Monday, July 17, 2023

Summer Read Along - The Wind In The Willows
- Chapters 1 & 2


Today marks the beginning of our summer read along, The Wind in the Willows.  I've decided that rather than writing a review, I'm simply going to share snippets of my favorite quotes and passages from each chapter, and if you're reading along, you can either share your thoughts on this weeks chapters, or simply share your favorite quotes, as well.  This is in the spirit of S-L-O-W, by keeping things as simple as possible in this season. 

Being a life-long (now former) homeschooling family, I'm also going to share some lovely Willows resources that I've come across over the years, that you can either use if you homeschool, or even if you don't. I also apologize that I've become a bit lax about reposting resources at my homeschool blog. This past week was a busy one for our family, and on top of that I've been nursing a nasty UTI that turned into a kidney infection, so that has slowed me down a bit. But I'm feeling better now, so look for me here (and there) regularly this week. And with that, let's join Ratty and Mole as they make their way down the river, shall we?


"By the side of river he trotted, as one trots, when very small, by the side of a man who holds one spellbound by exciting stories, and when tired at last, he sat on the bank, while the river still chattered on to him, a babbling of the best stories in the whole world sent from the heart of the earth to be told at last to the unsatiable sea."

There are many creeks and rivers where we live, and this one, pictured right, is named, appropriately, Otter River. This is one of my favorite spots on the Parkway, and we visit here, often.

The sound of a babbling creek or river has long been a favorite of mine, but before reading this passage, I'd never imagined it as a story being carried from the heart of the earth and into the greater world and depths of the sea, but it is a beautiful thought, is it not? It's a thought I'm sure I'll not soon forget upon our many visits throughout the remainder of summer. It will lend a greater loveliness to our time there, I'm sure. When I look at this picture It's not hard at all to expect Ratty and Mole to pop up at any minute!


"It was indeed very compact and comfortable. Little sleeping bunks, a little table that folded up against the wall, a cooking stove, lockers, bookshelves, a bird cage with a bird in it; and pots and pans, jugs and kettles of every size and variety. 
"All complete!" said the Toad, triumphantly, pulling open a locker. "You see, biscuits, potted lobster, sardines - everything you can possibly want. Soda water here, baccy there, letter-paper, jam, cards and dominoes - you'll find", he continued, as they descended the steps again, "you'll find that nothing whatever has been forgotten, when we make our start this afternoon."
A few years ago my husband and I gutted the inside of a van and converted it into a camper with plans to take a few years and hit the open road ourselves. Unfortunately for me, I had some minor health issues arise after just a few months of travel that prevented me from making the full trip. But as it was primarily my husband's dream, he took the next year to do just that while I stayed happily at home and tended the hearth. Our youngest daughter lovingly deemed us, "Toot and Puddle", a favorite book and cartoon from her childhood wherein one pig, Toot, travels the world, and the other Puddle, remains at home. 

Because of that, this quote from Chapter 2 was my favorite, for the same could easily be said of our little van. Though without the luxury of a cook stove, we had a camp stove and two little bunks, and books, card games, a small pantry and even a refrigerator that held the makings of a humble feast which we enjoyed along the banks of many rivers. It was a lovely time that I will never forget, and we hope to make a few more, "shorter" trips in the coming months.

And so, for those of you who may be joining me, how are you enjoying the book so far?  Is this your first time reading it, or like me, a well loved family classic in your home?  What was your favorite part of the first two chapters? I'd love to hear from you, and until then, here are a few accompanying resources I thought I would share.

If you are enjoying the book, did you know it was a tv series? It was originally produced in the UK, and while I don't think it's still a part of their regular programming, Season 1 is on You Tube, and it looks lovely! I'm not sure how closely it follows the book, but I'm going to watch a few episodes this week and see what I think.

I also came across this lovely map that I wanted to share. The website I originally found it at is no longer active, but thankfully I had saved the image from years ago. I cleaned it up as best I could, and I think it looks pretty good. I have this same map inside my book, but it might be fun to print one out to reference as your reading, and especially fun for the littles in your life (or the little that still lives in you!) to color and enjoy!

Click on image to enlarge. Right click and save to your computer. Insert into document, print and enjoy!

And with that, I'm off to spend a little time by the river and in the mountains today! I hope your week is off to a lovely start, and I'll see you again soon!


Anonymous said...

This is a book I've always wanted to read, but never have, so I dug out a vintage copy I'd picked up long ago and am reading along with you!

In Chapter 1 I loved the description of the river, especially living on one myself, and I thought, "I'll always look at our river differently after reading this." My favorite part, at the end of their day, after Mole having capsized the boat, was the graciousness with which Rat responded. A very good lesson to me! My favorite quote, "When they got home, the Rat made a bright fire in the parlor, and planted Mole in an armchair in front of it, having fetched down a dressing gown and slippers for him, and told him river stories till suppertime." And, "Supper was a most cheerful meal; but very shortly afterwards a terribly sleepy Mole had to be escorted upstairs by his considerate host, to the best bedroom, where he soon laid his head on his pillow in great peace and contentment..."

In Chapter 2 I, too, loved the same description you quoted about the caravan. I can see how that really spoke to you, given your past experience! But I just loved how even though the caravan was a temporary home, how it had still been made so cozy and homey.

I'm really enjoying the book and had to limit myself to just reading the 2 chapters.


Kimberly Lottman said...

Pam! I am so glad you are joining in the fun! I had a hard time not reading ahead as well, but since I have at least two other books going at the same time, I think I can restrain myself! Ha Ha!

I loved Rat's gracious response to Mole as well, and I love the passage you shared! I had a hard time choosing and almost went with that one myself! It definitely casts a cozy scene, doesn't it?

Thanks again for joining in! I am already looking forward to hearing your thoughts on Chapter 3/4 next week! :)