Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The wind in the willows audio

The wind in the willows audio

Kenneth Grahame
For ages 8 and up
Unabridged audiobook (CD)
Performed/read by: Mary Woods
Blackstone Audiobooks, 1992   ISBN: 0786178752

The Mole is fed up with spring cleaning. In fact he is so fed up that he throws down his white-washing brush and he digs his way through the earth until he reaches the spring meadow above, the warm sun, and the soft breezes. Elated by the beauty of the day Mole goes off for a walk. His ramblings lead him to the astonishing and delightful River, a place he has never seen before. It also brings him to the doorstep of the Water Rat. “Ratty,” being a terribly friendly and easy-going sort of animal, invites Mole to go for a picnic with him. The two new friends set out in Ratty’s little row boat and they have a truly “enchanted afternoon” together.

That very evening Ratty invites Mole to live with him. He offers to teach the Mole how to row and swim and all in all, how to appreciate the River and all its mysteries and beauties. Mole accepts this wonderful invitation and he is soon part of the river community.

One glorious day, some time after their initial meeting, the Mole and the Rat decide to go and visit Toad at his very grand home, Toad Hall. Before they quite know what has hit them the ebullient and excitable Toad has invited them to go on an expedition with him in his “canary coloured cart.” The cart is Toad’s latest fad, his newest hobby, and the two friends agree to go along. Unfortunately the adventure ends badly and Toad is infected by a new interest. Carts are a thing of the past, they are “common” and not worthy of his attention. No indeed, now Toad is obsessed with motor cars and as we soon find out, they are the cause of his downfall, and what a fall it is too.

The various adventures of Toad, Mole, Rat and their other friends are both gripping and delightful. Toad’s misadventures are sure to amuse listeners of all ages.  This superb tale is filled with the beauty of nature, the mystic powers that lie beneath the surface of every river and behind every tree. Just as Mole is “spellbound” by his first sighting of the river, so too is the listener spellbound by its magical language.