Do you feel as though you’re always looking for a good book for your child to read?
I really do. I rely a lot on recommendations from friends, online book lists and books like Gladys Hunt’s Honey for a Child’s Heart. I am loving being a part of the Poppins Book Nook, because it’s encouraging me to step outside my normal go-tos to find books for our family to read aloud together. This month, I narrowed the theme (Planes, Trains and Automobiles) down to automobiles and couldn’t decide between Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows and Ian Fleming’s (yes, the same man who wrote the James Bond books) Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. The first is already finished, but we’ve only started the second one. So I’ll be sharing with you about The Wind in the Willows today!
I can’t believe it took me all of my life, until now, to read Kenneth Grahame’s classic book. I think I needed to wait until I had a son to be able to fully appreciate it! The Wind in the Willows is the story of anthropomorphic English animals and their adventures underground and above-ground; in burrows, in the river, on roads, in their homes and even in prison! The four strikingly different animal friends are:
- Mole–cautious, faithful and happy
- Ratty (a water rat)–a water enthusiast who’s also a poet
- Toad–the friendly, wealthy, impulsive owner of Toad Hall
- Mr. Badger–the sensible, wise and shrewd hermit who’s a great commander
You may be wondering how this book fits into the category of “Planes, Trains and Automobiles!” Toad is VERY prone to falling prey to the newest fads and, once he has developed an interest in them, they are ALL that occupy his mind and attentions….at least, until the next one comes along. Boats….gipsy (that’s British English for you—we Americans would write that word as “gypsy”) caravans….cars…..Toad focuses on each of these, one by one, but it’s the last one that gets him into big trouble and his friends into a rescue.
The Wind in the Willows is a very entertaining book; written beautifully by Englishman Grahame. (You’ll especially like this if if you’re fond of an English turn of phrase!) It’s probably best used as a read-aloud, and the animals’ adventures, Toad’s escapades, and his friends’ efforts to civilize him and help him to make wiser choices will provide great fodder for family discussions. There is only one rather odd note in the book; it is a scene where one of the animals meets Pan. It is rather worshipful. I was pretty excited when I first began the chapter, but when it became clear to me who was being worshiped I was a bit disappointed. (I think that this is a nod to the classical education most Englishmen of that era received.) The rest of it is SO good, and will, I think, be a wonderful reading experience. The Kindle version of the book is free on Amazon, but if you don’t own the book already, I’d recommend you check at your local library first. As you can imagine, there are some beautifully illustrated versions available, such as:
- The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame, illustrated by Inga Moore
- The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame, illustrated by David Roberts
- The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame, illustrated by Michael Hague
Here are some fun activities to do with your children, as you read The Wind in the Willows!
- Design a “gipsy caravan” like Toad’s. What would it look like on the outside, and the inside? Include bunks for your family, storage areas and a kitchen. Plan a trip to take together in your caravan, and imagine all the things your family would need to pack for a two-week trip together. Where will you go?
- Learn about the habitats of some of these animals. Where would Mole, Badger, Toad and Water Rat live? What would they eat? Do they hibernate during the winter or are they up and about all year round? Kenneth Grahame beautifully brings to life the subject of hibernation as it touches his animal characters.
- Write an epilogue to The Wind in the Willows. What happens next to our 4 animal friends…or to the weasels and stoats kicked out of Toad Hall? What is coming in the adventure? Has Toad learned his lesson, or is there another obsession to come? (Imagine if he discovered airplanes!)
- Plan a picnic! The animals’ picnic has quite an interesting menu (“cold tongue, cold ham, cold beef, pickled gherkins, salad, french rolls, cress sandwiches, potted meat, ginger beer, lemonade…”) but one that’s probably quite different from what we’d pack to eat! Plan a picnic lunch near a river or creek (if you’ve got one nearby) and spend the afternoon observing nature or reading aloud outside…..AFTER your delicious lunch, that is!
As always, Jill of Enchanted Homeschooling Mom has planned another wonderful giveaway drawing for one lucky reader of the Poppins Book Nook series!
Poppins Book Nook Giveaway! Every month the Poppins Book Nook group will be offering
readers a chance to win a brand new storybook or product that ties in with our theme for the month. This month one lucky entrant will win a Fort Magic Kit! With Fort Magic you can bring all of the planes, trains, automobiles, and anything else your child can think of from your storybooks to life to interact with, play with, and make reading fun. The possibilities are only limited by your child’s imagination. Jump into a world of books today with Fort Magic! You can read a review of Fort Magic HERE.
The winner must reside within the United States. This giveaway is brought to you by the company Enchanted Homeschooling Mom who is owner and founder of the Poppins Book Nook, in partnership with the Fort Magic. By entering this giveaway you are also acknowledging that you have read and agree to all of the Rafflecopter terms & conditions as well as Enchanted Homeschooling Mom’s disclosures found here (http://enchantedhomeschoolingmom.org/disclosures/}. Just enter the Rafflecopter below to win:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Here are the links to my fellow Poppins Book Nook co-hosts, who have all posted reviews and activities for the books their families read from this month’s category: “Planes, Trains and Automobiles.” I know you’ll enjoy reading more about the amazing books they found!
Enchanted Homeschooling Mom ~ 3 Dinosaurs ~ To the Moon and Back ~ Planet Smarty Pants ~ Farm Fresh Adventures ~ Growing in God’s Grace ~ Chestnut Grove Academy ~ Learning and Growing the Piwi Way ~ The Usual Mayhem~ Preschool Powol Packets ~ Monsters Ed Homeschool Academy ~ Adventures in Mommydom ~ Teach Beside Me ~ Life with Moore Babies ~ Kathy’s Cluttered Mind ~ Are We There Yet? ~ Our Crafts N Things ~ Hopkins Homeschool ~ ABC Creative Learning ~ Joy Focused Learning ~ P is for Preschooler ~ Laugh and Learn ~ A Mommy’s Adventures ~ Inspiring 2 New Hampshire Children ~ World for Learning ~ Ever After in the Woods ~ Golden Grasses ~ Our Simple Kinda Life ~ A glimpse of our life ~ Journey to Excellence ~ Happy Little Homemaker ~ Little Homeschool Blessings ~ Simplicity Breeds Happiness ~ Raventhreads ~ Water on the Floor ~ Learning Fundamentals ~ Tots and Me ~ As We Walk Along The Road ~ Stir the Wonder ~ For This Season ~ Where Imagination Grows ~ Lextin Academy ~ The Canadian Homeschooler ~ School Time Snippets ~ Peakle Pie ~ Mom’s Heart ~ A Moment in our World ~ Every Bed of Roses ~ Finchnwren ~ At Home Where Life Happens ~ Suncoast Momma ~ The Library Adventure ~ Embracing Destiny ~ Day by Day in our World ~ Our Homeschool Studio ~ A “Peace” of Mind ~ Thou Shall Not Whine ~ SAHM I am ~ eLeMeNo-P Kids ~ Simple Living Mama
And be sure to join us next month, for another wonderful Poppins Book Nook virtual book club!