cover image Mole Music

Mole Music

David M. McPhail. Henry Holt & Company, $17.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-2819-5

In this tender-hearted picture book, McPhail (Tinker and Tom and the Star Baby) goes underground--literally--to explore the restorative powers of music. Mole feels something is missing from his life, which consists of digging tunnels all day and kicking back in front of the TV in his subterranean home each evening. One night Mole watches a man playing the violin on television (""He made the most beautiful music Mole had ever heard"") and resolves to obtain his own violin and learn to play it. His initial attempts with instrument in hand could hardly be called music, but with great determination and practice, Mole soon coaxes gorgeous sounds from the strings. As Mole wonders what effect his music might have on an audience, McPhail cleverly depicts the melodious notes floating up through the ground to appreciative listeners and transforming the world into a more peaceful place. The illustrations chart the aspiring musician's progress through the seasons, as the sapling above his rooftop flourishes on a steady diet of his euphonious tunes. The brief, simply phrased text brims with big ideas that may inspire many a young musician or artist. McPhail's delicate watercolor-and-ink paintings work seamlessly in tandem with the words to deliver a truly resonant message: that music can change the world. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)