Hi there, Maggie Shaw here, proud owner of Eregendal and author.
As a lifelong lover of reading, each month I choose one of my favourite books- and tell you all about it!
For April’s Book of the Month I have chosen The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy (2019).
This thoughtful book was given to me by a close friend for my birthday this year. To her surprise, I had already come across some of the cartoons in the book as people had posted them on Facebook. It was lovely to be given my own copy of the original, especially as the book celebrates the enduring qualities of true friendship.
The story follows a lonely boy who makes friends with a mole. Although the mole is small, the creature makes a great difference to the life of the boy. They then come across a trapped fox, which the mole rescues. The fourth friend they make is a large horse with hidden qualities which are later revealed. Mackesy says in the preface that although the four characters are very different, he sees parts of himself in each one.
The charm of the book lies in the cartoon-like captioned drawings which illustrate truths about true relationships. Mackesy said that the first illustration came about through a conversation with his friend Bear Grylls, when they discussed what courage really looks like. Mackesy said the bravest thing he had ever done was when he was struggling and had the courage to ask for help. Already a cartoonist with the Spectator, Mackesy chose to draw this. He then posted the cartoon on Instagram and forgot about it, until he had requests from hospitals, institutions, and the army PTSD treatment unit asking to use it, because asking for help is such an important starting point for therapy and recovery.
One of my favourite cartoons in the book is a double page sequence towards the end of the book, illustrated with two simple drawings:
“Do you have any other advice?” asked the boy.
“Don’t measure how valuable you are by the way you are treated,” said the horse. “Always remember you matter, you’re important and you are loved, and you bring to this world things no-one else can.”
This beautiful book celebrates the timeless gifts of friendship and would make a lovely present for a dear friend, in the way it had been given to me.
So there we have it, April’s Book of the Month! Be sure to check back in May as I’ll be revealing another must read.