'Ho! ho! I am the Toad, the motor-car snatcher, the prison-breaker, the Toad who always escapes!'
Tired of spring cleaning, Mole ventures above ground into the warm sunshine, and happens upon his friend Ratty. Together they picnic on the sparkling, burbling river, brave the sinister Wild Wood in wintertime to visit the bad-tempered Badger, and take to the open road in a caravan with dear, silly old Toad. But when Toad's attention turns to motor cars, his reckless behaviour goes from bad to worse. Badger, Rat and Mole must save their friend from ruin, and Toad Hall from the clutches of the rascally Stoats and Weasels.
BACKSTORY: Get outdoors and explore the natural world, and test your knowledge of The Wind in the Willows.
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It is a book that breaks nearly every rule of modern children's fiction...it wasn't about fairies at the bottom of the garden, but it was about magic - just the right kind of magic. It thrills me still to read it - The Times
'Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.'' But reading about Mole, Ratty, Toad and Badger runs it a close second. -
People think of it as a children's book, but that's not all it is. What seared my imagination was its surrealism. The rat, the mole and badger could talk, but they could also change size: a badger could crawl down a rat hole, a toad could drive a car. At nine or 10 that fascinated me and that made a deep impression on my career - Independent on Sunday
A book about the love of friends and the joys of existence - Sunday Times
I loved Toad of Toad Hall and his merry antics, especially with his motor car - poop poop! - Daily Express
One of our greatest classics and as true and entertaining now as it has ever been -
For generations of English children, the gentle adventures of Mole, Rat, Badger, Toad and the other characters from The Wind In The Willows have been part of the magic of growing up - Daily Mail
It is about magic - just the right kind of magic. It thrills me still to read it. - Shirley Hughes
So what makes these different to any other set of classics? In a moment of inspiration Random House had the bright idea of actually asking Key stage 2 children what extra ingredients they could add to make children want to read. And does it work? Well, put it this way...my 13-year-old daughter announced that she had to read a book over the summer holiday and, without any prompting, spotted The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas...and proceeded to read it! Now, if you knew my 13-year-old daughter, you would realise that this is quite remarkable. She reads texts, blogs and tags by the thousand - but this is the first book she has read since going to high school, so all hail Vintage Classics! - National Association for the Teaching of English
Kenneth Grahame was born in Edinburgh on 8 March 1859. He was brought up by his grandmother and spent much of his time exploring the woods and wildlife near his home, but was also a gifted scholar and captain of the school rugby team. He was sent to work in a bank, which he disliked, but it was while he was working there that he began writing, and soon became a successful author. The Wind in the Willows is based on letters and bedtime stories that Graham thought up for his son, Alistair, who was nicknamed 'Mouse'. A neighbour convinced Kenneth that he should turn the stories into a book, but when he did, it was rejected by all publishers except one. It wasn't until the then President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt, said how much he loved the book that readers began to take notice. After that, The Wind in the Willows became a bestseller, and was even turned into a play with the help of A.A. Milne, the author of the Winnie the Pooh stories. Kenneth Grahame retired from the bank in the year The Wind in the Willows was published, and he died in 1932.