book crush thursday: The Wind in the Willows

-- "And you really live by the river? What a jolly life!"
-- "By it and with it and on it and in it," said the Rat. "It's brother and sister to me, and aunts, and company, and food and drink, and (naturally) washing. It's my world, and I don't want any other. What it hasn't got is not worth having, and what it doesn't know is not worth knowing." -- The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame

Toad never paused to reply. Solid revenge was what he wanted, not cheap, windy, verbal triumphs, though he had a thing or two in his mind that he would have liked to say. -- The Wind in the Willows

Sometimes childhood classics are only meant to be read as children. Have you ever revisited an old favorite, and wondered what you saw in it? They might maintain a kind of I-guess-you-had-to-be-there charm, but they don't have anything to offer the grown you.

Not so with The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame. In fact, I never read this when I was little, but first discovered it a few years ago. And loved it.
I had hoped for a fun romp of a book, but sometimes the old school children's classics just feel old school and not much else. But the language in Willows is fantastic. And the characters are wonderfully warm and funny--Toad in particular cracks me up. But there are also touching and poignant passages, a depth I hadn't expected.

In the end, it's a story of adventures and home, of trials and friends, of Rat and Mole and Toad and Badger and the Wild Wood. It's well worth the time, especially when summer starts giving way to autumn...

Better still? I bought this edition, which has stunning illustrations by Robert Ingpen. Look at these:

If I had a child's room to decorate, I would definitely buy and dismantle a second copy, and hang these up everywhere...

Recommendation: You could get by with tea and toast, but why not do it right? Pack up a picnic lunch and read this by a river, or a lake, or--heck, even a puddle.

But in any case, you owe it to yourself to read it outside. Especially if this is your first read.

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