"The Wind in the Willows" is one of my absolutely favorite books of all time, and this link is to a wonderful piece on it, marking its 100th anniversary, in Salon.
Do check it out: the piece AND the book. I can't imagine anyone here who hasn't read it at least once, but go take another look. It's one of my supreme comfort books in dark moments, but I also reread it when I'm happy. It works, either way.
It's a sublime achievement in English literature, and it's also just a really fun read for little kids. I remember seeing the vile Disney cartoon when I was a youngling, and when I found out there was actually A BOOK my delight knew no bounds.
As the Salon piece asserts, it has moments of genuine mystic joy ("The Piper at the Gates of Dawn" chapter, which never fails to move me to tears) as well as celebrations of simple home comforts ("Dulce Domum", my other favorite chapter).
When I got older, and read a bit more, I found out that Kenneth Grahame's personal life was a complete trainwreck, and yet out of it he had made this. For a writer in the making, this was perhaps the first statement I'd come across of the fact that, as writers, we can make worlds out of our own sorrow and joy alike.
Thank you, dear Mr. Grahame, for making this for us.