Far from fading with time, Kenneth Grahame's classic tale of fantasy has attracted a growing audience in each generation. Rat, Mole, Badger and the preposterous Mr Toad, have brought delight to many through the years with their odd adventures on and by the river, and at the imposing residence of Toad Hall.
This is clearly marked “Unabridged”. This is simply not true. When I knew the book as a child the two passages I found intensely moving were the Field Mice’ Carol (“Who was the first to sing Nowell?/ Animals all as it befell./ Joy shall be theirs in the morning”) and the profound mysticism of the chapter “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn”. Both these passages are omitted, as is the entire Chapter “Wayfarers All”. (Other omission include all the songs, including the delightful “Duck’s Ditty”, the chapter titles and certain details I can remember in both the Christmas chapter and the final chapter at least.)
In the structure of the book, the two omitted chapters break up the account of Toad in jail and his escape. By making Toad’s adventures a continuous narrative without the deeper, more feeling aspects of the omitted chapters, this version reduces the book to a comic cartoon adventure without the profundity and little of the tenderness that makes it such a masterpiece. Richard Briers reads the version charmingly, but I was thoroughly disappointed.
A listener who doesn’t know the original may well still be pleased by this version.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
An excellent story and, wonderfully narrated by the great Richard Briers. I absolutely loved it.
A childhood classic, fabulously nostalgic. Priceless narration by Richard Briers brings all the little friends to life with their individual voices and accents.