Animals to the rescue. Again.

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse

By Charlie Mackesy

Published by HarperOne

Rating: Four paws!

There is no dog in this book, but for once, it is ok.

The Animals in this book are the ones with all the answers and the human boy seems to need all the help he can get. We animals are good at that, helping people with a lot of their two-legged problems. Our perspective is different, not just because we are a bit closer to the ground but we have so few worries beyond our “creature” comforts.

This book, has a long, interesting title (and it could have been a little longer if they had added ‘and a dog’). There are not a lot of words, but the author, Charlie Mackesy, used the ones he chose, very well. The illustrations are simple, but beautiful and very clear. They make the words better, which is what the pictures are supposed to do.

Now, as you read this book, some of it may feel familiar. Winnie the Pooh comes to mind and for big people, there was a comic strip called Calvin and Hobbes, which is about a boy and his stuffed tiger. Both of these were about conversations between a person and a more advanced life form.

Among us dogs, we have our own stories about chats with those of you with only half as many legs as is proper. But we don’t share them. Sometimes at night, when you hear us talking to our friends in the neighborhood, we are sharing those stories with our pals. You people are pretty funny in our stories. So much crazy!

There are some funny parts in The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse, but it is mainly about some basic life lessons. Good, peaceful ideas. At times, you can imagine some of the pages being made into a poster or a T-shirt, but most of them are very thoughtful. I am surprised a person wrote this. He must have had a lot of time on his hands to figure things out.

We dogs are often accused of sleeping a lot, but really we are figuring out how best to help our pets get through the day. We call it “slinking” or “sleep thinking.” Cats, on the other hand, just slink. And then sleep. Cats.

So, here’s a funny example from the book:
“There’s something I haven’t told you,” said the horse.
“What’s that?” said the boy.
“I can fly, but I stopped because it made other horses jealous.”

And the boy follows with, “Well we love you whether you can fly or not.”

The book has a nice balance of silly and sweet, much like a banana dipped in peanut butter. We dogs rarely are given that treat but is a good example of living a balanced life through food.

Some of my humans have read this book and they like it as well. It is not just a book for little people. I think it would be useful for the older ones as well. I think the author, Mr. Mackesy, should be very proud of his book although I would not be surprised to find out he had a bit of help from someone with a few more legs.

You can check the availability of this book on the Charles Town Library website,, or talk to one of the helpful humans at 304-725-2208.

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