The Wind In The Willows

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Beth and Chrissi Do Kid-Lit 2014 – The Round Up

Published January 11, 2015 by bibliobeth

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2014 was the second year that Chrissi and I rolled out our Kid-Lit challenge. Again, it was a really fun thing to do which we both thoroughly enjoyed. Please see below for the links to my reviews and check out Chrissi’s blog HERE for her fabulous reviews.

JANUARY – Aesop’s Fables by Aesop

FEBRUARY – Through The Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There – Lewis Carroll

MARCH – Little Women – Louisa May Alcott

APRIL – The Magician’s Nephew – C.S. Lewis

MAY – Peter Pan – J.M. Barrie

JUNE – The Wind In The Willows – Kenneth Grahame

JULY – The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz – L. Frank Baum

AUGUST – The Swiss Family Robinson – Johann Wyss

SEPTEMBER – Swallows And Amazons – Arthur Ransome

OCTOBER – Anne of Green Gables – L.M. Montgomery

NOVEMBER – White Fang – Jack London

DECEMBER – The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett

So, in the style of the “Talking About…” reviews we normally do, we thought we’d answer a quick few questions about our second year of blogging in Kid-Lit.

1) What was your favourite Kid-Lit book of 2014 and why?
BETH: I am totally torn between three… Little Women, Anne of Green Gables and The Secret Garden. I was delighted to find that I loved all three as an adult as much (if not more) than I loved them as a child. Little Women is an undeniable classic, Anne is just one of those characters you completely fall in love with and I love the style of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s storytelling.
CHRISSI: Little Women. When Little Women is an option out of books, I’m always going to mention it. Oh yes!
2) What was your least favourite Kid-Lit book of 2014 and why?
BETH: I think it would have to be The Swiss Family Robinson I’m afraid. I was bitterly disappointed with this book and expected so much more from it. Some passages sent me into complete boredom and it felt slightly too “preachy” for my liking.
CHRISSI: I’m the same as Beth for this answer. Unfortunately I found The Swiss Family Robinson DIRE! Such a shame.
3) What was the Kid-Lit book that surprised you the most?
BETH: Perhaps The Magician’s Nephew. This was one of my old favourites from childhood (along with the rest of the Narnia series) and there were whole parts of the story that I had forgotten so it was exciting to re-read and remember them all over again.
CHRISSI: Anne of Green Gables. I hadn’t read it prior to this challenge and I was surprised at how charming it was.
4) Have you been inspired to read any other books from a Kid-Lit author of 2013?
BETH: Once again, the writing of Frances Hodgson Burnett has made me long to read another of her books – perhaps we can put her on the list for 2016 Chrissi? Otherwise, I think I’m definitely going to read The Making Of A Marchioness this year.
CHRISSI: Oh yes. Let’s read more of Frances Hodgson Burnett! ❤

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Beth and Chrissi do Kid-Lit 2014 – JUNE READ – The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

Published June 30, 2014 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

Meet little Mole, willful Ratty, Badger the perennial bachelor, and petulant Toad. In the one hundred years since their first appearance in 1908, they’ve become emblematic archetypes of eccentricity, folly, and friendship. And their misadventures-in gypsy caravans, stolen sports cars, and their Wild Wood-continue to capture readers’ imaginations and warm their hearts long after they grow up. Begun as a series of letters from Kenneth Grahame to his son, The Wind in the Willows is a timeless tale of animal cunning and human camaraderie.

What did I think?:

Upon beginning The Wind in the Willows, I was instantly familiar with the stories of Toad and the gang, and I was trying to remember if I had read it previously as a child. Then my sister Chrissi reminded me that when we were younger I used to have a beautiful hardback edition of the book complete with illustrations, that I was delighted to also find on my Kindle edition as an adult. Kenneth Grahame was a Scottish author, most famous for The Wind in the Willows which became a classic of children’s literature. It was interesting to read that he based the headstrong character of Mr Toad upon the personality of his own son, Alistair.

