Published by HarperOne
October 22, 2019
128 pages • Hardcover
978-0062976581 • $22.99
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
WALL STREET JOURNAL BESTSELLER
USA TODAY BESTSELLER
From the revered British illustrator, a modern fable 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 based on his famous quartet of characters. The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse explores their unlikely friendship and the poignant, universal lessons they learn together.
Radiant with Mackesy’s warmth and gentle wit, The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse blends hand-written narrative with dozens of drawings, including some of his best-loved illustrations (including “Help,” which has been shared over one million times) and new, never-before-seen material. A modern classic in the vein of The Tao of Pooh, The Alchemist, and The Giving Tree, this charmingly designed keepsake will be treasured for generations to come.
This is really a difficult book for me to review. Is it touching? Yes.
Is it inspiring? Of course it is.
Is it gorgeously designed and illustrated? There is no question; this book is gorgeous.
Have you already read every page of this book in every inspirational post or meme you've ever seen on social media? Absolutely. And therein lies my problem.
There's nothing very original in this book. For me, it feels as thought Mackesy scrolled through Facebook and Instagram and pulled random inspirational quotes he found and created a "story" around them. A boy goes on a journey of self discovery, befriending a mole, a fox, and a horse along the way. As they journey together, they all reflect on life and its meanings and possibilities, and it's all just so damned inspirational (this is true, it is), but it just feels like it has all been done before. Just not this beautifully. And that is the beauty of this book.
Mackesy's illustrations are stunning. The loose sketch and ink style he uses is a treat for the eyes (even if his blotching handwriting is sometimes hard to decipher). The splashes of color throughout pop the illustrations even more. I'm glad I own this book, if for no other reason than to pour over these illustrations from time to time.
The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse really is a beautiful book. Should it have had the end of year praise that it received from so many circles (Best Book of the Year!) and whatnot? In my opinion, no. But that's just me. My job requires me to be on social media more than I'd like, so I get inundated with these types of posts a lot, so for me it felt a little overkill. Yet, it remains a gorgeous book and worth reading and enjoying.