I first became aware of Charlie Mackesy on Twitter, when there was quite a swirl about this forthcoming book, The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse. Ebury Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House was very excited to be publishing the book. From some of the brief snippets and marketing promo I could soon see the appeal.
On publication day some copies landed in the bookshop. I knew I would love it from the get-go because Charlie dedicated the book to his dogs. Charlie’s work is beautiful and his inky creations have an EH Shepherd vibe about them. His intricate tree-work has echoes of Hundred Acre Wood in Winnie the Pooh, and his mole is naturally reminiscent of Wind in the Willows.
The book follows a solemn and thoughtful young boy on an unnamed journey. He meets an inquisitive cake-loving mole and they continue their travels through forests, fields and water. Soon they meet a fox trapped in a snare. Mole and fox are both wary, but with bravery and understanding they come to be friends. Finally, the three travellers meet a large wise horse. Together they encounter storms and dark days, making it through with each other’s support.
This journey-book endeavours to show that friendship and kindness can help us through the toughest of times. Every page is filled with life-lessons and affirmations, reminding us to be ourselves and know that our self is enough.
I initially flicked my way through this book quickly, but when I finished, I returned to the beginning and read it again…and again. It’s perfect for a quiet moment of contemplation, or reading before bed. You can’t not be stunned by the artistry and emotion conveyed in the illustrations, and each read highlights a new favourite.
This book is perfect for young and old, and would be a great family-friendly coffee table accompaniment.