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Publisher's Summary

Experience the classic tale of The Wind in the Willows as you’ve never heard it before. 

Meet Lady Toad, Mistress Badger, Miss Water Rat and Mrs Mole as they go about their adventures, messing around on the river, gallivanting in Lady Toad’s shiny new toy and fighting valiantly to save Toad Hall from unruly squatters. 

In this retelling by Dina Gregory, The Wind in the Willows becomes a story about a group of female animals to be admired for their close sisterhood and fierce independence. Featuring original music and songs by Rosabella Gregory and sound effects captured on location, put your headphones on, sit back and lose yourself in the British countryside.

  Cover artwork and illustrations: Melissa Castrillon.

Public Domain (P)2020 Audible, Ltd
Dina Gregory on adapting the classic tale | It was always going to be nerve-wracking, adapting a beloved classic like The Wind in the Willows. But this new take, in which our four heroes are recast as females, offered an enticing opportunity to combat some of the dated gender dynamics that permeate children’s literature from the period, wherein protagonists are typically male and nearly always more adventurous, more physically engaged with the world, more three-dimensional, and more likely to get into mischief than their female counterparts.|Enter Lady Toad, a feisty motorcar thief; Mistress Badger, a renunciant of social norms who lives ‘her own truth’ in the woods; Miss Water Rat, a weapons-bearing scholar pursuing life’s pleasures without apology; and, perhaps most significantly, young Mrs Mole, who leaves the marital hole in pursuit of ‘something more.’|What came as a surprise as I undertook the work is how little needed to be changed beyond the obvious altering of pronouns, titles, clothing and the like. Once the jolly old chaps’ veneer had been removed, many of the more deeply etched themes worked beautifully with a female cast. Even the time period, coinciding with the suffragette movement, was fortuitous, allowing me to imbue the text with a subtle streak of female emancipation befitting the era.|I should add that what I consider sacred about Grahame’s writing and, therefore, left completely untouched, are his enchanting descriptions of the British countryside. I hope young listeners will bathe in Grahame’s magical descriptions of rivers and fields, hedgerows and woods, especially when that vocabulary, and the natural world that it describes, are fast disappearing.|My quiet hope is that this version, rather than detracting from the original, will help us to see it more clearly. It is like the book was written in magic ink. By altering the genders, we shine a light on the pages to reveal something that was hidden yet always there.

About the adaptor

Dina Gregory is a storyteller and lyricist who hails from Devon. She holds a Masters in Psychology, Physiology & Philosophy (PPP Joint Honours) from Somerville College, Oxford University, and a second Masters in Musical Theatre Writing from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Her musicals, plays, songs, arias and choral anthems have been performed at venues large and small, both in the USA and the UK. Her short stories—many penned for children—can be heard on Audible. One of Dina’s longstanding collaborators is her twin sister, singer-songwriter and composer Rosabella Gregory. During childhood, the pair divided their time between the piano and the moors. Many of Dina’s projects are written with Rosabella, including this The Wind in the Willows adaptation.

About the composer and singer

Rosabella Gregory is an award-winning singer-songwriter and composer. A graduate of the Royal Academy of Music, she has released three albums and performed throughout the UK and internationally, both as a solo artist and in support of the legendary Jools Holland on his Country House tour. Her musicianship has led to collaborations within Theatre, Television and Opera. Collaborating with her twin sister, Dina, has given Rosabella some of her most rewarding writing experiences, dating back to a rock opera they penned when they were teens (Mellisa’s Maelstrom), which was produced by English National Opera’s Baylis programme; right up to the present day and their collaboration on The Wind in the Willows.

About the performer

Cush Jumbo is best known for starring in US series The Good Fight. She is the author of Josephine and I and received an OBE last year for her contribution to drama. Cush will take to the stage as Hamlet at The Young Vic in the near future and in 2021, will star as the lead in Britbox thriller The Beast Must Die opposite Jared Harris.

