MAYBE, A MOLE by Julia Cunningham


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This is another of Cunningham's sentimental stories told in that half-cute, half-hushed manner that reeks with serf-importance and the expectation of an awed reception. There are five separate episodes here, all demonstrating the compassion; honor and fidelity of Maybe, a mole who is exiled by his peers because he is different (he can see). Maybe moves in with a companionable fox after his dedication to his new friend -- which he proves by digging to the point of collapse to help the fox find a treasure -- converts the other animal from exploiter to friend. Elsewhere the risks and efforts Maybe undergoes in order to keep a bargain inspires a previously cynical mouse to similar lengths. When Maybe (who looks to us like a masochistic loser) isn't exhausting himself by dragging a foolish old turtle to safe harbor, or rolling about on burning rugs "without regard for his singed fur or the pain of the burns" in order to save a lady's "ring of roses" from fire, he is watching the fox and the hound risk their lives for each other. Perhaps we are meant to conclude that the mole's anomalous physical vision is paralleled by an ability to discern some as yet undiscovered altruism lurking in the hearts of beasts. Suck is the nature of the cozy, unilluminating glow that Cunningham has been casting from Candle Tales (1964) to The Treasure Is the Rose (1973) -- despite more than a hint of stronger fires in Dorp Dead.
Pub Date: Nov. 18th, 1974
ISBN: 0440455626
Page count: 96pp
Publisher: Pantheon
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1974


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