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The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse Hardcover – 22 October 2019
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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER · WALL STREET JOURNAL BESTSELLER · USA TODAY BESTSELLER
“The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse is not only a thought-provoking, discussion-worthy story, the book itself is an object of art.”- Elizabeth Egan, The New York Times
From British illustrator, artist, and author Charlie Mackesy comes a journey for all ages that explores life’s universal lessons, featuring 100 color and black-and-white drawings.
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” asked the mole.
“Kind,” said the boy.
Charlie Mackesy offers inspiration and hope in uncertain times in this beautiful book, following the tale of a curious boy, a greedy mole, a wary fox and a wise horse who find themselves together in sometimes difficult terrain, sharing their greatest fears and biggest discoveries about vulnerability, kindness, hope, friendship and love. The shared adventures and important conversations between the four friends are full of life lessons that have connected with readers of all ages.
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-- New York Times
“The world that I long to inhabit is the one that Charlie Mackesy has created – a world of infinite kindness, wisdom, mutual care and tenderness, and true love between real friends. My prayer/hope is that our world will become more like this one.” -- Elizabeth Gilbert, New York Times bestselling author of Eat, Pray, Love and Big Magic
"I felt this book down to my core." -- Hoda Kotb
"Love, friendship, and kindness--this book speaks a universal language." -- Bear Grylls
"A wonderful work of art and a wonderful window into the human heart" -- Richard Curtis
"Simply, the world need's Charlie's work right now." -- Miranda Hart
“A sweet tale rendered in swirly black calligraphy and watercolor. Childlike in its simplicity, its messages are universal. . . . Mackesy has brought people together.” -- The Washington Post
“A lonely boy ambles through the countryside on a spring day, finding companionship: first meeting the mole, then the other animals of the title. As they walk, the new friends talk, wonder, share their hopes and fears and pose some big questions. . . . A big hit.” -- The Philadelphia Inquirer
“A delightful treat of a book. . . . If there were classes on how to be a good person, this book would be the textbook.” -- Horse Nation
About the Author
Charlie Mackesy was born during a snowy winter in Northumberland. He has been a cartoonist for The Spectator and a book illustrator for Oxford University Press. He has collaborated with Richard Curtis for Comic Relief, and Nelson Mandela on a lithograph project, “The Unity Series.” He has lived and painted in South Africa, Southern Africa and New Orleans, and co-runs a social enterprise, Mama Buci, in Zambia, which helps families of low and no income to become beekeepers. He lives in London but is often in Suffolk. Visit him at charliemackesy.com
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Reviewed in Singapore on 6 April 2022
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By Beaver Chua on 19 October 2020
By Wei Shan Koh on 30 June 2021
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On a practical note, the text of the book is written in the authors own handwriting, which is nice but some people with additional needs might struggle to read it.
What really disappointed me is the content, which in my view is vacuous weak sentiment with no actual substance behind it. Reading it feels like scrolling through the 'inspirational quote' tag on Pinterest, it's a collection of tid-bits that sound meaningful at first glance plastered across an attractive picture. But then when you stop to think about it for a second there isn't actually much of value there.
For example 'Sometimes I feel lost' said the boy. 'Me too,' said the Mole 'But we love you and love brings you home'.
What does that actually mean?
I do see what they are getting at, and the idea of 'home' being a feeling rather then an actual place is explored later in the book - but only in a series of glib sounding platitudes.
It's the sort of thing that if you were actually in a low place emotionally could make you feel worse - like being told 'what doesn't kill you makes you stronger' by a stranger when you've just had the most soul crushingly awful day of your life.
How do you feel when reading the above if you are one of those unfortunate children or adults who doesn't have a person in their life who loves them who can bring them 'home'? Even if you do, is it emotionally healthy to depend on the love of others to centre you if you feel 'lost'? How many people have ruined their lives pursuing relationships to fill the void of loneliness or their 'lost' feeling without addressing their own issues?
I think that's my main problem with this book, on the surface it all sounds lovely, short and pithy messages and ideas for living your life that you would want your child to absorb - but when you stop to think about the ideas it's actually presenting for a moment they are confused and unhelpful in some cases.
Also, while I recognise the mole saying "eat cake" is only meant as a joke and isn't to be taken seriously, this is the only real practical advice in the book and seriously trivialises the mental health issues the book aims to draw attention to. These issues are serious and advice more meaningful than "eat cake" would have been appreciated.