A fresh anthropomorphic kids’ chapter book by debut author Ferrett.
Endingen Mole is an orphan living a quiet existence, using checklists provided by Madame Victoria, the only other mole he knows. One fateful day, his cupboard falls down, revealing a map that triggers long-buried memories and compels him to re-evaluate his solitary routine. He creates an adventure checklist that includes a visit with Mr. and Mrs. A. and E. Molesworthy of Lengnau, described as an “interesting couple.” He packs his knapsack full of tasty treats and embarks, electing to walk aboveground rather than tunneling, as moles generally do. He soon learns the hazards of such travel when he’s wounded by a falling branch. However, he meets new animal friends who help him, and he soon reaches the Molesworthys, who turn out to be a delightful older couple named Albert and Edwina. They’re thrilled to see Endingen, and they not only feed him, but also teach him about his heritage. He learns his real name—Thomas Tobler—and the truth about what happened to his parents. Despite the Molesworthys’ warnings, he continues on to Hillfoot House to claim his birthright from the clutches of his evil uncle, Julius; as predicted, greater dangers exist there. Yet another children’s tale featuring talking animals may seem like a trite idea. However, this book manages to be charming, as it immediately evokes both Winnie-the-Pooh and Beatrix Potter’s works. It features a few illustrations, mainly black-and-white drawings that add little to the text; however, its full-color map is sure to excite children’s imaginations. Also, the fact that Thomas/Endingen is an independent orphan seeking his own way will appeal to young readers. Although it’s clearly derivative of classics of children’s literature, it proves precisely why their tropes are perennial favorites.
A delightful story for independent readers and a fine read-aloud for younger children.