The Wind in the Willows
by Kenneth Grahame
Somewhere alongside a river lives a Water Rat and a Mole, two friends who take pleasure in the simple things, like taking a ride in Ratty's boat and having a picnic. Their friends Toad, Otter and Badger, living near the river and in the Wide Wood, join them in various adventures throughout the seasons.
Somehow, when I was young and reading The Chronicles Narnia and all the Thornton W. Burgess tales, I missed this children's classic featuring Mole and the Water Rat, pompous old Toad and the sturdy Badger. I would have loved it as a child, but I still enjoyed it as an adult. I especially loved Toad, his faddish delights and mood swings from deepest despair to puffed up self-display. This was a truly charming read, by turns familiar (due to a movie I saw as a child) and new. The episodic chapters and long, meandering sentences lend themselves to a read-aloud.