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  • 執筆者の写真Yuko

Book Review, The Wind in the Willows


Two things make my heart relax and stretch out: sipping a warm cup of tea in winter and the moment after reading my favourite story. It is called The Wind in the Willows. I read it in Japanese long ago and recently I read it in English with my daughter. Surprisingly, this story appeals to both of us, which makes me believe it’s as highly appropriate for today’s children as it was for me, in the sense that this is the right one to be introduced now.


The story is set on the riverbank and revolves around three anthropomorphised animals: mild-mannered Mole, easy-going Ratty and impulsive Toad, and their various travails in the countryside. It is started by Mole, a scrupulous, home-loving and mild-mannered little animal. He accidentally digs to the riverbank where a river rat lives a life of leisure every day. The rat is cultured, relaxed and friendly, therefore they become friends easily. Ratty introduces Mole to a toad, who was a young scion and good-natured, but very impulsive, especially in driving recklessly. Due to this objectionable nature, Toad lands himself in prison.


From this point on, the fable reveals itself as an adventure and mystery and it has attracted me until this day. Toad escapes from the prison dressed as a cleaning lady and is chased by the police; it was a cliffhanger for my little heart. In the end, an imposingly strong character called Badger appears. He is gruff and solitary, but brave and a skilled fighter. He fights against nasty weasels who occupy the toad's castle illegally and brings the hustle and bustle of riverbank life back to normal.


In the light of the above story, I propose three facets that make this tale relevant for children today. Firstly, all of its characters are animals which everybody knows and sees. The animals are universal characters for the young. Secondly, the animals have various characters, but nobody is perfect. They could be your mother, your uncle or yourself. Imperfection can draw our sympathy from all kinds of people. Finally, its speedy action scenes are also a huge draw for kids and adults alike. Different pacing can play the role of different spices in a delectable dish.


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