About the performer

Dame Harriet Walter is an award-winning British actress. She attended the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and has worked extensively in theatre, film television and radio. Her television credits include Sky Atlantic’s The End, Belgravia, Killing Eve, Succession, The Spanish Princess and The Crown. Films include The Last Duel, Herself, Rocketman, The Sense of an Ending, Sense and Sensibility and Atonement. On stage she is best known for her Shakespearean work, for example as Lady Macbeth, Beatrice and Cleopatra but also as Brutus, Henry IV and Prospero in the all-female trilogy for the Donmar Theatre. She has also created many new characters for contemporary writers. She was awarded an honorary doctorate by Birmingham University and is an honorary associate of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Harriet is also a writer and has published four books.

About the performer

Aimée Lou Wood is a British actress. She is best known for her debut role as Aimee Gibbs in the Netflix original comedy-drama series Sex Education and Sonya in the West End revival of Uncle Vanya. She can next be seen in feature film Louis Wain and season 3 of Sex Education.

About the performer

In 2020, BAFTA Breakthrough Brit Susan Wokoma starred in Amazon Prime Video’s Truth Seekers, Netflix’s Enola Holmes and Donmar Warehouse’s Teenage Dick. Previous to this, Susan filmed the BBC One series Dark Mon£y, Channel 4 comedy series Year of the Rabbit, comedic horror series Crazyhead, The Ghost and The House of Truth and the second series of the BAFTA award-winning Chewing Gum. She also appeared on stage in Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Additional screen credits include: Crashing, Half of a Yellow Sun, The Inbetweeners 2 and That Summer Day. Susan wrote and starred in the award-winning short Love the Sinner and has also written the screenplay for BBC Films Three Weeks.

About the performer

Jennifer Saunders is one half of the legendary comedy duo French and Saunders. She also wrote and starred in the award-winning and critically acclaimed television series Absolutely Fabulous. The feature film Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie was released in the summer of 2016. Jennifer co-wrote and acted in Girls on Top, The Life and Times of Vivienne Vyle and Jam and Jerusalem. Other television credits include Blandings, Josh, Stick Man, The Boy In The Dress, This Is Jinsy, Dead Boss and Friends. She wrote and starred in many of the 69 Comic Strip films. Recent credits include The Stranger and There’s Something About Movies. Jennifer has voiced characters in feature films such as Sing, The Minions and Shrek 2. In 2020, she recorded an episode of The Simpsons.

What listeners say about The Wind in the Willows

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Not the original story

Yeah there’s a reason why this one is included with your prime membership. It’s the story of Lady Toad… Not the story of Mr. Toad. Why they decided to change all the characters to female, I have no idea. It’s disrespectful to the author, who, if he had wanted to make all the characters female, would have written them thus.

16 people found this helpful

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Well read but misread missing the point of the satire.

All characters have been changed well read but the original text points fun at the male characters that represent contextual male stereotypes. By changing the genders to female the reader misses the point of the satire.

6 people found this helpful

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Dina, why did you do that?!

Don't mess with the classics, Dina Gregory.
The all-female version of The Wind of the Willows is a flop. The work lost its rhythm and charm. Don't waste your time listening to this.

5 people found this helpful

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So much lost.

There is an incredible amount of content, story line and inferences lost while attempting to change the genders of the main characters. It just is not the same story, which I suppose is kind of the point, but take my advice and stick to the original. I just can't see why this version was needed.

4 people found this helpful

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They changed the genders of the characters

This story, in the book I have in my hands, has the main characters as males, but the audio recording has changed the genders and thus much of the story is being simply changed and made-up. Why would anyone do this?

4 people found this helpful

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Great listen

What a fun, new twist on an old classic! My children and I enjoyed this during during Christmas school break.

4 people found this helpful

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OMG! I'm in LOVE!!

IMHO, this version is better than the original. The characters are vivid and lovable (even Lady Toad, lol!), and the narration is SUPERB. I laughed, cried, and just lost myself in this story. I will recommend it to the high heavens and listen more than once. I've listened to hundreds of audiobooks on Audible, and this is in my #1 spot right now. Yes, it's THAT GOOD! Kudos ladies, and more please!

3 people found this helpful

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Surprisingly Delightful

Surprisingly delightful! Have never read this classic so I decided to give it a try.
At first I was disappointed to realize all the characters had been changed to female. But honestly, it made the story so cute and fresh. I absolutely loved the readers who brought this beloved classic to life. The multiple charming British voices truly captured the characters which Grahame has written to be complex and delightful. Such rich vocabulary and expression. Good for language development/writing for children.

