The Wind in the Willows is a children's novel by Kenneth Grahame, first published in 1908. Alternately slow-moving and fast-paced, it focuses on four anthropomorphised animals in a pastoral version of Edwardian England. The novel is notable for its mixture of mysticism, adventure, morality and camaraderie, and celebrated for its evocation of the nature of the Thames Valley.
In 1908, Grahame retired from his position as secretary of the Bank of England. He moved back to Berkshire, where he had lived as a child, and spent his time by the River Thames doing much as the animal characters in his book do – as the book says, "simply messing about in boats" – and expanding the bedtime stories he had earlier told his son Alastair into a manuscript for the book.