised that mine were the Otter, Mole, Badger and Vole, a list absolutely informed by those anthropomorphic little chaps in Wind in the Willows. How I loved this book as a child, reading and rereading till it no longer held any surprises.
I loved the chapters about the Wild Wood and the retaking of Toad Hall. My grown up self would rather approve of the redistribution of wealth when Toad Hall was occupied by The People but those weasels and stoats were rather horrid, terrorising Mole in the wood, and demonstrating appallingly debauched behaviour during the short-lived coup. The image of the whirling Mole dressed as a washerwoman and waving his stick shouting “A MOLE! A MOLE!” always makes me chuckle.
My favourite chapter is when Mole realises that he’s missed his home, smelling it from a distance and becoming full of longing. It’s what we Welsh would call Hiraeth I suppose, and being a homey sort of person myself, I can feel the pull of the familiar and one’s own special space.
There are few significant women in the book, except the kindly jailer’s daughter and the barbaric washerwoman who expects the Toad to do some actual work, so the boys get to make all the decisions and have all the adventures. It’s all a bit ‘Last of the Summer Wine’, but I’d much rather be wandering the lanes in a caravan than be up to my armpits in furniture polish.
And really, there is nothing, quite as nice as messing about on the river.
The illustrations and front cover shown in this post are from the 1931 edition illustrated by E H Shephard.
Hay Library is open on Monday 10am-12.30pm, 1.30-4.30pm and 5-7pm; Thursday and Friday 10am-12.30pm, 1.30-5pm, and on Saturday 9.30am-1pm.
Hay Library facilities include:
- Large print books
- Newspapers & Magazines
- Local Studies
- Childrens Area with computer
- Free Wifi
- Free Computer and Internet access*
- Printer, Scanner, Photocopier, Fax
* Computer sessions finish 15 minutes before library closing time.
There is a permanent ‘Wind in the Willows’ exhibition (with related resources and video channel) at the River & Rowing Museum in Henley-on-Thames: http://rrm.co.uk/explore/wind-in-the-willows