Karen Little, Library Assistant and English Language Learning Instructor, recommends The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy (available in English and Spanish).
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” asked the mole?
“Kind,” said the boy.
This is just one of many musings from a curious cadre of friends who are on a journey questioning life and what the future holds in the graphic novel, The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse. The contemplative boy is one of four unlikely characters that Charlie Mackesy, author, artist, and illustrator, brings together for an adventure into “the wild.”
The book follows the conversations between an inquisitive boy, an erudite mole, a withdrawn fox who wants to belong, as well as an insightful horse. During their amblings, the friends share hopes and fears and engage in straightforward, down-to-earth, and heartfelt exchanges, such as:
- “Asking for help isn’t giving up,” said the horse. “It’s refusing to give up.”
- “Most of the old moles I know wish they had listened less to their fears and more to their dreams.”
- “We often wait for kindness…but being kind to yourself can start now,” said the mole.
- “Is your glass half empty or half full?” asked the mole. “I think I’m grateful to have a glass,” said the boy.
- “What do you think is the biggest waste of time?” asked the boy. “Comparing yourself to others,” said the mole.
- “Nothing beats kindness,” said the horse. “It sits quietly beyond all things.”
- “I’m so small,” said the mole. “Yes,” said the boy, “but you make a huge difference.”
- “Do you have a favorite saying?” asked the boy.
“Yes,” said the mole.
“What is it?”
“If at first you don’t succeed, have some cake.”
“I see, does it work?”
The friends are all different, yet they connect and find common ground through acceptance, vulnerability, curiosity, respect, and kindness.
Each time I read this story, I discover another wonderment or revelation. The handwritten font and original drawings are delightful, and the script is a change from the traditional formal font found in most books. It is a refreshing read, particularly in the unsettling and fractured times we live.
This is a book for all ages and there is something for everyone, especially when one ventures into “the wild” and explores beliefs, thoughts and values that unite us: Friendship. Acknowledgment. Cooperation. Patience. Inclusion. Empathy. Gratitude. And Kindness.
We’ve seen many acts of kindness in the past few weeks, as our community has come together in extraordinary ways to offer relief to those who suffered from the fire at the Limelight Condos. A couple dozen individuals lost their homes and possessions, and people in our valley have provided places to stay, money, food, physical help, and material necessities. The Gold Mine Thrift Store continues to offer free shopping for victims of the fire to help restore some of what was lost in the tragedy.
Our world can always experience a little more kindness.