2 people found this helpful

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A new take on an old story.

My family enjoys this retelling so much! Don't expect it to be the original, relax and enjoy a new story. And, if your going to come at it with a defensive attitude and consider it an affront to manhood, just stay away and let the open minded listeners enjoy the fun.

2 people found this helpful

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a wonderful listen

loved the narrator..!!..so well done..!! i listen while working on my orchids.. a perfect combination..

2 people found this helpful

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  • swampedbybunnies
  • 12-08-20

Why Bother?

Before I garner the usual criticism of being a misogynist dinosaur: I'm not. I do however resent the rewriting of other peoples work - especially long established works - to make them more acceptable to particular audiences. I recall with horror reprints of Biggles Books in the noughties where the WW1 squadron pilots were competing for bottles of lemonade rather than bottles of wine, because - I kid you not - it was deemed unacceptable to present children with adult pilots in a War Zone drinking alcohol.

This book is a well loved children's Classic for what it is. It is a book of its time, as all books are. Wishfully rewriting every book published throughout history to reflect particular views of more enlightened times is a pointless exercise in over the top Political Correctness. The time and effort would be better spent writing something original and new instead.

The fact that many people love The Wind in the Willows regardless of its Edwardian World View speaks volumes for the original and the author. And lets not forget that there are elements of Graeme's own life and sadness woven into the original narrative.

This awful rewrite ignores all that and substitutes a gender political world view of the 21st Century: but of course, its now a skewed and politicised version of the original work.

A much better approach would have been writing an original work that was both entertaining and reflected modern views and attitudes: an author doing this might create a children's classic of tomorrow. Please don't wreck any more of the well loved ones we've already got.

Note the 'Story' 5 stars are for the original story, the general thrust of which remains the same.

337 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-10-20

You can't give it away!

This was a free gift from audible. In my excitement I accepted the gift before I noticed the ominous word, 're-telling.' Then I discovered this was simply woke revisionism, where everyone is reduced to one aspect of their identity, and forced to obsess over it. No thanks. I don't want your progressive identitarian nonsense. This is to be permanently deleted from my account.

247 people found this helpful

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  • Voice of reason
  • 12-10-20

Charmless

A charmless, arrogant and fashionable attempt to recontextualise a timeless classic. The high production values only serve to underline the fact that 'style over content' is the only strength in this unnecessarily patronising rewrite, a strength which is ultimately redundant.

221 people found this helpful

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  • Jmac
  • 12-09-20

No Magic

I just felt terribly disappointed with the lack of a magical feeling in this telling of the story

198 people found this helpful

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  • Weaver
  • 12-09-20

Terrible...

My wife and I thoroughly enjoy the original stories...but this is pure tripe!

The PC brigade comes to Audible.....avoid

165 people found this helpful

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  • Mr. J. W. Henderson
  • 12-11-20

Just Horrible

For some reason I see my last review was taken down..
Suffice to say, even free is too expensive for this clumsily shoehorned, politically instigated drivel.
Do yourself a favour and listen to the charming original, rather than encourage the destruction of yet another classic piece of British literature in the name of virtue signalling wokeness.

154 people found this helpful

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  • Sperafucile
  • 12-09-20

Avoid! Avoid! Avoid!

Awful! Awful! Awful! I suppose that it was free but that is small comfort.

144 people found this helpful

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  • Anthony
  • 12-10-20

But why?

Yet another lazy, 'gender change for no real reason' , woke, nonsense... No thank you.

143 people found this helpful

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  • alan.r3id
  • 12-13-20

A classic ruined by the woke culture.

Why on earth does this classic need to be redone and making it all female?! Why does everything have to have an all female version these days.

It takes away from the original charm and fun completely. Avoid, glad I didn’t pay for this rubbish!

126 people found this helpful

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  • Katherine Beckett
  • 12-09-20

Enjoyable if baffling

I don’t really understand the need to change the gender of the characters while keeping the story pretty much the same. To be honest the only reason I listened to this book was because it was free. The performances are good, and I never tire of hearing Jennifer Saunders’s voice. But let’s not come out with any more “feminist approved” versions of classics again?

92 people found this helpful