Alternately slow-moving and fast-paced, the story focuses on three animal characters in a bucolic version of England, and is notable for its mixture of mysticism, adventure, morality and camaraderie. It will provide as much pleasure to adult readers as to children, although for rather different reasons.
t on the river?'
'Toad's out, for one,' replied the Otter. 'In his brand-new wager-boat; new togs, new everything!'
The two animals looked at each other and laughed.
'Once, it was nothing but sailing,' said the Rat, 'Then he tired of that and took to punting. Nothing would please him but to punt all day and every day, and a nice mess he made of it. Last year it was house-boating, and we all had to go and stay with him in his house-boat, and pretend we liked it. He was going to spend the rest of his life in a house-boat. It's all the same, whatever he takes up; he gets tired of it, and starts on something fresh.'
'Such a good fellow, too,' remarked the Otter reflectively: 'But no stability--especially in a boat!'
From where they sat they could get a glimpse of the main stream across the island that separated them; and just then a wager-boat flashed into view, the rower--a short, stout figure--splashing badly and rolling a good deal, but working his hardest. The Rat stood up a
I re-read this one recently and it was way, way, waaay better even than I had remembered.
How 'bout the Piper at the Gates of Dawn, or the Sailor Rat tempting Ratty with his exotic tales of foreign ports?
This is a wonderful book. Not only for the story, which is amusing, or the writing, which is brilliant (amazing what they used to write for children!). But because in this single book Grahame has captured some many aspects of the human spirit.
Mr. Mole, alternately timid and bold -- his battle cry: "A Mole! A Mole!" -- meets the Water Rat, who is sometimes peevish, sometimes not, but always ready for a bit of messing about on the water. Together they go traveling with the delightful braggart Toad, who is led astray -- as so many have been -- by motor cars. His conscience, such as it is, can wink at car theft, horse theft, and many a jolly lie, but his loyalty to friends is firm.
And of course one can't forget the solitary and serious Mr. Badger, who is writing a dissertation on the Creation of Man off in his subterranean forest abode. It is he who leads the party through the secret tunnel to attack to the Weasels and Stoats and retake Toad's home, which they have occupied.
Sound exciting? It is.
"A Mole! A Mole!"
Truly timeless. To think children's stories evolved from this to Pokemon makes one sad.
2013 SFR GALAXY AWARD WINNER
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