The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame

“Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”

It’s strange to think that this is my first time ever reading The Wind in the Willows but here we are.
I have always been familiar with the Disney film “The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad” a duo 2 part movie where each is based on a different Classic, obviously the “Mr. Toad” part is loosely based on The Wind in the Willows , and my friends it’s very very very loosely based haha.

My entire life I thought The Wind in the Willows was solely about Mr. Toad and his chaotic way of life and his obsession with the motor-car, but its so much more than that. The Disney film really does leave out some of the quieter softer moments in this tale. But also Mr. Toad gets up to more hi-jinks in this than he does in that little Disney short. He is a character that I found I couldn’t hate, but I could definitely be frustrated with. He was constantly getting himself into trouble only to have his friends come along and try to explain to him why he shouldn’t do what he keeps doing. But at the end of the day, they never abandon him, they join together and help him reclaim his family home (never turning him in for escaping jail mind you that’s true friendship right there is you ask me haha) he is a handful and they all know it but they love him all the same, even if they begrudgingly complain about him.

One of the aspects I truly loved was the friendship between The Water Rat and The Mole, one of their chapters brought me to absolute tears. Something old that meant a lot to the Mole unexpectedly pops back up and he tries with all his might to get the Rat to stop and join him in looking for it, but the Rat ignores his pleas and continues on, and Mole being the absolute sweetheart that he is, turns from his own wants and continues to follow the Rat. Eventually the Rat notices something is terribly wrong with the Mole and the Mole proceeds to completely break down and explain what is wrong, which causes the Rat to realize he has been quite the jerk, and he apologizes and then immediately turns back around and goes on the hunt for what Mole was wanting to find. He does everything he can to make up for this unfortunate moment between them and its beautiful.

The book is filled with moments like this, helping friends in need, recognizing ones own faults, speaking up when something is bothering one, these animals talk about their problems and try to find solutions and are just genuinely being nice and welcoming to any and all (minus them weasels of course, but even then they showed kindness to one) and there was always time to share a lunch or dinner. I loved how the badger was introduced like this :

“Badger hates Society, and invitations, and dinner, and all that sort of thing.”

But actually turned out to be a very welcoming little fellow, he was more stern the others but it always came from a place of genuine care and concern, he loves his burrow and alone time, but never turned away an animal in need, and this made him such a loveable character.

I did struggle a bit with the writing style, while its pretty its a bit lengthy and at times it was just hard for me to grasp the sentences, there was something about the structure that was disagreeing with my brain. I eventually grabbed an audio book version and did an immersive read with it and everything became more clear, I’m not sure why it was like this for me, but I’m glad I found a solution, so if you find it difficult to grasp the sentences, or phrasing I recommend the audio book.

The Wind in the Willows is Whimsical and full of heart, with wild adventures and quiet moments of the domestic life of animals, it will make you feel like you are in a dream, lazily rowing down the river on a beautiful spring day without a care in the world.


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