October 8, 2009
Post #2544 – 20091008
I am so sad that, after stating so clearly why you hate Walt Disney, you would be enthusiastic about Inga Moore’s bowdlerized version of “Wind in the Willows”. Yes, the illustrations are magnificent, but when she claims to have “abridged” the book, what she has actually done is ripped out it’s heart.
Do I exaggerate? Well, find a copy of the Michael Hague illustrated “Wind in the Willows” and look at the chapter entitled “Piper at the Gates of Dawn.” You will find the most beautiful picture of baby otter asleep at the feet of Great Pan, the god of the animals. Read ANY version for a beautiful description of religious awe in the great god’s presence, (even if not illustrated) then try to find that chapter in Inga Moore’s version.
This was not an “abridgment” but a very deliberate censorship. Young minds must not be made aware of the pagan gods at all costs! I pity the children who grow up with this version as much as those who only knew the Disney version. Shame.
I always suspect/blame the publisher in cases like this--and the illustrations are so good! Also I doubt it was deliberate censorship--you may give them too much credit. More likely there were considerations of length, readability, fear of losing the attention of readers, or simply not understanding the passage. This sort of thing happens all the time. At least this publisher, unlike Disney, does not make a specialty of watering down literature. You are right to point out the omission, and I am right to point out the work of a gifted illustrator.