The Wind in the Willows
One of the great advantages of having children is that you get to read books like this, slowly and out loud. Graham's prose style compares well to other writers of this decade, especially people like Forster. There are occasional bumps where the stiff language hasn't worn well, but I would read this book ten times for every re-read of Howards End. It's also as much a social novel as any other. Toad should be read with the sort of rich inherited lisp you associate with dim comedy aristos. There's a clear philosophy of detachment and concentration on stoic virtues rather than the pursuit of newness, riches or status. All of this occurs, of course, in a context of English traditionalism, social realism, and class comedy. The river is a classic metaphor for both. These are the main themes of canonical novels especially at this period and you might think of Graham as the Jane Austen for children. Occasionally you will find something in the syntax or the structure of a joke that late occurs in P. G. Wodehouse. Even if you don't have children, you will enjoy reading this book.