The Wind and the Willows has been my favorite novel every since I first heard it read by my uncle. As a child it fascinated me. Disney's version, "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride," is a poor retelling of the story. It pays little attention to any of the major characters, other than Toad. In so doing it ignores most of the story. Graham has written a wonderful tale, which contains an amazing variety of adventures and moods. Mr. Toad's adventures aren't half of them, and they certainly are not the most pleasurable. (The Disneyland ride is pretty good in its own right though. How many children's rides include dying and going to hell? Not many I'd wager.)
As an adult this book fascinates me just as much as it did when I was a child. For some of the same reasons, but for many new reasons. This is a book that has as much in it for adults as it does for children, perhaps more. One of the most beautiful chapters, The Piper at the Dawn, mystified me as a child. Now it opens the doors of mystery. Furthermore, I can now really see the simple beauty of these animals pre-industrial lives, because I am no longer living my own simple child's life.