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 from Writer

Hi writers!

I am currently a WTW ambassador, and I'm so excited to get the chance to review y'alls work. Let me know if you have a piece you'd like me to take a look at, and I'll give it a peer review!
A bit of info about me: I love to write, run, and bullet journal. I also am half-Swedish and trilingual. I am constantly writing, and I love the WTW community! :)

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse

January 19, 2021

There are many things I discovered this year that I did not know in 2019. Back then, I did not know I would someday need to wear a mask at the grocery store. I did not know I would be forced to do school online. I did not know about the mental health struggles I would soon battle or the time I would spend at the hospital. I did not know about protests that would overtake my city and country. And I definitely did not know that, after all the pain of 2020, a picture book would become my greatest comfort and favorite read. 
Over the years, “picture book” has become synonymous with “children’s book”. However, the two are not actually the same at all. And if you don’t believe me, one read of The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charles Mackesy will change your mind. 
The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charles Mackesy is the definition of a universal book. Although it is written in the format of a picture book and, unusually, does not contain traditional storytelling devices such as an arc or antagonist, it should be required reading for humans of all ages, genders, and religions. 
Balanced somewhere between a novel, picture book, and collection of poems, 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: straight-forward and to the point. But do not let the bluntness with which the book's messages are written trick you into believing that they are not important or complex. Mackesy's plain writing style does not undermine his lessons, but, instead, paints them with a clarity and child-like simplicity that reminds the reader of favorites "The Lorax" and "The Giving Tree". The simple writing also makes the books easier to understand and take in at all ages-- a critical element in a novel dealing with such foundational life lessons.
Each page of the book introduces a new piece of wisdom from the boy and his animal friends based on their observations of nature and one another. The advice this book gives ranges from silly ("'What's your reason to keep going?' asked the horse. 'Cake.' Said the mole") to quietly profound ("'I'm so small.' said the mole. 'Yes, but you make a huge difference.'" replied the boy). And although the book is about children, it is especially moving to older readers, as it is a reminder of how far we often stray from the kind and simple advice we give to children about self-acceptance and compassion. 
A page depicting a brief dialogue between the boy and the horse exemplifies the powerful, but concise, quotes Mackesy employs throughout his book to prove to the reader that it is not the length or complexity, but the quality and beauty of a phrase that leaves an impact.
"'What is your best discovery?' The boy asks. 
'That I am enough as I am.' Replies the horse."
In an age where social media has made perfection the norm, The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse reminds the reader that everyone has faults and makes mistakes. Mackesy proves this point through his words, but also in little, human ways throughout the book. For example with the stained ring from a coffee mug that he repurposes as a moon in one of his illustrations, or the brown footprints his dog tracked across the corner of another.
Little accidents like these, as well as the hand-painted font and images, give the book its comforting warmth. The personality that the drawings and messy handwriting impart make the reader feel as though they are reading a series of letters written to them by a dear friend. 
But it’s not only the illustrations that feel personal-- the entire book is packed with beautifully short quotes that seem perfectly tailored for the year we all just lived through, even though Mackesy had no clue a pandemic was coming when he first published The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse.
"'Those are dark clouds' said the boy.
'Yes but they will move on,' said the horse, 'the blue sky never leaves.'"
These words likely resonate with all of us right now, and I have found myself turning to them often lately. 2020 was an extremely painful and taxing year for me, and I spent several months in the hospital where I struggled with feelings of loneliness, isolation, and inadequacy. But as I have recovered physically and mentally, I have worked to rebuild my relationship to myself and others. This book has served as my guidebook through that journey of acceptance and can function as an anchor for anyone else who finds themselves getting swept up in fears of what tomorrow will look like.
The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse is filled with important reminders for any person, at any time, about self-love, gratitude, and hope, but it is especially fitting for the world today. At a time when the future is so uncertain and the present can feel incredibly bleak, we must focus on the messages of hope and strength this book provides. The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse thaws the heart, reawakens feelings of goodness, and, through its use of clear, concise language and dialogues, reminds the reader that the most complex issues in life are actually quite simple if you can return to core values of faith, strength, and love. 

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