Richard Briers, Adrian Scarborough and Terence Rigby star in this full-cast dramatisation, narrated by Alan Bennett.
Kenneth Grahame was born in Edinburgh on 8 March 1859. He was brought up by his grandmother in Cookham Dene in Berkshire and went to school in Oxford before starting work at the Bank of England. He was unable to go to university because of his family's lack of money. His stories and essays were initially published in periodicals such as the Yellow Book and then collected together as Pagan Papers (1893). This was followed by The Golden Age (1895) and Dream Days (1898). The Wind in the Willows (1908) is based on letters and stories that Graham made for his only child, Alistair. The novel's popularity grew slowly over the years and A.A. Milne's dramatisation of the novel as Toad of Toad Hall brought it greater success. Kenneth Grahame died on 6 July 1932. Alan Bennett is one of Britain's best-loved and most highly acclaimed writers. He has written widely for radio, television and theatre. His latest play, The History Boys, won several awards, including Evening Standard and Critics' Circle Awards for Best Play and the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Play. It also won six Tony Awards, including Best Play, following an extremely successful transfer to Broadway. In 2006 Bennett was named Author of the Year at the British Book Awards for Untold Stories, his collection of memoirs and diaries.
Mary Jane Begin illustrates the classic story of Mole, Badger, Rat and Toad, The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. Each chapter opens with a vignette and includes a full-page painting of a dramatic moment in the proceedings.
Gr 3-5-Stout-hearted Dorothy, dashing but naive D'Artagnan, and feckless Toad are introduced to young graphic-novel enthusiasts. Each book is a serviceable representation of the original work, hitting all relevant plot points in a somewhat rigidly paced 70 to 100 pages. Occasional anachronisms are jarring (D'Artagnan asks, "Are you okay?"). Unfortunately, the pages in Oz suffer from serious overcrowding: detail-heavy panels are arranged in an overlapping layout with no gutters between panels, making the book visually dense. Colors glare and characters appear stiff. Eric Shanower's graphic-novel edition of the same book (Marvel Classics) is easier on the eyes. Musketeers is drawn in a sharper-edged but still goofy style that emphasizes the humor in every scene. Willows is illustrated in an exaggerated cartoon style, with pop-eyed, loose-limbed characters that are a sharp contrast to depictions in other recent illustrated editions by artists such as Robert Ingpen, Luanne Rice, and Inga Moore. No library should be without these classics, but these adaptations may not be the best ones to choose.-Paula Willey, Baltimore County Public Library, Towson, MD (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Originally published in France in 1996, this edition collects the four corresponding English-language volumes that were first issued between 1997 and 2002 by NBM. Plessix's style has been called "detailed impressionism," and the limpid watercolors of his lavish adaptation give that "Somewhere Else" quality to the classic story--2008 is the 100th anniversary of Graham's novel. So many adaptations have so little space to work in that they seem more like CliffsNotes versions. But Plessix has truly adapted the tale with most of the narrative details intact--and a few new twists at the end. And while the anthropomorphic animal characters have a cute, cartoony quality, the overall effect of a timeless, golden world is not thereby disrupted; all the looniness and love of nature from the original come through beautifully. Somehow the world of Mole and his friends suggests an animal Hobbiton in a Ring-less alternative universe, where talking animals and humans coexist amid a gloriously bucolic world of water, woods, and fields based on preindustrial rural England. Unfortunately, the pages are a little too small to showcase the details of Plessix's lush art as it deserves. For all ages.--M.C. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
- "It is a book that breaks nearly every rule of modern children's fiction... it wasn't about fairies at the bottom of the garden, but it was about magic -- just the right kind of magic. It thrills me still to read it." --Shirley Hughes, The Times