Kenneth Graham (1859-1932) was born in Edinburgh, but grew up with relatives in Berkshire where he developed his love for the countryside surrounding the upper parts of the River Thames. He was educated at St Edward's in Oxford, but instead of going on to Oxford University he joined the Bank of England, where he rose to become Secretary. He wrote several books including The Golden Age and Dream Days which includes the short story 'The Reluctant Dragon' (later made into a Disney movie). Kenneth Grahame developed the character of Toad in The Wind in the Willows to amuse his young son, Alistair. It was published in 1908 and still remains a best-loved children's classic.
Michael Hague illustrates three collections of time-proven tales. Originally published in 1910, Old Mother West Wind by Thornton W. Burgess introduces a group of enchanting woodland creatures, the Merry Little Breezes, Reddy Fox and Tommy Trout among them, to a new generation of readers. Michael Hague's Favorite Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales offers nine classic stories including The Snow Queen, Thumbelina and The Little Mermaid, all adapted by Jane Woodward. And lastly, Hague portrays the lush habitat of Toad, Mole, Rat and Badger in Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows. The handsomely designed oversize volumes present Hague's artwork in framed spreads and spot illustrations, just right for lap reading. (Apr.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Gr 3-5-Stout-hearted Dorothy, dashing but naive D'Artagnan, and feckless Toad are introduced to young graphic-novel enthusiasts. Each book is a serviceable representation of the original work, hitting all relevant plot points in a somewhat rigidly paced 70 to 100 pages. Occasional anachronisms are jarring (D'Artagnan asks, "Are you okay?"). Unfortunately, the pages in Oz suffer from serious overcrowding: detail-heavy panels are arranged in an overlapping layout with no gutters between panels, making the book visually dense. Colors glare and characters appear stiff. Eric Shanower's graphic-novel edition of the same book (Marvel Classics) is easier on the eyes. Musketeers is drawn in a sharper-edged but still goofy style that emphasizes the humor in every scene. Willows is illustrated in an exaggerated cartoon style, with pop-eyed, loose-limbed characters that are a sharp contrast to depictions in other recent illustrated editions by artists such as Robert Ingpen, Luanne Rice, and Inga Moore. No library should be without these classics, but these adaptations may not be the best ones to choose.-Paula Willey, Baltimore County Public Library, Towson, MD (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Originally published in France in 1996, this edition collects the four corresponding English-language volumes that were first issued between 1997 and 2002 by NBM. Plessix's style has been called "detailed impressionism," and the limpid watercolors of his lavish adaptation give that "Somewhere Else" quality to the classic story--2008 is the 100th anniversary of Graham's novel. So many adaptations have so little space to work in that they seem more like CliffsNotes versions. But Plessix has truly adapted the tale with most of the narrative details intact--and a few new twists at the end. And while the anthropomorphic animal characters have a cute, cartoony quality, the overall effect of a timeless, golden world is not thereby disrupted; all the looniness and love of nature from the original come through beautifully. Somehow the world of Mole and his friends suggests an animal Hobbiton in a Ring-less alternative universe, where talking animals and humans coexist amid a gloriously bucolic world of water, woods, and fields based on preindustrial rural England. Unfortunately, the pages are a little too small to showcase the details of Plessix's lush art as it deserves. For all ages.--M.C. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.