Kenneth Grahame was born in Edinburgh on March 3, 1859. When he was five years old, his mother died of scarlet fever and he nearly died himself, of the same disease. His father became an alcoholic and sent the children to Berkshire to live with relatives. They were later reunited with their father, but after a failed year, the children never heard from him again. Sometime later, one of his brothers died at the age of fifteen. He attended St. Edward's School as a child and intended to go on to Oxford University, but his relatives wanted him to go into banking. He worked in his uncle's office, in Westminster, for two years then went to work at the Bank of England as a clerk in 1879. He spent nearly thirty years there and became the Secretary of the Bank at the age of thirty-nine. He retired from the bank right before The Wind in the Willows was published in 1908. He wrote essays on topics that included smoking, walking and idleness. Many of the essays were published as the book Pagan Papers (1893) and the five orphan characters featured in the papers were developed into the books The Golden Age (1895) and Dream Days (1898). The Wind in the Willows (1908) was based on bedtime stories and letters to his son and it is where the characters Rat, Badger, Mole and Toad were created. In 1930, Milne's stage version was brought to another audience in Toad of Toad Hall. Grahame died on July 6, 1932.
Patrick Benson was born in 1956 and was educated at Eton. He studied classical drawing in Florence, and continued studying Art at Chelsea Art School and St Martin's School of Art. In 1984 he won the Mother Goose Award, given annually to the most promising newcomer in children's book illustration for William Mayne's 'Hob Storie's. He gained further acclaim for illustrating 'Owl Babies', written by Martin Waddell, 'The MinPins' by Roald Dahl and since has illustrated many other titles, including 'The Little Boat' by Kathy Henderson and 'The Sea-Thing Child' by Russel Hoban, both shortlisted for a Kate Greenaway Medal. 'The Little Boat' also won the 1995 Kurt Maschler Award.