The Return of Mouse and Mole

Back in 1993, an utterly charming, quiet book was published and captured the hearts and imaginations of so many. So, when I received the information that Graffeg Press was going to re-issue these books, I was beside myself with joy. That Mouse and Mole would be available to a new generation of readers is so wonderful. I had to give it a special shout on Fallen Star Stories.

author: Joyce Dunbar 
illustrator: James Mayhew
Graffeg Press (16 May 2019)
ISBN: 9781912050406
Those great friends Mouse and Mole always spend their days together. But what will they do tomorrow? That all depends on what sort of day it is. If it's lovely and fine, they plan for a picnic with cheese and cucumber sandwiches, taking their new picnic basket to a nice, quiet spot in the sun. If it's a wintry sort of day, they will just stay home in front of the fire and toast muffins and roast chestnuts. But what will Mouse and Mole do if it's an in-between sort of day? Well...something in-between, like tidying up. It always needs to be done. It doesn't really matter what they do, as long as they are in it together.
Love this picture of mole coming downstairs with his hot water bottle!
Such a wonderful, warm, gentle series, Mouse and Mole are perfect for sharing, reading aloud and for young, newly competent readers to read on their own. The adventures of these two friends are full of quiet humour and witty banter, bringing delight to even the gloomiest and most restless sort of days. They are quite philosophical in their own right and do touch on concepts that require consideration; friendship, environment, being flexible when settling disputes, allowing feelings to be what they are and compassion and understanding; without making a huge noise about these things which would spoil the tale. Mainly, they are charming, holding attention with their depiction of everyday life. I love the chapters on 'tidying up', pointing out the frustrations and feelings of the typical, yet so funny. Mouse and Mole hold their own alongside the great characters and stories of childrens' literature. The intimate world view of these two friends give a nod to the world of The Borrowers, with the small cosiness infused in the pages. There are echoes of Wind in the Willows, with the antics of the animal community living quite a human life.
And of course, they hearken back to those other two animals friends, Frog and Toad, the series for young readers written by Arnold Lobel in the 1970s (a big favourite in my house.) Mouse and Mole are even dedicated to 'dear old Frog and Toad.' The simple, funny, sometimes poignant text of Joyce Dunbar sits alongside the wondrous full-colour illustrations of James Mayhew gracing every page; with exquisite detail and expression creating illustrations that take the reader directly into the world of Mouse and Mole...and trust me, you'll want to stay there. Wonderful, wonderful tales that will win the hearts of children and adults alike; quietly joyous (and don't we all need that?). Simply timeless.

All four Mouse and Mole books are due out this Thursday, 16 May. I suggest you read them all.

(p.s. If you haven't yet got your hands in the Frog and Toad series by Arnold Lobel, I suggest you seek them out.)


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