Originally published in periodical form, this collection of eight enchanting and nostalgic semi-autobiographical stories recollects an ideal childhood. Informative as a snapshot of the late Victorian era and brilliantly capturing the world of imagination inhabited by children, these stories are written, not with self-consciousness or condescension, but with humour and wit. Grahame depicts a private, separate universe of five siblings whose concerns rarely overlap with the world of adults, whom they refer to as Olympians. The collection's most famous story, 'The Reluctant Dragon', sees the narrator and his neighbour Charlotte following dragon footprints in the snow, one winter's evening. Meeting with a Circus Man, they are regaled with tales of a dragon, which, modest and retiring, was reluctant to fight St George purely for the sake of convention. The author captures perfectly the tone of a childhood enriched by legend and romance, and unsullied by the concerns of adulthood.
Kenneth Grahame (1859-1932) was a British writer, most famous for The Wind in the Willows (1908), one of the classics of children's literature. Sandi Toksvig (1958-) is a Danish-born English comedienne, author, and presenter on radio and television.