Discover the world before The Wind in the Willows, the beloved classic by Kenneth Grahame--when the childhood adventures of best buds Ratty, Toady, Badger and Mole were just beginning! In this first tale, Archibald Toad the Third is used to having everything he wants to himself. So he's in for an unpleasant surprise when the new nanny brings her gentle son, Badger, to share in all that Toad Hall has to offer. Though Toady and Badger get off to a rocky start, they soon learn that having a true friend is worth a whole lot more than having all the toys in the world.
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Mary Jane Begin is the illustrator for several children's books including A Mouse Told His Mother by Bethany Roberts, Little Mouse's Painting by Diane Wolkstein, and The Porcupine Mouse by Bonnie Pryor. She has done advertising and merchandising work for Hasbro, Milton Bradley, See's Candies, Franklin Mint, Celestial Seasonings, Disney, and many other companies, and she is on the faculty at Rhode Island School of Design.From School Library Journal:
Kindergarten-Grade 3—This picture book is based on the characters in Kenneth Grahame's beloved The Wind in the Willows. In this story, Begin tells how, as children, Badger meets Toad when Badger's mother comes to Toad Hall as a nursemaid. At first, Toad is reluctant to share his toys and feels threatened by the newcomer. Then he accidentally breaks Badger's favorite toy, and he feels sorry about being so selfish. The tale, though sweet, is predictable and the moral is heavy-handed. It has none of the easy humor and descriptive beauty of Grahame's original language. A preface explains that the story is from one of Ratty's journals. Begin's illustrations are full of interesting detail, action, and color. Each page is nicely formatted, and the book is printed on good quality, cream-colored paper. Fans of the artist's work in The Wind in the Willows (Chronicle, 2002) will recognize her humorous painterly style. Devotees of that book may welcome this picture-book prequel. For others, it is of secondary interest.—Donna Cardon, Provo City Library, UT
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