"[Mole] thought his happiness was complete when, as he meandered aimlessly along, suddenly he stood by the edge of a full-fed river. Never in his life had he seen a river before--this sleek, sinuous, full-bodied animal, chasing and chuckling, gripping things with a gurgle and leaving them with a laugh, to fling itself on fresh playmates that shook themselves free, and were caught and held again." Such is the cautious, agreeable Mole's first introduction to the river and the Life Adventurous. Emerging from his home at Mole End one spring, his whole world changes when he hooks up with the good-natured, boat-loving Water Rat, the boastful Toad of Toad Hall, the society- hating Badger who lives in the frightening Wild Wood, and countless other mostly well-meaning creatures. Michael Hague's exquisitely detailed, breathtaking color illustrations on almost every generous spread--along with Kenneth Grahame's elegant, delightfully old-fashioned characterizations of the animals--make this book a wonderful read-aloud. Grahame's The Wind in the Willows has enchanted readers for four generations, and this lavishly illustrated gift edition is perhaps the finest around. (All ages, or 9 to 12) This reviews refers to ISBN 0805002138.