DISCLOSURE – THIS ITEM WAS GIFTED TO THE REVIEWER FOR THE PURPOSES OF WRITING THE REVIEW. ALL THOUGHTS AND OPINIONS ARE THE REVIEWER’S OWN.
Reviewed by new_mama
I have been a fan of artist Charlie Mackesy’s beautiful illustrations and thoughtful emotive quotes for a while, and like many find comfort in his Instagram posts which provide helpful reminders of messages to be kind to ourselves and others and encouragement that we will get through any difficult times. His recent 2019 collection follows the world of four unlikely friends ‘the boy, the mole, the fox and the horse’ and the story has captured hearts across the world. Now it has been published in several formats, the original book, the animated book, audiobook, audiobook vinyl and short film. For those that haven’t seen it I would strongly recommend watching the animated film whatever your age (it is being shown on Christmas Day on BB1 at 9.40am) as the heartfelt journey to find the boys home has aspects that resonate with most of us. I love the unique capturing of these unlikely friendships and the support that they offer each other, creating a surprisingly heart-warming story and set of relationships.
The characters themselves are easily loveable, captured beautifully in their illustrations. The mole is especially well known and liked given his addition of touchingly warm humour for his love of cake (my kind of character!). Having warmed the hearts of so many, Charlie Mackesy has met the frequent requests for individuals and families to have their own mole friend at home. A plush toy has been carefully designed and created by a UK family run team. When it arrived, I was delighted to say it was just as I had imagined the mole to be and there was something special about having him to hold. Measuring 30 x 16 x 16 cm overall, the soft toy comes in his own carry bag where he is easily removeable via a soft Velcro fastening to get him out for a cuddle. The simple colour palate of the whole character and bag is just perfect, matching the illustration and creating a really stunning design.
I was impressed at the careful balance of detail and simplicity as there is something very calming about the uncomplicatedness of the design and yet features such as the sewn on illustration of the cake on the bag bring a smile just by looking at it. The material is lovely, so soft (hand wash only), and seems to provide that sense of warmth and comfort one would expect to get from the character himself. The quality of the design is really evident, and I loved discovering that you can remove the moles navy coat. The retail price is higher than many plush toys, however more comparable with well known brands and the price does feel fair given the level of quality. It is certainly not your average children’s soft toy and I honestly think will be equally loved by adults and children. The mole has therefore been cleverly designed to be suitable for all ages, which I think is important given the wide audience the story relates to on different levels. Now to make the tough decision whether to keep him for myself or give him to my little girl!
The mole would be the perfect gift to a child or indeed anyone who already knows the character as it is somehow provides more than just a soft toy, but the sense of the mole himself. It really would be a lovely Christmas gift or a gift to show support at any time. I loved the message on the website which explains how the mole can remind us that we are loved and enough, that we need to look after ourselves, and that we will make it through the storm. Indeed reading the comments on some of Charlie Mackesy’s Instagram posts highlights his own kindness and generosity and I love how the man himself appears to abide by the messages he gives to others through his story. For those that haven’t yet come across this story I would encourage you to watch the animation, read the book and see for yourself what a wonderful creation it is. Thankyou to Charlie and his team for creating something that brings so much comfort and joy to all.
Available to purchase on Charlie Mackesys website where you can also find out more about this collection and his other works. Charlie Mackesy-The Mole