What began as a series of bedtime stories for the author’s son Alistair, was published in 1908 and became one of the most beloved children’s books of all time. Kenneth Grahame (1859-1932) was born in Scotland. He wrote the book while working as a secretary in the Bank of England. He wrote only three other books, one of essays and two collections of short stories. The setting of The Wind in the Willows is the English countryside. The book is all about the delightful adventures of four animal friends: Rat, Mole, Badger and the crazy Mr. Toad of Toad Hall who live beside a river overhung by willow trees. Even though they dress and speak like humans, they also display their unique animal characteristics. The story tells of the struggle between the noisy inhabitants of the river — the stoats and the weasels and the quieter, more cultured animals on the river bank — badger, mole, rat and toad.
The Wind in the Willows was made into an animated movie and a musical for the stage.
An excerpt from the chapter The River Bank:
”And you really live by the river? What a jolly life!”
”By it and with it and on it and in it,” said the Rat. “It’s brother and sister to me, and aunts, and company, and food and drink, and (naturally) washing. It’s my world, and I don’t want any other. What it hasn’t got is not worth having, and what it doesn’t know is not worth knowing.”