Return to the Willows

Jacqueline Kelly, illus. by Clint Young. Holt, $19.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-8050-9413-8
“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a toad in possession of a fortune must be in want of adventure,” writes Kelly (The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate) in this sequel to Kenneth Grahame’s 1908 classic, The Wind in the Willows, in which she supplies a boatload of mayhem and mishaps for Mr. Toad and company. An “Animal of Action,” Toad has tired of messing about in boats and stealing motorcars. He sets his sights skyward with predictably disastrous results: a crash, a head injury, and a daring expedition to recover the lost aircraft culminate in a battle waged with birthday cake and baguettes (in place of swords). While Kelly’s story is more plot-driven than Grahame’s, she evokes an old-fashioned feel by retaining the original’s Britishisms, translated for American readers with explanatory footnotes (though most children could probably figure out that a jam roly-poly is a jelly roll without help). Newcomer Young’s artwork (not seen in color by PW) captures both the comedic aspects of the anthropomorphized cast and the serenity of the natural world in which they wreak their havoc. It’s an affectionate follow-up to a classic of children’s literature, one that succeeds on its own as a humorous and adventurous romp along the riverbank and into the Wild Wood. Ages 8–up. Agent: Marcy Posner, Folio Literary Management. Illustrator’s agent: Erin Murphy, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 07/16/2012
Release date: 10/30/2012
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Ebook - 288 pages - 978-1-4668-2193-4
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