Monday, August 03, 2009

The Wind in the Willows


"The Mole had been working hard all the morning, spring-cleaning his little home. First with brooms, then with dusters; then on ladders and steps and chairs, with a brush and a pail of whitewash; till he had dust in his throat and eyes, and splashes of whitewash all over his black fur, and an aching back and weary arms. Spring was moving in the air above and in the earth below, around even his dark and lowly little house, and suddenly he flung down his brush, said "Bother!" and "O blow!" and also "Hang spring-cleaning!" and bolted out of the house without even waiting to put on his coat. Making for the steep tunnel which answered in his case to the gravelled drive owned by animals whose residences are nearer to the sun and air, he scraped and scratched and scrabbled and scrooged, then he scrooged again and scrabbled and scraped, muttering, "Up we go! Up we go!" till at last...pop! his snout came out into the sunlight, and he found himself rolling in the warm grass of a great meadow. "
And thus begin 'The Wind in the Willows' by Kenneth Grahame.

Turn the Page Tuesday is hosted by Adrienne of Some of a Kind on the first Tuesday of every month. For July, Adrienne challenged us to read a classic of some sort. As I love the read one of the classics every now and again, this proved to be absolutely no problem for me. I actually had several on my "un-read" shelves to choose from. My brother, Joshua, had stayed with us for a time last spring and early summer. He is a book lover as well and during the course of his visit, he made several trips into the city, always with a stop at Powell's Books. On one of those trips, Joshua brought me back this beautiful version of The Wind in the Willows, which has been sitting here, beckoning to me since. Now, we have all, at some time or another, read pieces and parts of this classic children's story, but until now, I had never read the entire thing and what a story it is. Boy did I enjoy this and I am here to tell you that it is full of very adult issues, and sometimes even language.
I was surprised, and laughed right out loud, the first time I ran across the phrase silly ass in this story. In the first chapter, The River, Mole has dug his way from underground, as you have just read, to enjoy a moment or two in the fresh spring air. He goes for a walk and suddenly finds himself on the banks of a river where he meets a fellow by the name of Water Rat, or Ratty to his friends. Ratty invites Mole to partake in a picnic lunch with him and a leisurely cruise down the river on his boat. Mole happily agrees, but in no time gets a bit jealous of Ratty's rowing skills and decides to take over the oars while Ratty's attention is elsewhere, which results in the picnic basket and two friends being unceremoniously dumped into the drink. "Stop it, you silly ass!" cried the Rat from the bottom of the boat. "You'll have us over!" This is what Water Rat yelled at Mole in the moments of the struggle over the oars. I hee-hawed over that phrasing being in a children's book and was even more surprised to find it a handful more times throughout the adventures of these animal friends. Quite amusing.

During the course of this read, you will travel through some car theft, prison time, an escape from said prison, horse theft, squatters taking over Toad Hall, intervention, withdrawals, the planning of retaliation and more. It is such a fun read, and really so fresh for having been written in 1908. I absolutely love this edition and urge you to read it if you have not.

Don't forget to pop over to Some of a Kind to find out what every one else read this month.

Until next time, happy reading, and don't be such a silly ass!

6 comments:

Adrienne said...

that's so funny! I remember watching pinocchio with Henry and Lampwich looks at pinocchio and says "What do I look like ... a Jackass?" right as he is turning into a donkey - I nearly fell off the sofa - disney is supposed to be clean! ha!

Thanks for participating!

Paula said...

This is so funny!
I am going to have to read this book.
What a silly ass, not to have read it in the past.

jannza said...

Indeed, you do have a beautiful copy! What a nice gift from your brother and truly a classic.

Paige said...

Great review! I bet my son (and I!) would love this one.

Paula said...

Stacey, you are such a silly ass to log in as me! I wondered when I commented to myself. Don't remember doing that...

Mary said...

Paula,

It's been years since I read The Wind in the Willows and I'm not sure I read the entire thing. I will have to pick up a copy.

I've been doing a lot of reading, but nothing classic. It's time for a change.

Hope you're enjoying your summer.
Blessings,
Mary