In the throes of the global pandemic and sheltering-in-place, I have returned to the things that brought me comfort as a child. One of them is my favorite book of all time, The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame.
As an American child in the mid-1990s, I was able to purchase the stop motion film adaption by British animation studio Cosgrove Hall, as well as nine episodes of the adapted TV series via catalog. I quickly became obsessed with the show and its characters – Ratty, Mole, Badger & of course Toad – watching the VHS tapes over and over again. My friends still refer to that period in my life as the time I had “Toady Fever.” I simply couldn’t get enough of the book, the movie and the TV show.
So imagine my surprise twenty years later to discover that Cosgrove Hall had made more than nine episodes of The Wind in the Willows.
As in…a lot more episodes.
As in 52 episodes of The Wind in the Willows series, a second movie called A Tale of Two Toads, and a spin-off series called Oh, Mr. Toad! consisting of 13 more episodes.
All I can say is, thank God my eleven year old self didn’t know all this additional content existed. In 1996, YouTube had not yet been invented, and I know she would have had a massive fit at being limited to the (now measly-seeming) nine episodes she had on VHS.
As you can tell, I have a very special place in my heart for The Wind in the Willows and Cosgrove Hall’s adaptations of Kenneth Grahame’s book. And what better time to catch up on the dozens of episodes I didn’t even know existed until I was in my thirties?
So for the past couple of weeks, I have slowly been making my way through the show, one episode or so per night.
They’re only twenty minutes long each and – praise be to YouTube! – the complete series including second film and spin-off are available for your viewing pleasure right here.
You can also purchase the complete series on DVD here.
For those of you who haven’t seen this adaptation yet, let me tell you that the show is lovely. It’s beautifully made. It’s quiet and soothing. For me, it’s like visiting with an old friend.
Last night, I was watching the episode called The Labyrinth for the first time, and I became inspired to create a The Wind in the Willows BINGO Game for all my fellow Cosgrove Hall TWITW fans out there. It’s perfect for the classroom, to play with your kids, or just for fun on your own.
Download your free BINGO cards here, click here to start streaming an episode, and play along!
I have always felt that the beauty of The Wind in the Willows is that you can read and enjoy it as a child for one set of reasons, and read and enjoy it for other reasons as an adult. I hope you watch the show (or read the amazing book) and find as much joy and laughter and warmth in it as I did then, and still do now.
With affection and a side of scones & jam,