The Willows in Winter

by William Horwood

Other authorsPatrick Benson (Illustrator)
Hardcover, 1994

Call number




St Martins Pr (1994), Edition: 1st U.S. ed, 294 pages


The further escapades of four animal friends who live along a river in the English countryside--Toad, Mole, Rat, and Badger.

User reviews

LibraryThing member nieva21
Yes, I love this sequel. Precocious and curious about the unrevealed aspects of Mole, Otter, Rat, Toad, and Badger. My favorite page is p.102: "Mole remembered secret placid places in the summer of autumn, where bees buzzed and flies hovered, and blue and violet dragonflies flew, settled, and flew again...The sky was blue in parts, cloudy in others, so that once in a while the sun shown fleetingly on the island or more racing river and across the willows and meadows beyond. Mole looked for signs of life or someone to wave to, to show that he was alive and safe, but all was in vain." This is the crux of the issue here. I also feel that yes this is written for an advanced and intellectual child audience. The language, character development, and the nuances of the backdrop of the Wild Wood speaks to a child who would have a lot of reading experience. I love the illustrator and that he's one and the same who did Winnie the Pooh! Keep it in your library and re-read it for years and years!… (more)
LibraryThing member Osbaldistone
A sequel to "The Wind in the Willows"? Hooray!! Written 80 years later and by another author? Uhh...hmmm.

Horwood sets himself up as a target to Rat and Mole fans around the world by daring to imagine what might have happened to our dear friends after Kenneth Grahame's masterful classic draws to a close. I know it's not Grahame, but Horwood has done us all a great service with a book that treats Grahame's legacy with tenderness and love.

This sequel is clearly written by an author who knows and loves Grahame's classic, and the tales he spins ring true, like something Grahame might have thought up. The storytelling is truly very good, and does Grahame justice. It's not Grahame. Of course it's not. But I'm not sure anyone could have done a better job than Horwood in further exploration of the River Bank world.

You could enjoy this book without being familiar with TWITW, but I don't recommend it. There are enough references to events in the original, and Horwood assumes a passing familiarity with the main characters. But read this book. As with Grahame's work, Rat, Mole, Badger, Toad, and the others have much to teach us about friendship, loyalty, trust, bravery, and all of the other traits we all strive to exhibit, and wish for our children.

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LibraryThing member weeksc07
The original Wind in the Willows is one of my all time favorite stories and I really wanted to like this. But it just didn't measure up. I'm not sure exactly what was missing, it might have just been the knowledge that it wasn't written by Kenneth Grahame, but the entire time I was reading it I just didn't feel the magic of the original. There are specific complaints I have however. First, the original is a book of linked stories rather than just one, so if you wanted to, you could read them over the course of the year, coming back to it whenever you wanted. The Willows in Winter, however, is just one extended story that starts on page one, so the book is a complete experience in itself. I also hated how the author characterized Badger. He made the Badger seems like a feeble minded old man, despite constantly describing him as "wise." I will commend the author that Toad does seem to be alive and well as Grahame wrote him.… (more)
LibraryThing member unclebob53703
Read a review of this in (I think) the Chicago Tribune book section, and was very eager to get it. It's pretty good, though to compare it to the original is pointless. It's a strange comparison, but it made me think of Son of Kong, the sequel to King Kong. An order of magnitude less than the original, and lacking the sense of completeness. But it does one thing perfectly: It takes us back to the special world of the original, aided immeasurably by the wonderful illustrations of Patrick Benson, which are reminiscent of those of Ernest Shepard. I'm not sure the story would work without the pictures.… (more)
LibraryThing member Aspenhugger
"Here, at last, is thye stunning recreation of the much-loved world of Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows that we secretly all know we wanted, but never dared hope we might find ...

"For now, in an act of homage and celebration, William Horwood has brought to life once more the four most-loved characters in English literature: the loyal Mole, the resourceful Water Rat, the stern but wise Badger, and of course, the exasperating, irresistible Toad. Published in England in 1993, it was a resounding success, a bestseller for three months, and acclaimed as that rarest of literary treats -- a sequel truly worthy of the name.

"Since he was a child, William Horwood has known and loved The Wind in the Willows , but something at the end of the books has always worried him -- the idea that, as Grahame put it, 'He was indeed an altered Toad.'

"'Toad altered!' says Horwood, 'I didn't believe it then and I don't now, and I doubt if many millions of people who have enjoyed Grahame's book believe it either. Toad always seemed to me incorrigibly unaltered, and what I wanted to know was, 'What happened to him next?'

"The result is an enchanting, unforgettable new novel, enlivened by the delightful illustrations, in which William Horwood has recaptured all the joy, magic, and good humor of Grahame's great work -- and Toad is still as exasperatingly lovable as he ever was."
~~front & back flaps

I am one of the world's greatest The Wind in the Willows fans! I own several copies, and have the annotated version on my wish list. I was delighted to find this book, and dove eagerly into it. I wish I could put my finger on why I didn't love it as much as I do The Wind in the Willows. The illustrations are indeed lovely, and the book is beautifully laid out. But somehow the story seemed a bit thin, the characters not quite their old selves. It just didn't seem to have the depth and breadth that the original did. It wasn't bad, it just wasn't as good as I had hoped it would be. There are three more books by Horwood in this series, and I'll read them all, just in case I change my mind, or just in case they get better as he goes along.
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LibraryThing member mysterymax
Sequels by authors other than the original... so seldom do they hit the right note.

The Willows In Winter by William Horwood is one that does. Here are Badger, Mole, Otter, Rat and Toad just as we left them. Absolutely excellent! The drawings by Patrick Benson are as true as Shephard's. Can not get over how good it was in keeping true to the original Wind in the Willows.… (more)




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