“Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”
― Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows
If you are tired of the busy city-life filled with mundane routines, it is probably a good idea to take a trip to the riverside and be a part of the dialogues among the anthropomorphic animals; dive deep inside the fantastical adventures of a water rat, a mole, a badger, and an incredibly stubborn toad.
“The Wind in the Willows” is a novel telling the story of the above-mentioned animals along with a few others, throughout their daily lives after the Mole’s sudden surge of desire to abandon his underground residence and surface up to greet the sunshine as well as the calming flow of the river. Mole is then introduced to the welcoming Water Rat, the wise Badger, and the incorrigible Toad. As days go by, readers are presented with the animals’ own ways of passing the idle times, their daily routines, and the ways they each deal with their own problems, before ultimately, promoting the endearing value of friendship.
Mostly told in a fairly-understandable language, “The Wind in the Willows” perfectly describes the seemingly pastoral lifestyle of the animals; Mole and Water Rat’s boat-trip, picnic with the Otter, listening to the other animals’ plan to leave for winter, all emanates a sense of simplistic tranquility that is very rare in the now common urban lifestyle. This makes the book a great escape from the constant car horns and unnerving pressure to fulfill other people’s ideals. Although, car horns are present in a few chapters, namely “The Open Road” and a few others, playing a vital role in the overall story, courtesy or Mr. Toad.
Still, the thing that makes “The Wind in the Willows” great is not solely the concept of escape, but rather, the deep tale within the seemingly shallow concept. Readers will get to know more about these animals through the beautifully-crafted narratives and dialogues, making them attached to a number (if not all) of the major animals in the tale; when we hear of Mole’s homesickness after strolling upon his old home, or the Water Rat’s sadness to see so many animals leaving the riverside, or even the Toad’s desire to boast about his wealth and wit, they may see part of them inside those animals. If not, at least the narratives is able to make them regard these animals as their friends on the fictional riverside rather than just ‘another talking animals’. With the animals possessing different levels of maturity, the personalities of them are each unique, and the huge plus-point is that we get to see them overcoming their flaws to grow into better individuals, or , animals.
Although there might be times when the strings of sentences and vocabularies may be too difficult for today’s younger generation to fully understand (and I am looking at you, “Wayfarers All”), they can still understand the core plot of the story and the message it delivers. “The Wind in the Willows” is just the kind of story you want to read to your children or to yourself for a relaxing, yet engaging storytelling session.
Rating from me: 4/5
Have you read “The Wind in the Willows”? Who is your favorite character?