Welcome return for Toad, Ratty et al
Saturday 01 December 2012
That irascible anti-hero Toad is once again causing mischief.
Jacqueline Kelly felt compelled to write Return to the Willows, after growing up loving Kenneth Grahame's 1908 classic The Wind in the Willows.
New Zealand-native Kelly, now based in Austin, Texas hopes it's well received in Grahame's home country but so far it's only been noticed in the US.
The Wall Street Journal described it as a "sparkling sequel, an act of extended mimicry that allows us to enjoy new escapades with complex and memorable characters".
These include Toad's young nephew Humphrey who comes to stay at Toad Hall with a passion for pyrotechnics, as well as Matilda, a spirited female water rat "with twinkling brown eyes, lustrous fur, neat ears, and a delicate muzzle", who catches the amorous eye of Ratty.
Kelly wanted to break tradition with Grahame's all-male cast to appeal to contemporary readers.
"I'm certainly not trying to compete," Kelly said. "No one can write like Grahame."
'Return to the Willows' by Jacqueline Kelly is out now
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