The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame fits into the juvenile fiction genre and was first published in 1908. It is recommended for readers ages 8 and up.
I had an unbelievably hard time getting into this book. Even though it was only about 140 pages it took me months to read. It’s not that it’s a bad story I think it was just written so below my reading level that I had a hard time being interested. However, I think I would enjoy it if I were to read it to my children who, I’m fairly certain, would enjoy the animal characters and their adventures by the river. In the beginning we find Mole cleaning his house. He gets tired of cleaning and without any further planning leaves his house and sets off on an adventure. He makes it to the river and finds Rat who invites him to go on a picnic with him by boat. Mole is worried because he’d never been in a boat but agrees and makes an instant and lasting friend in Rat. While on the picnic they meet Badger, who is a nice enough animal but sort of anti-social. Badger admires Mole’s common sense and again Mole easily makes a new friend. Later they decide to go visit Toad. He lives in a really fancy house right on the river. They find Toad all excited about his new venture. He’d tried and failed at so many things in the past but that doesn’t keep Toad from trying new things. Cars are the current excitement in Toads life. He routinely manages to crash and break them but survives each time only to buy another and go at it again. It’s this love for cars that causes most of his problems. Toad’s friends convince him to give it up and to a point succeed until he steals a car and goes for a joy ride, which, as it should, lands him in jail. He manages to escape with the help of a washerwoman and has a few interest adventures on his way home being incredibly unruly. When he arrives home after being gone quite some time he finds his house has been taken over by weasels. Toad then goes off seeking the help of his friends. They are disappointed in the life he chose but after a quick chastisement they agree to help him get his house back. Badger plans the whole thing, Mole helped with the more subtle parts, Rat makes sure they are armed to the teeth, and Toad moans about his role in the whole thing. In the end Toad learns how to be a good friend and thankfully changes his ways. Badger, Mole, and Rat help save the day and are happily rewarded with their great friendship and a fine feast. All in all it’s an okay book. Grahame takes too many detours and subplots for my taste. He goes into great detail when a word or two would do about things that are never again mentioned in the book. It’s a great story with fun characters just not one of my favorites.