cover image Dig Hole, Soft Mole

Dig Hole, Soft Mole

Carolyn Lesser. Harcourt Children's Books, $15 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-15-223491-1

Dense, tactile rhyming couplets and serene paintings transport readers through the twin worlds of the star-nosed mole, which flourishes in water as well as in ground. While Mole may travel nearly blind, readers' eyes will feast on Regan's (Sun Song; Welcome to the Green House) softly textured, pristinely composed oil and gouache illustrations. Mole visits, variously, a lumpy, purplish-brown tunnel, where spooky bulb roots drape the ceilings (""Starry nose feels and goes./ Hidden ears hear wood frog toes""); murky-blue water, where snails sway on leafy pondweed (""Pulling feet, sculling tail,/ Furry boat without a sail""); daylit marsh with ""twiggy domes"" and cattails, muskrats and blackbirds; and indigo night, where white water lilies shine and a ""ghostly swan"" drifts. This lyrical, read-aloud romance will endear Mole and his underworld to children; it may even mellow the exurbanite's perfectly rational mole-malice. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)