Reviews provided by Syndetics
Library Journal Review
Originally published in France in 1996, this edition collects the four corresponding English-language volumes that were first issued between 1997 and 2002 by NBM. Plessix's style has been called "detailed impressionism," and the limpid watercolors of his lavish adaptation give that "Somewhere Else" quality to the classic story--2008 is the 100th anniversary of Graham's novel. So many adaptations have so little space to work in that they seem more like CliffsNotes versions. But Plessix has truly adapted the tale with most of the narrative details intact--and a few new twists at the end. And while the anthropomorphic animal characters have a cute, cartoony quality, the overall effect of a timeless, golden world is not thereby disrupted; all the looniness and love of nature from the original come through beautifully. Somehow the world of Mole and his friends suggests an animal Hobbiton in a Ring-less alternative universe, where talking animals and humans coexist amid a gloriously bucolic world of water, woods, and fields based on preindustrial rural England. Unfortunately, the pages are a little too small to showcase the details of Plessix's lush art as it deserves. For all ages.--M.C. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Review
Michael Hague illustrates three collections of time-proven tales. Originally published in 1910, Old Mother West Wind by Thornton W. Burgess introduces a group of enchanting woodland creatures, the Merry Little Breezes, Reddy Fox and Tommy Trout among them, to a new generation of readers. Michael Hague's Favorite Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales offers nine classic stories including The Snow Queen, Thumbelina and The Little Mermaid, all adapted by Jane Woodward. And lastly, Hague portrays the lush habitat of Toad, Mole, Rat and Badger in Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows. The handsomely designed oversize volumes present Hague's artwork in framed spreads and spot illustrations, just right for lap reading. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
School Library Journal Review
Gr 1-4-Grahame's early-20th-century classic is enhanced by lovely watercolor illustrations that provide a contemporary and packed-with-charisma accompaniment. The anthropomorphized characters, all fashionably turned out in Edwardian costume, are vivified with expressive facial features and twinkling eyes. Detailed settings range from Ratty's cozy and colorfully decorated waterside home to the elegant grandeur of Toad Hall to Mole's understated tunnel-shaped abode. The beautifully composed outdoor scenes sparkle with season-appropriate hues: a springtime rowing jaunt down a sunlit river is framed by trailing willow trees, and a wintertime excursion into the Wild Wood is evoked with lavender skies, intertwined tree barks in swirling grays, and an overlay of heavy white snowflakes. In addition to the geometric drawings that embellish each chapter title, designs made from bold shapes and bright constrasting colors appear throughout, adding an Art Deco flair. Ranging from small vignettes to full-bleed double pages, the artwork embellishes almost every spread, engaging independent readers and reeling in younger listeners with entertaining antics, gentle humor, and genial affection.-Joy Fleishhacker, School Library Journal (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
A century ago, an Edwardian banker told his son stories that eventually became a beloved children's book--The Wind in the Willows, which tells of Rat and Mole, Toad and Badger, and their pastoral idylls. Now Lerer (Univ. of California, San Diego) provides fresh ways of understanding this classic. In an extended introduction, he locates The Wind in the Willows in the trajectory of Grahame's other literary works and in the context of the novel's late Victorian social setting. Lerer's compelling, beautifully written annotations (on virtually each page) provide the "backstory" of words like "piebald" and "antimacassar"; information on the tradition of animal fables; and details about Charles Darwin, Victorian homes and furniture, British law, birds, plants, boating terminology, myths, fairy tales, and much more. Lerer also traces intertextual allusions to the Romantic poets, John Ruskin, Shakespeare, and Gilbert and Sullivan. And in his afterword he illuminates the way in which illustrations of the text over the past century serve as "forms of response: critical, interpretive acts that reframe a literary work into a particular time, place, and sensibility." This lavish edition, with its bamboo endpapers and 37 illustrations (23 in color), will delight bibliophiles and indeed everyone who encounters it. Summing Up: Essential. All readers. E. R. Baer Gustavus Adolphus College
Gr. 4-6. In spirit, in style, and in technique, Benson's illustrations for The Wind in the Willows are first cousins to the book's original ink drawings by Ernest H. Shepard, which many consider so nearly perfect any new artwork is superfluous. However, from the endpaper maps to the quiet scenes of woods and riverbanks to the comical pictures of Toad's adventures, Benson's sensitive cross-hatched drawings offer excellent interpretations of characters and events. The best choice for any library would be to add this to the collection and let children choose the version that suits them. If they come across the other editions later, it will be like looking through a cousin's photos of a long-ago family reunion: so familiar and so full of beloved characters, yet seen from a slightly different perspective. Any way you look at it, this new edition will be treasured. (Reviewed Feb. 1, 1996)0312136242Carolyn Phelan
Horn Book Review
Although these picture-book adaptations manage to provide choppy summaries of the plots, they pare down the stories to such a great extent that little of the charm of the originals remains. [cf2]Little Women[cf1] is the least successful adaptation, due to the largely episodic structure of Alcott's story. Adequate illustrations accompany the texts. From HORN BOOK Fall 2001, (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Book Review
Many famous artists have interpreted the antics and adventures of Mole, Ratty, Toad and Badger. Roberts takes a decidedly modern approach in this gift edition sure to appeal to another generation of readers. From the glimmer of silver-foiled lettering on the front cover to the full-color illustrations liberally dispersed throughout, readers of all ages can fully immerse themselves in Grahame's settings. Images executed in watercolor, ink, pen and pencil perfectly convey the postures of a distraught Mole or a momentarily contrite Toad, while the backgrounds impress with a range of seasons and circumstances. Washes of a dominant color are given fine details and highlights with touches of contrasting color, as when cool, frosty blues give way to a circle of white that glows around a young mouse choir, all snuggled in their vibrant orange-red scarves, as they sing carols. Humor abounds. Giggles will erupt at the picture of Toad alarmed and upside down, with the birds at the bottom of the page and the grassy bank slanting at the top. The variety of full-page, double-page and spot illustrations keeps the experience lively. Although purists may quibble at the omission of the chapter "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn," those new to the book will not miss it (but may inquire who the mischievous boy--the Greek god Pan--is that appears on a few pages). All told, an elegantly designed volume ready to take its rightful place on any child's bookshelf. (Fantasy. All ages)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.