ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Charlie Mackesy is a British cartoonist and illustrator who resides in London. He has worked as a book illustrator for the Oxford University Press. A true artist at heart, Charlie loves painting, sculpting, drawing, and listening to jazz music. He was also part of the group of artists that produced The Unity Series in 2006. These are a set of lithographs inspired by Nelson Mandela’s sketches and reinterpreted by the respective artists.
The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse is a graphic book consisting of drawings and quotes.
The protagonist, a boy, is seemingly lost as he attempts to find his way home. As his animal friends join him in his quest for home through the wilderness, they have several meaningful conversations. The author strives to keep the emphasis on the message rather than the characters. He does not name these characters or even depict their faces very clearly in the drawings. As a result, the readers can easily see themselves in any of the characters and form a strong connection with them.
When the author first started his illustration of the boy, he was struggling with his own feelings. Mackesy had had a conversation with his friend, Bear Grylls, on the topic of courage and what it really meant to be brave. He had narrated an incident wherein the bravest thing he could do was ask for help. He drew an illustration of a similar conversation between the horse and the boy, which became an instant online sensation. Mackesy was surprised to learn that hospitals, institutions, and even the Army were using it to treat the patients suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Mackesy’s drawings are in ink and have a beautiful combination of black, white, and other colors. The book does not have a dust jacket, but rather a beautifully illustrated cover featuring the title in a copper-colored metallic script. There are many pages full of heart-warming illustrations, with no words on them.
By the end of the book, the boy realizes that home is not always a place. It can also be a feeling of being with one’s loved ones. Thus, he eventually finds his true home.
WHAT WE LIKED ABOUT THE BOY, THE MOLE, THE FOX AND THE HORSE
Some one-liners in the book are all about life and its profound meaning. The author explores the topics of love, friendship, trust, and affection, which the world desperately needs in times of the ongoing pandemic.
WHAT WE DID NOT LIKE ABOUT THE BOY, THE MOLE, THE FOX AND THE HORSE
It is a rarity to have a book that is as flawless, heart-warming, and as brimming with positivity and kindness as The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse. It comes across as no surprise that it went on to become the Wall Street Journal Bestseller #1, the New York Times Bestseller, and the USA Today Bestseller.
“What is the bravest thing you’ve ever said?” asked the boy.
“Help,” said the horse.
“Sometimes I feel lost,” said the boy.
“Me too,” said the mole, “but we love you, and love brings you home.”
Most of the old moles I know wish they had listened less to their fears and more to their dreams.
The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse deserves nothing less than 4 stars out of 5. The author’s words are as ingenious as his art. Together, they make you reflect upon life and look deep within yourself. While this is a book you can read anytime, it is particularly helpful when one is feeling low. Going through these conversations can instill a newfound self-belief and positivity into the most pessimistic readers.
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