Kenneth Grahame (/ˈɡreɪ.əm/ GRAY-əm; 8 March 1859 – 6 July 1932) was a British writer, most famous for The Wind in the Willows (1908), one of the classics of children’s literature. He also wrote The Reluctant Dragon. Both books were later adapted for stage and film, of which A. A. Milne’s Toad of Toad Hall was the first. The Disney films The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad and The Reluctant Dragon are other adaptations.
While still a young man in his twenties, Grahame began to publish light stories in London periodicals such as the St. James Gazette. Some of these were collected and published as Pagan Papers in 1893, and two years later The Golden Age. These were followed by Dream Days in 1898, which contains The Reluctant Dragon.
There is a ten-year gap between Grahame’s penultimate book and the publication of his triumph, The Wind in the Willows. During that decade, Grahame became a father. The wayward, headstrong nature he saw in his little son Alastair he transformed into the swaggering Mr. Toad, one of its four principal characters. The character in the book known as Ratty was inspired by his good friend, and writer, Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch. Grahame mentions this in a signed copy he gave to Quiller-Couch’s daughter, Foy Felicia. Despite its success, he never attempted a sequel. The book is still widely enjoyed by adults and children. It has given rise to many film and television adaptations, while Toad remains one of the most celebrated and beloved characters in children’s literature. In 1929, A. A. Milne wrote the play Toad of Toad Hall, which is based on part of The Wind in the Willows, which won the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award in 1958. In the 1990s, William Horwood produced a series of sequels.