Once, there was a young boy who met a mole. The mole was obsessed with cake, but otherwise made good company. Together, they rescue a fox caught in a trap. The fox in turn saves the mole – it sounds made up, but it’s true! After meeting the horse, the party begins a journey together across the wilds to take the boy home.

At least, this is my interpretation of the story. This didn’t feel like a graphic novel with a beginning, middle, and end so much as an illustrated journal, a sketch diary, and a gratefulness or wisdom log, all at the same time.

Most of the text is dialogue: conversations, little nuggets of wisdom, without much exposition. It’s presented in a way that recalls fairy tales and fables, with the cadence and rhythm of the prose. Just like those old tales, there is a lot of truth to this story, too. The characters talk to each other about believing in themselves, finding a home in the people you love, and to be kind. My only criticism of this book is the text itself, which was in a lovely script that truly fit the story and tone, but may be hard to read for some.

The illustrations are simply beautiful. They’re sparse, yet full of movement and life and texture. Most importantly, THE SKETCH LINES WERE LEFT IN, WHICH IS MY FAVORITE THING EVER!!! This is most evident in the horse, so of course, those were my favorite 😉 Most of the illustrations are in black and white, with a few important ones in color. All appeared to be in ink, with washes of either ink or watercolor.

I hope you pick up and experience this graphic novel for yourselves. Reading this felt like I went on a journey with the characters and came home to a nice warm bowl of soup. No matter who you are, you will find something for you in this delightful graphic novel.

– Kathleen

Mackesy, Charlie. The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse. 2019.