Fun Home

Fun Home The Wind in the Willows

The Wind in the Willows (1908) is a classic childrens' book by Scottish writer Kenneth Grahame. Several versions have been printed since its first publication, the most famous of which came out in 1933 with drawings by E.H. Shepard. Over the past century, The Wind in the Willows has become an inextricable presence in pop culture, having spawned numerous adaptations, musical references, and even a ride at Disneyland. 

Grahame started writing The Wind in the Willows when he moved back to his hometown of Cookham in Berkshire after retiring from his job as a secretary at the Bank of England. It is based on the bedtime stories that Grahame told his son Alistair, which were inspired by Grahame's own childhood "simply messing about in boats" on the River Thames. The narrative follows four anthropomorphized animals, Mr. Toad, Mole, Mr. Rat or "Ratty", and Mr. Badger, who live in the Wild Wood (a pastoral version of the English countryside).  

In Fun Home, the chapter titled "The Canary-Colored Caravan" is a reference to The Wind in the Willows, which young Alison Bechdel and her father read together while she is growing up. In a coloring book version of the story, Alison tries to color the caravan blue, and her father's compulsion to correct her turns her off from using color in her drawings. In this chapter, Bechdel also draws parallels between The Wild Wood and Surrounding Country and the idyllic town of Beech Creek, in which Bruce Bechdel lives and dies.