My spouse tried to throw some cold water on my Moomin infatuation and challenged me to read "the good stuff", e.g. The Wind in the Willows
or Winnie The Pooh
. I have a vague recollection that The Wind in the Willows
wasn't read in my family when I was young. The family myth is that it was one of my father's favorite books, but that he tried reading it to my older brother when he was too young for it. So, my father didn't bother reading it to my sister and me when we came along. Interestingly, my older brother turned into an English major. You'd think he would have shown an appreciation of good literature at a very
I do have a vague recollection that I might have read this to my daughter, but I'm guessing that if I had, it was one of those "as told by" versions. Anyway, I'm a bit at a loss as to what to say. In some ways, I'm hard pressed to see this as a children's book because the writing is so beautiful, with vocabulary and imagery somewhat above the head of your average 11-year old. I might be selling 11-year olds short. It's been so long since I was one or since I had one living in my house. In another six years, I might again know what 11-year olds are like, but I'll also likely be descending into senility by the time my grandson turns 11. Also, he'll likely not be spending nearly so much time at our house by then (in part, we hope, because his father will likely no longer be living in our basement).
Anyway, this is an absolutely wonderful book. It begins with mole getting tired of spring cleaning and going off on a ramble across the fields. He reaches the river and meets up with a water rat. They become best friends. What ensues are a number of adventures involving a rather egotistical and foolish toad, a clever badger, an otter and a number of other creatures. The adventures are fun and the descriptions of the settings is lyrical. The subject matter is the stuff of kids' books, but the writing is pure gold for adults.