Mole’s rudeness abates when his polite friends demonstrate the art of camaraderie and apologies.
Seeing that Mole is carrying a big, heavy box with a big keyhole in it, Pig offers his friend a lift. Pig asks, “So, what’s in the box?” and Mole rudely retorts, “NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!” Angrily, Pig slams on the brakes, causing Mole to catapult out of the convertible. Pig’s friends, Hippo, Girl, and Mouse, agree Mole is very rude—and everyone is curious to find out what the box contains while Mole is gone. Attempts at rocking it, rolling it, and trying to bash it open with a hammer are futile. Mole (uninjured) catches up, opens the box, locks himself in, comes out, entices the group to enter, then sneakily locks them in. Mole laughs at his deceit, but the music, laughter, and singing noises coming from the box make him feel left out. “What are you doing in there?” “NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!” Wanting to join the fun, Mole unlocks the box. All rush out, knocking Mole down and apologizing immediately. A chastened Mole is also sorry, and friendship prevails—but readers never learn the contents of the box. Unstated details unfold in small sequential scenes against a mostly white canvas, the soft-edged cartoons enhanced with emphatic dialogue often set in a bold, capitalized font. Girl is paper-white with a black pageboy.
It’s a subtle lesson in politeness, perhaps overshadowed by the lingering mystery at the end. (Picture book. 3-5)