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The Wind in the Willows Narrated in DSD256 - Toad Would be Proud!

02-07-2022 | By Rushton Paul | Issue 120

The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame, narrated by Bob Attiyeh. Yarlung Records 2022 [DSD256 PureDSD] HERE

What a wonderful, over-the-top, project. Yes, Toad would be proud. 

I grew up with The Wind in the Willows and now have the perfect way to share it with my grandchildren, ages 7 and 9. They’ve listened thus far to Bob Attiyeh’s delightful reading of Chapter 1: The River Bank and Chapter 2: The Open Road. And they can’t wait for more. 

Recorded very simply to DSD256, Bob's quiet articulate voice takes us on the marvelous adventures created by Kenneth Grahame in the 1908 first publication of these stories. Bob's narration is simple and direct, without any effort to emulate voices made up for the characters—no, he just reads the story with nice pacing and good inflection, pausing appropriately for dramatic effect. But otherwise, no hyperbolic shenanigans. Thank you, Bob!

And thus brought to life are the characters we've known for so many years: Mole, Rat, Badger, and Toad. 

As I dole out the wonders of the river and the book's inimitable characters, my grandchildren have now been introduced to Mole and Rat (or Moley and Ratty to their friends), and the irascible Mr. Toad. Of course, "cress sandwiches" required a stop and an explanation.

The only thing missing are the original, and completely wonderful, E.H. Shepard illustrations that graced the 1931 edition of the book. Unfortunately for us, these illustrations are not yet in the public domain, so we satisfy ourselves with one of the many illustrated reissues of the book while we listen to the narration. And there are always the two nice illustrations that Bob engaged Mike Rosell to create for the booklet accompanying the recording.

Toad's car in the river. Illustration by Mike Rosell.

We can certainly debate whether Grahame's stories are truly stories for children. Many have argued the issue because these stories have such complexity and include schemes of such questionable ethical values, that one can argue they are better morality tales for adults. But I think they work well both for adults and younger readers (at least those younger readers prepared to take in a complex tale). 

Nicely done, Bob Attiyeh. Thank you for this gift.

Illustrations courtesy of Bob Attiyeh and Yarlung Records. Cover and Toad's Car in the River illustrations created by Mike Rosell.