Charlie Mackesy’s drawings pulse with a genius so vivid and convincing that even with the book shut there’s a sense of something in motion and glowing inside. Were it not for the words, the artwork free-standing would make this book a bargain at twice the price.
It’s the words that do it in.
Saccharine, often cloying, this small book could double as a condiment for coffee drinkers who customarily take twelve sugars. One dunk should be enough.
An example. Beneath an evocative watercolor of the boy and the mole astride the horse walking on the snow ahead of the fox, comes this exchange. The mole asks the boy if his glass is half empty or half full. The boy answers: “I think I’m grateful to have a glass.”
In short order that’s going to be one thirsty kid.
No doubt, this morality story will become a companion in those curio catalogs featuring cat socks, glass angels and dove-covered antimacassars for $49.95. Nevertheless, the writing comes across as a compressed hybrid of Johnathan Livingston Seagull, and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
This is not to question the virtues underpinning the assumed origins of the book. But it’s doubtful it would sell many copies without the pictures.