Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Golden Age & Kenneth Grahame

Have you ever read or seen the animated adaptions of the Wind in the Willows or The Willows in Winter? Did you know there is a third in this series called Toad Triumphant (and more)? These were once children's favorites, the light-hearted adventures of Ratty, Mole, Toad, and Badger. Most people now recognize the title but their only exposure is a cartoon they viewed in childhood (there are two wonderfully animated movies of the first two books - they are lovely, but there are some things in a book you just can't get in a movie).

Did you know that Kenneth Grahame, who only wrote the first in the trilogy also wrote other stories for children?

My favorite book that I've read of Grahame's is The Golden Age.

I have never found anyone else (not even my siblings!) who has read this gem of a book. The book's back cover simply states that it contains the tale of five children, including the unnamed sibling who recounts these tales, and their struggles to have adventures despite their aggravating grown-up uncles and aunts.


I always have beef with books' back covers because they never explain properly.

(but that is an entirely different post)

The Golden Age is REALLY about a young boy (the unnamed narrator) and his siblings living in the golden age of childhood, and what it's like watching your older siblings grow up to be just like you never said you'd be. It is exquisite, artistic, and full of references of a bygone era that probably no one would understand - because of my history nerdness I got one or two of them but I can't understand Greek so that reference is lost to me.

If you ever read it, pay close attention to the chapter "The Knight's Road". It's my favorite.

The only other person who enjoys these tales is my friend Elise, who begs me to read them aloud to her when I visit. They are really for reading aloud as each chapter is its own story.

I wish I could animate THIS book. It's so beautiful.

Kenneth Grahame has also written:

The Wind in the Willows
Dream Days (including The Reluctant Dragon)
Pagan Papers

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