Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Review: THE BOY, THE MOLE, THE FOX AND THE HORSE by Charlie Mackesy

Rating: 4.5/5 stars 

This is a lovely little story about friendship and self-worth.
“Don’t measure how valuable you are by the way you are treated,” said the horse. “Always remember you matter, you’re important and you are loved, and you bring to this world things no one else can.”
At first when I saw this book at the bookstore, I judged it harshly because the entire thing was handwritten in messy half-cursive that’s hard to read sometimes, and I couldn’t believe the publishers let the book be published like that.

Then this book won the 2019 “Book of the Year” award at Barnes and Noble. Being a bookseller there, I walked by the display every day and saw the book fly off the shelves and sell out across the country. And I couldn’t believe it! This little mess of a story beat out all the other books for “book of the year”?

Then I finally started hearing what people had to say about it: it’s beautiful, timeless, and breathtaking. People wish they had grown up reading it as a child. People were gifting it to everyone they knew. And it was then that I realized I needed to read it for myself to understand all the hype. It’s not too long; it won’t take that much time.

Well I just read this story, at 11:30 at night while waiting for my Fitbit to charge enough so that I can put it back on before I fall asleep. I finally read this book that I’ve heard nothing but praise about for months.

I shouldn’t have judged it so harshly before I read it.

This story really is lovely. It’s less of a story and more of a collection of quotations and maxims about life accompanied by simple watercolor drawings of a boy, a mole, a fox, and a horse, who all become friends. You could open up to any page in this book for a short positive pick-me-up because almost each page is a self-contained quotation within the overall story.

It starts with a boy who befriends a mole. They talk about life and cake. Then a fox comes along and then a horse comes along and gives them advice. They talk about friendship and happiness. It’s short and sweet while still being honest and powerful.

There are lots of great concepts in this book to teach to children (or to adults, because we all forget the simple truths): be grateful for the little things, remember you are valuable and loved, no one’s life is perfect, you will be okay in difficult situations, there is so much beauty in the world to notice, believe in your dreams instead of your fears, etc.

Honestly every page could inspire a whole conversation. It’s a very inspiring and powerful book that’s full of positivity and definitely worth a read. Don’t judge it before you read it like I did because you’re missing out.
“What’s your best discovery?” asked the mole.
“That I’m enough as I am,” said the boy.”

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