The Wind in The Willows by Kenneth Grahame and Robert Ingpen

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The Wind in The Willows by Kenneth Grahame and Robert Ingpen

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: An abridged version of the children's classic with exquisite illustrations by Robert Ingpen.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 64 Date: October 2017
Publisher: Palazzo
ISBN: 978-1786751065

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Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows was one of the defining books of my childhood and more than sixty years after I first read the book I've just recently passed it onto another young reader. Since the book was first published in 1908 there have been some notable illustrators: Paul Bransom provided illustrations for the 1913 edition, Ernest H Shepard (perhaps better known for his illustrations of Winnie the Pooh) in 1933, Arthur Rackham (possibly the leading illustrator from the golden age of book illustration) in 1940 and Robert Ingpen who illustrated the centenary edition of The Wind in the Willows.

It's always been a story which provided endless opportunities for rich illustration: from the tales of the riverbank and the exploits of Ratty, Mole, Badger and Mr Toad through to the rather violent recapture of Toad Hall. Initially I was somewhat disappointed that this was an abridged version of the original book but I think the shortening has been achieved by omitting the independent short stories featuring Rat and Mole which appeared between the original chapters. They were a delight, but don't impact on the narrative arc of the story. Children might not get the original book, but so far as the story goes, they are not being short-changed.

Another area where they're definitely not being short changed is in the illustrations by Robert Ingpen. I read the story through, glancing at the illustrations and then went back just to spend some time looking at the pictures - and that took me longer than reading the story. They are glorious and definitely stood comparison with the illustrations in my edition - and they were by Rackham. Ingpen's pictures have great depth and reward study. My favourite is of Badger in his sett, wearing jim-jams and dressing gown, standing in front of a blazing fire whilst Ratty and Mole enjoy a warming drink: there is just so much detail, but the overall effect is very calming. There isn't a double-page spread without illustration and many have two or three. There's one picture which I must mention: it's a portrait of Ratty wearing patched jeans and an old sweater - and just one earring. It's perfect.

I must mention too the quality of this edition by Palazzo: it's exceptional and with a very reasonable cover price of £12.99. It's a large-format clothbound hardback which will stand a great deal of loving and - I hope - eventually be passed on to another generation. I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

We've also seen another edition of The wind in the Willows: this time illustrated by David Roberts.

Buy The Wind in The Willows by Kenneth Grahame and Robert Ingpen at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Wind in The Willows by Kenneth Grahame and Robert Ingpen at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Wind in The Willows by Kenneth Grahame and Robert Ingpen at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Wind in The Willows by Kenneth Grahame and Robert Ingpen at Amazon.com.


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