At the start of the book, it is spring time: the weather is fine, and good-natured Mole loses patience with spring cleaning. He flees his underground home, heading up to take in the air. He ends up at the river, which he has never seen before. Here he meets Ratty (a water rat), who at this time of year spends all his days in, on and close by the river. Rat takes Mole for a ride in his rowing boat. They get along well and spend many more days boating, with Rat teaching Mole the ways of the river. One summer day shortly thereafter, Rat and Mole find themselves near the grand Toad Hall and pay a visit to Toad. Toad is rich (having inherited wealth from his father): jovial, friendly and kind-hearted but aimless and conceited, he regularly becomes obsessed with current fads, only to abandon them as quickly as he took them up. Having only recently given up boating, Toad's current craze is his horse-drawn caravan. In fact, he is about to go on a trip, and persuades the reluctant Rat and willing Mole to join him. The following day (after Toad has already tired of the realities of camp life and sleeps-in to avoid chores), a passing motorcar scares the horse, causing the caravan to overturn into a ditch. Rat does a war dance and threatens to have the law on the motorcar drivers while Mole calms the horse, but this marks the immediate end of Toad's craze for caravan travel, to be replaced with an obsession for motorcars. When the three animals get to the nearest town, they have Toad go to the police station to make a complaint against the vandals and their motorcar and thence to a blacksmith to retrieve and mend the caravan. Toad - in thrall to the experience of his encounter - refuses. Rat and Mole find an inn from where Mr. Toad's horse is taken care of and they organise the necessary steps and, exhausted, return home by train. Meanwhile, Toad makes no effort to help, instead deciding to order himself a motorcar.
(Excerpt from Wikipedia)
Michael Hague illustrates three collections of time-proven tales. Originally published in 1910, Old Mother West Wind by Thornton W. Burgess introduces a group of enchanting woodland creatures, the Merry Little Breezes, Reddy Fox and Tommy Trout among them, to a new generation of readers. Michael Hague's Favorite Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales offers nine classic stories including The Snow Queen, Thumbelina and The Little Mermaid, all adapted by Jane Woodward. And lastly, Hague portrays the lush habitat of Toad, Mole, Rat and Badger in Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows. The handsomely designed oversize volumes present Hague's artwork in framed spreads and spot illustrations, just right for lap reading.