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The Wind in the Willows.

The Wind in the Willows

Kenneth Grahame, author

David Roberts, illustrator

Candlewick Press

99 Dover St., Somerville, MA 02144

9780763665265, $24.99,

Save the omission of one chapter, this is the same beloved story of Mole, Ratty, Toad and Badger that children have enjoyed for more than a century. New adaptions of a classic children's work are often about new art, and this is no exception. Roberts takes a more fanciful direction than the story's best-known previous illustrator, E.H. Shepherd in 1931. Gone are the earth-toned tweeds in which Shepherd famously dressed Toad, and Shepherd tendency toward natural hues. Roberts' palette is pointedly brighter; Frog is neon green from his knee-length knickers to the tip of his short-cropped hair. On his feet are pointy orange shoes topped by yellow socks; his bow tie and hands are also yellow. Mole is dressed in a simple black suit but what really stands out is the color of his face: purple. Ratty is donned in simple suspender pants and Badger is in simple black and white bottoms and a monochromatic purple cardigan. The illustrations also have a wonderfully comical and sharp-lined modern feel although some key elements, such as Toad's car, retain their early 20th Century essence. The decision to omit "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn," traditionally the book's seventh chapter in which Mole and Ratty search for the lost son of their friend, Otter, might be lamented by purists. On the flip side, however, it allows two chapters about Toad, originally bisected, to flow back to back. This may benefit young readers as it allows Toad's adventures to continue uninterrupted, rather than taking a poignant yet tangential sojourn. A beautiful new edition of a story that never grows old.

Karyn L. Saemann, Reviewer

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Title Annotation:Karyn's Bookshelf
Author:Saemann, Karyn L.
Publication:Reviewer's Bookwatch
Article Type:Book review
Date:Feb 1, 2014
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