by Kenneth Grahame
illustrated by Arthur Rackham
"This has been a wonderful day," said he, as the Rat shoved off and took to the sculls again. "Do you know, I've never been in a boat before in all my life."
"What?" cried the Rat, open-mouthed: "Never been in a--you never--well I--what have you been doing, then?"
"Is it so nice as all that?" asked the Mole shyly, though he was quite prepared to believe it as he leant back in his seat and surveyed the cushions, the oars, the rowlocks, and all the fascinating fittings, and felt the boat sway lightly under him.
"Nice? It's the ONLY thing," said the Water Rat solemnly, as he leant forward for his stroke.
-from The Wind in the Willows
I loved the Disney movie of this book as a child, but had somehow never read the book until last year. Needless to say, I enjoyed the book. It is perhaps a little slow moving in some parts, because it was written so long ago and as a result has some longer descriptive passages than modern children's books tend to have. This is made up for by the antics of the characters, which are highly enjoyable. From the reserved Mole, who sets out to see the world, to the sensible and friendly Rat, to the stern fatherly Badger (who is actually rather tender-hearted underneath it all), each character shines. And let's not forget Toad, whose crazy schemes are the funniest part.
If you enjoy classics, this is a must read. It would also be great to read aloud as a family or to a classroom. This is a classic that should not be forgotten.
Ages 9 and up (for reading on their own).
To read aloud, more like ages 6+.
Rating: Buy it or check it out from the library
Try to get the one illustrated by Arthur Rackham