There’s this awesome strip mall near my home that’s just one thrift store after another, and I was browsing through the kids’ books (hopefully people think I’m a second grade teacher rather than a really low-level reader when I do that) and I found this lovely copy of The Wind in the Willows.
I’ll admit, this was not one of my childhood favorites, but I couldn’t resist the colorful illustrations by Helen Ward. She’s gives her pictures a funny-strange depth, and when you combine that with the hard black outlines, it makes for a cartoony yet classically pretty composition.
Here’s one of Mole and Ratty picnicking by the river.
Don’t you just love Ratty’s loafers and suspenders? There’s a lot of fun detail here, and the way the willow leaves frame the picnic blanket makes it seem like we’re peeking through the trees at them.
Here’s a sorrowful scene: the canary yellow cart overturned and the automobile going “poop poop” down the road.
Even Ward’s winter illustrations are beautifully monochromatic and cozy.
I was really taken with this one of Mole all bundled up in the snowy forest. Aren’t these illustrated characters just begging to be crocheted? They are so perfectly geometric.
Here’s Toad at it again. Get a load of his shoes. I love the details.
Finally, here’s an irresistible one of the river bank friends facing their future together. Sorry about the glare on the right side.
I’m not sure how well kids today would connect with The Wind in the Willows. The language is kind of high falutin’. Either way, these illustrations put me in a good mood today. Hope they do the same for you!