Delia Rune

United States

-Born in NYC, half-Swedish, lived in Germany, currently in TX
-I love to write, read, sew, run, and bullet journal!
-16 years old

Message to Readers

Can I please get peer reviews on this piece? I missed the opportunity for expert reviews, and I really need help! thank you!

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse

January 11, 2021

"The boy the mole the fox and the horse" by Charles Mackesy is the perfect definition of a universal book. Although it is written in the format of a picture book, it should be required reading for humans of all ages, genders, ethnicities, and religions, not just kids. And although this book does not contain traditional storytelling devices such as a plot, arc, character development, or antagonist, it is a captivating read for parents, children, and grandparents alike.
Balanced somewhere between a novel, picture book, and collection of poetry, "The boy the mole the fox and the horse" is best described as a series of bite-sized life lessons told through the playful undertakings of, as you may have inferred from the title, a boy, a mole, a fox, and a horse.
The title is not only an introduction to the book's characters, but also the first indicator of its tone: simple, straight-forward, and to the point. But do not let the clarity and bluntness with which the book's messages are conveyed trick you into believing that they are not important or complex, Mackesy's plain writing style does not undermine his messages. Instead, the clarity with which he writes simply makes "The boy the mole the fox and the Horse" easier to understand and take in-- a critical ability for a book that deals with such foundational, but complex, concepts about life.
Each page of the book introduces new pieces of life wisdom as the boy and his animal friends embark on new adventures. The advice this book gives ranges from silly (for example, "cake makes everything better!") to more profound (the purpose of life). Often times, the book can be especially moving to older readers, as it reminds them of the things they may love to tell to children, but may not be so good at telling themselves. 
For example, one of my favorite quotes from the book is on a page depicting a brief dialogue between the boy and the horse. "What is your best discovery?" The boy asks. "That I am enough as I am." Replies the horse.
The hand-painted font and image of the horse and the boy talking below the text aid in giving the book a comforting warmth and personal touch. The personality that the drawings and unique handwriting make the reader feel as though they are reading a series of letters written by a dear friend just to them. 
Advice that is both incredibly obvious and also deeply profound, such as that quoted above, continues throughout the book. Another quote that depicts this, once again accompanied by a beautiful watercolor illustration and sloppy cursive, is as follows:
"'Those are dark clouds' said the boy.
'Yes but they will move on,' said the horse, 'the blue sky never leaves.'"
This book is fitting for the world today, as we could all likely use a reminder of the blue sky that remains below the dark cloud that has been 2020.
Personally, 2020 was an especially difficult year for me, as I battled mental illness and spent time in the hospital. But as I have recovered and tried to regain my love for myself and faith in the universe's goodness, this book has told me the words I needed to hear.
Even now, "The boy the mole the fox and the Horse" continues to quiet my inner-critic when I am not able to give myself the comfort and love I deserve. I wish I could have read this book right when I was beginning to struggle with mental health because I think its advice about self-love, community, resilience, and faith can give anyone who is having a hard, day, week, or year the reminders they need to carry on.
And, because 2020 has been so difficult for so many, I think this book provides valuable advice to everyone, and I recommend it wholeheartedly to everyone I know. At a time when the future is so uncertain and the present can feel incredibly bleak, it is imperative that we focus on messages of hope and strength, and this book provides that. "The boy the mole the fox and the Horse" is a cup of coffee for the heart. It reawakens feelings of goodness, and by using the clear, concise language and dialogues traditionally found in children's literature, it reminds the reader that the most complex issues in life are actually quite simple if you can return to core values of love, strength, and faith. 

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