The B&N Podcast: Charlie Mackesy on our Book of the Year

Every author has a story beyond the one that they put down on paper.

In this episode we’re so pleased to be joined via phone by the artist and author Charlie Mackesy, whose wonderful new book The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse has just been selected by Barnes & Noble Booksellers as our Book of the Year. Mackesy, who lives and works in the United Kingdom, is a lifelong artist and illustrator whose works in both pen and ink and paint can be found in the British magazine The Spectator and in many books. But when Mackesy posted to Instagram a deceptively simple drawing of a boy atop a large horse, engaged in a dialogue and about courage, the internet took notice, and the artist found his work reaching an audience he’d never expected. That single drawing grew into a charmingly illustrated story in which a young boy and three animals wander through a beautifully rendered English countryside, and talk about life, love, acceptance, and, not to be forgotten, cake. There’s a quiet grace about Macksey’s work that has found the place in the hearts of readers around the world. Bill Tipper spoke to Mackesy by phone from his home studio, where he told us about the conversations that led to his work, and an unexpected visit from one of his book’s wild counterparts.


Perfect for gifting, our Exclusive Edition of our first B&N Book of the Year is a gorgeous package that features a cloth binding and heavy paper in a larger trim size that brings out the rich colors and the beauty of the Charlie Mackesy’s artistry. A truly inspiring and beautiful gift.

From the revered British illustrator, a modern fable for all ages that explores life’s universal lessons, featuring 100 color and black-and-white drawings.

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” asked the mole.

“Kind,” said the boy.

Charlie Mackesy offers inspiration and hope in uncertain times in this beautiful book based on his famous quartet of characters. The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse explores their unlikely friendship and the poignant, universal lessons they learn together.

Radiant with Mackesy’s warmth and gentle wit, The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse blends hand-written narrative with dozens of drawings, including some of his best-loved illustrations (including “Help,” which has been shared over one million times) and new, never-before-seen material. A modern classic in the vein of The Tao of Pooh, The Alchemist, and The Giving Tree, this charmingly designed keepsake will be treasured for generations to come.

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See all of the 2019 Book of the Year finalists.