The Wind in the Willows

TV review by
Sarah Wenk, Common Sense Media
The Wind in the Willows TV Poster Image
Quality tales about animal pals and gentler times.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that kids used to computer animation of Pixar and its ilk may find the claymation a bit low-tech. But these engaging, gentle stories of friendship are well worth sharing with your kids. The animation is actually quite wonderful. The figures of the animals are very expressive, and the narration perfectly suits the characters.

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What's the story?

Four animal friends in Edwardian England star in these gentle stories, based on the book by Kenneth Grahame. Badger is stern but kind, Mole is gentle and shy, Ratty is a poet and a lover of nature, and Toad is boastful and silly, but always learns in the end that friendship matters most. The friends wrangle with the wily weasels, search for buried treasure, struggle with the urge to see more of the world, and rescue Toad from various scrapes of his own devising.

Is it any good?

There are stories you just watch and stories you get caught up in. These tales are most definitely in the latter category. There is a literary quality to the tales, based on the characters created by Kenneth Grahame, that makes them very engrossing -- you really have to pay attention to what's going on, and as you watch you learn more about the characters and their relationships. The irrepressible Toad is always amusing, but the more subdued humor of Rat, Mole and Badger emerges with attentive viewing. Even the wicked Weasels have a sort of nasty charm.

The extremely high quality of the stop-motion animation and the voices make all the difference, creating characters with real depth. This is an excellent offering, one that children and parents will find bears repeated viewing.

 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the old-fashioned setting and the human characteristics of the animals, and re-visit, or read for the first time, Grahame's classic book. Families can also discuss the difference between claymation and computer animation. Can you think of any recent, popular TV shows or movies that use claymation, instead of computer animation?

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