The book begins by introducing us to Mole, who is carrying out some essential maintenance of his underground home. Whitewashing the walls soon becomes a bit of a bore however and he heads up to the surface, which is when he meets the second of our main characters, the Water Rat, or more affectionately Ratty, as he comes to be known. The two soon become fast friends, with Ratty teaching Mole all about his home, the river, and how to row a boat. Ratty also tells Mole about his other friend, Mr Badger, quite a reclusive, mysterious character who doesn’t come out or entertain all that much and lives in the eerie-sounding Wild Woods. Mole’s curiosity about the old Badger exceeds his trepidation over the Wild Woods and he sets out one day to try and find Badger, unfortunately getting lost and becoming incredibly terrified along the way, until his reliable friend Ratty comes to save him. The nice part about this adventure is that even though the friends become stuck in a snow storm they do end up finding Mr Badger’s home and the kind gentleman offers to house them until the weather improves.

Most of the other adventures in this book involve our last main character, Mr Toad. And what a character he is! He is brash, excitable and boastful, and also tends to become fixated on a certain activity, even if it gets him into trouble along the way. This is certainly true when he decides that owning a motor car would be the best thing in the world, even if it ends up landing him in jail. He cries and wails and refuses to eat, but doesn’t remain down for long, when he realises that by disguising himself as a washer woman he can escape jail and return to his beloved Toad Hall. He crows and boasts to his friends about his incredible escape, until he realises that in his absence, a group of stoats and weasels have taken over his home. Well, its Mole, Badger and Ratty to the rescue as they work out a plan to remove the unwelcome guests and perhaps produce a humbler, more thankful Toad in their efforts.

As I was reading this book as an adult, I was trying to remember my thoughts of it as a child, and funnily enough, they haven’t really changed. My favourite character still happens to be the loveable Mole, fiercely loyal to his friends, brave and adventurous when they need him most. As for Mr Toad, I remember really disliking him as a child, although I found him amusing, and this opinion hasn’t really changed, although as an adult I appreciate the message the author was trying to get across with this character. One of the things I loved most about this book though was the illustrations, which are absolutely beautiful and really make this story something special. This book was first published in 1908, yet I think it is still a timeless piece of children’s literature that can still be enjoyed today. We have some wonderful characters (animals that talk, always a bonus!), a few morals, and some life lessons all bundled up as an exciting and quite sweet story about the importance of our friends.

Please check out Chrissi’s fabulous review on her blog HERE.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

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Illustration by Paul Bransom from The Project Gutenberg ebook

WWW Wednesday #46

Published June 25, 2014 by bibliobeth

WWW Wednesdays is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Click on the image to get to her blog!

Welcome to another WWW Wednesday, and thanks as ever to MizB for hosting.

To join in you need to answer 3 questions..

•What are you currently reading?

•What did you recently finish reading?

•What do you think you’ll read next?

Click on the book covers to take you to a link to find out more!

What are you currently reading?:

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This is another one of my June 2014 Chrissi Cupboard reads and I’m absolutely loving it. Kind of Cinderella meets Memoirs of A Geisha. Should be finished it by the end of today!

What did you recently finish reading?:

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Yes, I love my fairy tales! This one is another Chrissi Cupboard book and a bit of a darker look at the story of Alice in Wonderland for the modern age. And very good it was too.

What do you think you’ll read next?:

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Next up for me is my June Kid-Lit read with Chrissi Reads, The Wind In The Willows. I’m loving this cover art as well.

What are you reading this Wednesday? Please leave your link and I’ll come pay you a visit! Happy reading everyone!

 

Beth and Chrissi do Kid-Lit – the titles for 2014

Published January 9, 2014 by bibliobeth

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Beth and Chrissi do Kid-Lit is a monthly feature I began with my sister and fellow blogger Chrissi Reads last year. We both chose six books each to represent the twelve months of the year and resolved to read and review one a month. We enjoyed doing it so much last year that we wanted to carry on the challenge for 2014, so without any further ado, here are the twelve lucky titles!

JANUARY – Aesop’s Fables by Aesop

FEBRUARY – Through The Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There – Lewis Carroll

MARCH – Little Women – Louisa May Alcott

APRIL – The Magician’s Nephew – C.S. Lewis

MAY – Peter Pan – J.M. Barrie

JUNE – The Wind In The Willows – Kenneth Grahame

JULY – The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz – L. Frank Baum

AUGUST – The Swiss Family Robinson – Johann Wyss

SEPTEMBER – Swallows And Amazons – Arthur Ransome

OCTOBER – Anne of Green Gables – L.M. Montgomery

NOVEMBER – White Fang – Jack London

DECEMBER – The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett