Age Range: 4 to 6
The retelling of The Wind in the Willows is one of a range of classic stories that have been published by Usborne as picture books. I love the idea of introducing young children to classic stories in a picture book format and it is also great for me to read the ones I may have missed (or forgotten!).
The Story: Toad, Ratty and Mole are having a leisurely ride in Toad’s caravan when a car races past. From that moment Toad becomes obsessed with owning and driving cars (which he subsequently crashes). Toad, Mole and their friend Badger confiscate Toad’s car keys and lock him inside Toad Hall but Toad escapes, steals and crashes another car and ends up in prison. After escaping prison Toad finds that stoats and weasels have moved into Toad Hall but after entering through a secret tunnel Toad, Rat, Mole and Badger manage to banish the intruders before celebrating with a party.
Lesley Sims has captured all of the important incidences in The Wind in the Willows and produced an easily readable text which is printed in a lovely font. She has also included words which may now be considered old fashioned e.g. scoundrel, villain and this authenticates the story for me but also introduces my daughter to new vocabulary. Mauro Evangelista’s lovely watercolour illustrations also capture the mood of the era in which the original was written, the characters are all dressed in plus fours and the cars are vintage. My daughter finds Toad’s antics funny (she is fascinated by the picture of him dressed as a washerwoman!) and even if she never reads the original version (although I hope she will!) the picture book has introduced her to the story.
You can see more of the titles in this series on the Usborne website.
Author: Lesley Sims / Illustrator: Mauro Evangelista