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The Wind In The Willows

Updated on October 23, 2014

Tales of the Riverbank and "messing about in boats"

The Wind in the Willows is one of my all-time favorite books.

To some it is "just" one of the children's classics, but for me this book is written equally for adults. Kenneth Grahame's masterpiece, first published in 1908, tells the story of four animals: Mole, Ratty, Mr Toad and Mr Badger. It is a tale of adventure, morality, philosophy, friendship and mysticism.

After retiring as secretary of the Bank of England, Kenneth Grahame moved back to Berkshire, where he spent his time by the famous River Thames "simply messing about in boats". The Wind in the Willows is based on the bedtime stories he told his son.

The image is cropped from a copyright-free watercolor of a quiet place, under the willows, on the riverbank of the river Thames.

The River Bank - Introducing the Mole and his new friend, Ratty

"The Mole had been working very hard all the morning, spring-cleaning his little home." This first line of the Wind in the Willows introduces us to the industrious mole, busily spring-cleaning his house. Suddenly bored, and drawn to the sun and the air, Mole scrabbled his way to the surface, and began the adventure of his life. Passing through the meadows and hedgerows, he comes to the river - a creature he had never before encountered. Here, he meets the Water Rat, who takes him for a picnic along the river, tells him tales of the Wild Wood, and eventually invites him to stay, to learn to swim and to row.

The picture of Ratty is cropped from a public domain image on Wikisource.

Toad Of Toad Hall

One summer day, Rat and Mole visit Toad at his grand Toad Hall. Toad is rich, friendly and kind-hearted but, sadly, he is also aimless and very conceited. Toad easily becomes obsessed with passing fads, and equally easily abandons them. He has tried boating, but his current obsession is his horse-drawn caravan, and he persuades Rat and Mole to join him on a trip. When a passing motorcar scares the horse and the caravan overturns, motor cars become Toad's latest craze.

After a Terrifying Experience in the Wild Wood, Mole meets Badger

On a snowy winter afternoon, Mole's desire to meet Badger gets him into a terrifying experience in the Wild Wood. Fortunately, he is found by Ratty, and the pair are very lucky to be taken in and given hot food and dry clothes by Badger. They tell Badger that Toad has crashed several cars, been hospitalised, and has spent a small fortune on fines. The three decide that when spring arrives they will find a way to protect Toad from himself.

Buy your own copy of The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame's beloved novel for all the family

This is such a popular, classic book that there are many different editions available. Here I show you some of the best available on Amazon.

The Wind in the Willows (Sterling Illustrated Classics)
The Wind in the Willows (Sterling Illustrated Classics)

An illustrated hardcover version of this delightful tale of friends adventuring on the river bank, the open road, and the wild wood.

The Wind in the Willows
The Wind in the Willows

In a beautiful single volume, Inga Moore’s magical illustrations bring Superb edition illustrated by Inga Moore, who claims this wonderful book inspired her best work.


Of course, I'm not going to tell you the whole story!

To find out about Toad's time in prison, the Jailer's daughter, the stoats and weasels invasion of Toad Hall, and Otter's search for his missing son, Portly, I recommend reading Kenneth Grahame's delightful prose.

The Wind in the Willows
The Wind in the Willows

Delightfully illustrated edition of The Wind in the Willows, with each chapter includes full-page painting of a dramatic moment in the story.

The Wind in the Willows: An Annotated Edition
The Wind in the Willows: An Annotated Edition

In this annotated edition, we discover all we need to know about the author and his work. Seth Lerer offers annotations to the language, contexts and allusions behind Kenneth Grahame's prose.


Would you like to read the Wind in the Willlows online?

You can read or listen to the Wind in the Willows at Wikisource. You can read Chapter 1, by clicking on the link below. You can jump to the other chapters from this page.

The Main Characters Of Our Story

Which is your favourite?

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I'd love to read your views on this topic - which is close to my heart. Thanks!

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    • profile image

      Ruthi 4 years ago

      The Wind in the Willows is definitely one of those books to read as a child and as an adult.

    • andreea22 profile image

      andreea22 4 years ago

      Oh, how many memories you have here! This was one of the best books I've ever read.

    • tekaha profile image

      tekaha 5 years ago

      this book was one of my favorites when i was growing up! timeless classic--

    • profile image

      Terrie_Schultz 5 years ago

      I absolutely adore The Wind in the Willows! I first discovered it many years ago when I was a child, and I think I love it even more now.

    • LisaMarieGabriel profile image

      Lisa Marie Gabriel 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      I loved this too.... I honestly found it hard to choose between Ratty, Mole and Mr Toad - that is the writer's skill! Blessed! :))

    • hartworks lm profile image

      hartworks lm 5 years ago

      This was one of the first chapter books I read, many years ago! Read it over and over during my childhood. Fun to come across it here!