Fun Facts Friday: Kenneth Grahame

Kenneth Grahame (8 March, 1859 – 6 July, 1932) was a Scottish writer mostly known for his children’s classic The Wind in the Willows.

Books by Kenneth Grahame*
Drawing by John Singer Sargent
Books by Kenneth Grahame*

  1. Grahame was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. His mother died when he was five years old, and he was brought up by his grandmother Granny Ingles in the village of Cookham (his father, a sheriff, had a drinking problem).
  2. It is believed by Mr. Grahame’s biographer that the ambiance at Cookham (Quarry Wood and the River Thames) inspired the setting for The Wind in the Willows.
  3. Even though he was an excellent student, Mr. Grahame was unable to attend Oxford University due to cost.
  4. In his 20s, Mr. Grahame published stories in London periodicals including St. James Gazette, The Yellow Book, and the National Observer. These stories were later published as collections.
  5. In 1899 Mr. Grahame married Elspeth Thomson. The couple had one child, Alastair (nicknamed Mouse), who suffered from health problems all his life.
  6. The author’s classic children’s books are based on bedtime stories he told Alastair, who inspired Mr. Toad.
  7. In 1903, while working at the Bank of England, Mr. Grahame was shot at three times – thankfully all three shots missed. The shooter was the bank director!
  8. In 1910 President Teddy Roosevelt, a fan of The Wind in the Willows, met the author when he visited Oxford.
  9. Tragically in 1920 Alastair committed suicide on a railway track while attending Oxford University. His death was ruled an accidental death out of respect for the family.
  10. Grahame’s books The Wind in the Willows and the Reluctant Dragon were adapted for stage and film. A. A. Milne’s Toad of Toad Hall and Disney’s 1949 animated film The Adventure of Ichabod and Mr. Toad for The Wind in the Willows, and The Reluctant Dragon (1941), also by Disney.

Books by Kenneth Grahame*

Zohar – Man of la Book
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account

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