Monday, August 11, 2008

Children's Classics

Time for the first official Chldren's Classics on 5 Minutes for Books .

I've chosen the book The Wind in the Willows to discuss this month. I don't remember reading this book when I was younger, but "discovering" it about 10 years ago. I loved it! The characters are amazing and well-developed for a children's chapter book. I think kids will identify with the animal aspect of this book wherein our main characters, Rat, Mole, Badger and Toad, find adventures along the riverbank. Likewise, adults will appreciate the personalities of the animals and how they work together. It's a great classic tale.

I took the following poll to find out which character I am and this is the result I got:

Which Wind in the Willows character are you?

this quiz was made by Auntie Krizu(:>)

I don't agree with it. HA! I identify more with the Water Rat who knows more of his own mind and isn't so easily swayed by the opinions and personalities of others. I love his passion for the things he loved:

(Upon being asked by Mole if boating is nice. . .)

"Nice? It's the only thing," said the Water Rat solemnly, as he leant forward for his stroke. "Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as siply messing about in boats. Simply messing," he went on dreamily . . ." (page 22)

For the sake of this particular quiz though, I'm not into boating and answering all the questions honestly put me in the Mole category. Oh well.

During a quick re-read of this book, I was kinda surprised at the use of some of the language inside. I think this is a great book but beware (esp. if you are reading it out loud) that they do use the word "ass" with some regularity. Everyone has their own comfort levels and mine would prevent me from using that particular word. When I read it to my children (which I most certainly will do!) I will gloss over that word and pretend it doesn't exist in true ostrich form. It isn't a word that is going to make me avoid sharing this story with my young progeny when the time comes to do so.

The Wind in the Willows was first published in 1908 and was written by Kenneth Graham. In 1993 an author by the name of William Horwood came along and published a sequel entitled The Willows in Winter. Eventually Horwood made the books a series with the following titles being released: Toad Triumphant (1995), The Willows and Beyond (1996) and The Willows at Christmas (1998). With the exception of The Willows at Christmas (which was rather bad, in my opinion) the rest of the books hold to the spirit of Grahame's original creation. I highly recommend them as fun reads. None of them form any conclusions on the characters (to the best of my memory and knowledge) but continue the adventures of the characters we've grown to know and love over time. They are fabulous! I eventually bought the whole set as illustrated by Patrick Benson and love them very much.

A great original book followed by a great follow up series. It's hard to go wrong with these. Just read and enjoy!


Stephanie Kay said...

I don't think I've ever read this book but it sounds vaguely familiar. I saw it at the library this week and almost brought it home to read aloud with my 5 yr old.

Thanks for the warning about "ass." I would also skip over it. Mainly because if I didn't he'd probably start using it. Don't kids always do that? Or is that just mine? = )

Anonymous said...

I am familiar with this book, but I haven't read it. I will have to check it out. I know the "a" word didn't have the same meaning in 1908, but I would definitely skip that word too!

Unknown said...

I remember reading this as a child, but I don't recall the bad word, just the characters. Great post, love the quiz. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I have fond memories of this book. My dad read it aloud to my 4th grade class. He did different voices for each character as he read, and everyone loved it!

Anonymous said...

I think I read this one as a child. I just remember the one character wanted a car.

Anonymous said...

oh my goodness, how have I never read this book?? Oh right, the baby sitters club... regardless, totally just added this to my to read list on goodreads, and just as soon as I finish "lost in a good book" "pride and prejudice" "the last lecture" "rumors" "eat pray love" "quet" "deja dead" and aww crap... I hope I read it!

Anonymous said...

We had to read this one as a part of 6th grade literature so I got to re-read it year after year when I was teaching! I loved it! And I enjoyed making it fun for the kids! We did all sorts of activities with it! What a great classic! :D

Anonymous said...

I definitely just found a segment from Wind in the Willows in a little 101 stories for children anthology in my son's room, and then totally read it to him before his nap - the poor little 2 year old looked very confused but enjoyed seeing me read so happily. :) And now I'm hooked - haha - also did not come across the word "ass" in this segment, so no worries there.

Unknown said...

I almost wrote about your favorite "Freddy" books, but they have some interesting language too. Even "idiot" and "stupid" are not really acceptable for a kid anymore (and that's probably okay), so when I've read aloud, I change those words too!

I don't think I've read this one either, but I'm Moley too.

Sarah M. said...

Funny, I've never had this book read to me and I've never read it myself, but recently I came upon it and bought a copy so I could read it this year. Thanks for your thoughts about this book. :)

Alison said...

Another similar book you might enjoy is Adventures in the Big Thicket by Ken Gire. Originally published in 1990 and probably out of print, it might be hard to find, but very worth it. It is a collection of hilarious stories about a group of small animals living in the bayou in East Texas. Each story concludes with some Bible verse. I still remember my mom reading this book out loud to all of us kids at lunch time. We all loved it.

crystal said...

I love Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb & so does my son! I also enjoyed reading Holes with my class a few years ago. Thanks!
ericbrooks75 AT yahoo DOT com

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