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Toad Hall gets Wifi in the Willows with new app

LONDON (Reuters) - Crash Mr. Toad's motor car into a hedge, make those dastardly weasels dance and drive Mole from his hole with a new interactive iPad app based on classic children's novel "The Wind in the Willows".

The app breathes digital life into Kenneth Grahame's tale about the adventures of Ratty, Mole, Toad, the curmudgeonly Badger and their ruthless weasel foes from the Wild Wood.

The Wind in the Willows app available on www.bibliodome.com has more than 190 interactive pages, which allow the user to conjure up butterflies from thin air, smoke Mole out of his hole, make the band of weasels sing and dance, chuck stones off a bridge to sink Toad's boat, dress him, and make it snow.

The app book was put together by a three-man team comprising novelist Sam North, artist Steve Dooley and computer programmer Bobby Gilbert.

"From the start we insisted that the story must remain at the heart of the project," North said. "Everyone knows what a great, well-loved tale it is."

Dooley said he found inspiration for his illustrations in what Grahame said to the original illustrator back in 1908: "I love these little people," he said, "so please be kind to them."

In order to bring the drawings to life, Gilbert spent hours researching the minutiae of each and every page.

"We fell under the spell of the book -- its characters, its humor, the wonderful eccentric lyricism of the words. It absorbed us; we had to do justice to it."

As Toad would say: "Poop-poop, off I'll go..."

(Reporting by Paul Casciato; editing by Patricia Reaney)

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