"Toad, you're prevaricating again." Hearing that intellectual putdown, you know you're back in the land of The Willows, where the trials are believable, the drama is driven, and the characters are the most charming around. Toad, the affable gadabout with too much self-esteem, is hysterically appealing and over the top in the trio of tales that make up Autumn Antics. "Harvest" has the weasels playing tricks on the fab four of this animal kingdom--judgelike Badger, careful Ratty, timid Mole, and mischief-bound Toad. The sophisticated "Monster of the Wild Wood" weaves together the spooky thrills of Halloween with the encroaching development of the River Bank. In "Remember, Remember," the evil weasels strike again in a fireworks fiasco with accident-prone Toad at center stage. Sometimes predictable, but always enchanting, these tales of autumn are as crisply drawn and carefully crafted as the classic Kenneth Grahame book they are pulled from. --Valerie J. Nelson
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