This map found in The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham, is one of the classic maps many of us hold dear. It was drawn by Ernest H. Shepard who also drew the map in Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne. The map, however, was not in the original edition of the book written in 1908.
The story originally began as a series of bedtime stories the Graham told to his son, Alistair or “mouse.” Alistair became obsessed with the continuing saga of Mole, Rat, Badger who tried to keep their reckless friend, Mr. Toad, out of trouble. While traveling, Grahame wrote the adventures in daily letters which were sent home. The setting for the book was based on Grahame’s childhood memories of the countryside around the river Thames.Grahame’s wife suggested that they be edited and published in book form.
(photograph from University of Oxford Bodleian Libraries)
There have been numerous editions of The Wind in the Willows but the one most people think of is the edition illustrated by E. H. Shepard. Unfortunately, Grahame died shortly before the book was published in 1931 but he did meet with his new illustrator to discus the characters. Shepard said this about their conversation –
“Not sure about his new illustrator of his book, he listened patiently while I told him what I hoped to do. Then he said ‘I love these little people, be kind to them’ …He would like, he said, ‘to go with me to show me the river bank that he knew so well, ‘…but now I cannot walk so far and you must find your way alone’.”
Shepard drew not only the map but more than seventy illustrations.
The Wind in the Willows has made its way into film, animation, and stage productions as well as the infamous Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride at Disneyland which happens to be a family favorite.
Thanks for stopping by on today’s A to Z April Blog Challenge post.