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The Boy, The Mole, The Fox, And The Horse is a 2019 bestselling illustrated book by Charlie Mackesy. It follows the developing friendship between the four protagonists of the title. It is the 2020 Waterstones Book of the Year. Enter the world of Charlie’s four unlikely friends, discover their story and their most important life lessons. The conversations of the boy, the mole, the fox, and the horse have been shared thousands of times online, recreated in school art classes, hung on hospital walls, and turned into tattoos. In Charlie’s first book, you will find his most-loved illustrations and some new ones too.

The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse by Charlie Mackesy


“I am so small.” said
the mole.
“yes,” said
the boy.
“but you
make a huge

“What do you want to be
when you grow up?”
“Kind” said the boy.

“What do you think
success is?” asked the boy.
“To love ” said the

“Well hello”
“Do you have a favourite
saying?” asked the boy.
“Yes” said the mole.
“What is it?”
“If at first you don’t
succeed, have some cake.”
“I see, does it work?”
“Every time.”

“Just a tiny taste”
” I got you a delicious
cake,” said the mole
“Did you?”
“Where is it?”
” I ate it,” said the mole.
“But I got you another.”
“Did you?
“Where is that one?”
“The same thing seems to have happened.”

“What do you think is
the biggest waste of time?”
“Comparing yourself to others,”
said the mole.
“I wonder if there is
a school of unlearning.”

“Most of the old moles I know wish they had
listened less to their fears and
more to their dreams.”

“What is that over there?”
“It’s the wild” said the mole
“Don’t fear it”
“Imagine how we would be
if we were less afraid.”

“I’m not afraid”
said the mole.
“If I wasn’t caught in this snare
I’d kill you,” said the fox .
“If you stay in that snare
you will die ,” said the mole.
So the mole chewed through
the wire with his tiny teeth.

“One of our greatest freedoms is how we react to things”

I’ve learned how to be in the present.”
“How?” asked the boy
” I find a quiet spot and shut my eyes and breathe.”
“That’s good, and then?”
“Then I focus.”
“What do you focus on?”
“Cake,” said the mole.

“Isn’t it odd: we can only see our outsides, but
nearly everything happens on the inside.”

“Be careful not to fall”

“So much beauty we need to look after.”

“Being kind to yourself is one of the greatest kindnesses,” said
the mole.

“We often wait for kindness… but being kind to yourself can
start now,” said the mole.

“Often the hardest person to forgive is yourself”

“Sometimes i feel lost,” said the boy.
“Me too,” said the mole,
“but we love you, and love bring you home.”

“I think everyone is just trying to get home,” said the mole.


“Doing nothing with friends is never doing nothing, is it?” asked the boy.
“No,” said the mole

“You fell – but I’ve got you”

“Everyone is a bit scared,” said the horse.
“But we are less scared together.”
“Tears fall for a reason and they are your strength not weakness”

“What is the bravest thing you’ve ever said?” asked the boy
“Help,” said the horse.

“When have you been at your strongest?” asked the boy.
“When I have dared to show my weakness.”
“Asking for help isn’t giving up,” said the horse.
“It’s refusing to give up.”

“Sometimes I worry you’ll all realise I’m ordinary,” said the boy.
“Love doesn’t need you to be extraordinary,” said the mole.

“We all need a reason to keep going.” said the horse. “What’s yours?”
“You three,” said the fox.
“Getting home,” said the boy.
“Cake,” said the mole.

“I’ve discovered something better then cake.”
“No you haven’t,” said the boy.
“I have,” replied the mole.
“What is it?’
“A hug. It lasts longer.”

“Nothing beats kindness,” said the horse. “It sits quietly beyond all things.”

“Sometimes,” said the horse.
“Sometimes what?” asked the boy.
“Sometimes just getting up and carrying on is brave and magnificent.”

“How do they look so together and perfect?”
asked the boy.
“There’s a lot of frantic paddling going on beneath,”said the horse.
“The greatest illusion,” said the mole, “is that life should be
(my dog walked over the drawing- clearly trying to make the point)

“Is it the moon ?” asked the boy.
“It’s a tea cup stain…” said the mole, “and
where there’s tea, there’s cake.”
Be curious.

“Life is difficult-
but you are loved.”

“So you know all about me?”
asked the boy
“Yes,” said the horse.
“And you still love me?”
“We love you all the more.”

“Sometimes I think you believe in me more than I do,” said the boy.

“You’ll catch up,” said the horse.

“The fox never really speaks,” whispered the boy.
“No. And its lovely he is with us,” said the horse.
“To be honest, I often feel I have nothing interesting to say,” said the fox.
“Being honest is always interesting,” said the horse.

“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,”
“Well we love you wether you can fly or not.”


“Is your glass half empty or half full?” asked the mole.
“I think I’m grateful to have a glass,” said the boy.

“We don’t know about tomorrow,” said the horse.

“All we need to know is that we love each other.”

“When the dark clouds come
…keep going.”

“When the big things feel out of control
…focus on what you love right
under your nose.”

“This storm will pass.”

After the storm

“We have such a long
way to go,” sighed the boy.
“Yes, but look how far we’ve come,”
said the horse.

“Sometimes I want to say
I love you all,” said the
mole, “but I find it difficult.”
“Do you?” said the boy.
“Yes, so I say something like
I’m glad we are all here.”
“Ok,” said the boy.
“I’m glad we are all here.”
“We are so glad you are here too.”

“What’s your best discovery?” asked the mole.
“That I’m enough as I am,” said the boy.

“I’ve realised why we are here,” whispered the boy.
“For cake?” asked the mole.
“To love.” said the boy.
“And be loved,” said the horse.

“What do we do when our hearts hurt?” asked the boy.
“We wrap them with friendship,
shared tears and time, till they
wake hopeful and happy again.”

“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.”

“Home isn’t always a place is it?”

“Thank you”

The end.

“Look how far we’ve come.”

“Sometimes all you hear about is the hate, but there is more love in this world than you could possibly imagine.”

“The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse” Book Read Aloud Youtube Video


So what conversation will you have with your child after reading this book?

Some questions you might like to ask are:

The story is written by?

Charlie Mackesy

What is our greatest freedom?

How we react to things

We often wait for what?


Who is bit scared?


What is the bravest thing done by Horse?

Ask for help

What other conversations or questions might you add? Please leave a comment below.

Next: Watch The Very Hungry Caterpillar Book Read Aloud

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