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Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows is a novel for children first published in 1908. The main characters we meet in the first four chapters of the book are all animals with human characteristics:
Mole is the youngest character, and engages in an adventure above ground despite being by nature an underground animal. Much of the story concerns his emergence into the above-ground world and his maturation as he adventures and gains knowledge.
Rat appears slightly older than Mole, and is a good friend to him, helping him navigate strange and unfamiliar areas. He is polite and courteous.
Badger is solitary and can be a bit of a curmudgeon, but he is wise and cares deeply for the other animals.
Toad is very wealthy and impulsive, often getting in trouble, but loyal to his friends and affectionate.
The basic plot of Chapters 1-4 is as follows:
Chapter 1: Mole is cleaning his home, but feels drawn to the upper world. He digs up into the world above and meets Rat. They take a boat trip and Rat explains the local community to Mole.
Chapter 2: Mole and Rat take a trip by horse and carriage. They see an automobile (new and exotic technology when the novel was first published) and Toad decides he wants a car of his own. They have an accident in their cart and need to take the railway home.
Chapter 3: Mole decides to visit Badger and the Wild Wood. He gets lost. Rat rescues him. They are caught in a storm, but manage to find Badger.
Chapter 4: Badger invites Rat and Mole into his house. They talk about Toad and Badger agrees that Toad needs his advice. Otter visits Badger as well, concerned about the welfare of Mole and Rat. Badger leads the adventurers back to the edge of the wood.
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