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12 beautiful books like The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse

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Photo of Scotland's Glen Garry valley by Tim Rüßmann

Since its publication in 2019, The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse has been recommended everywhere.

With its charming blend of wholesome illustrations and wise words, millions of readers have fallen in love with the book – and if you’ve read it too, it’s easy to see why.

If Charlie Mackesy’s modern classic holds a special place in your heart, what should you read next (or give as a gift)?

First up, I’d absolutely recommend the audiobook of The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse with sounds from the British countryside and music by Max Richter and Isobel Waller-Bridge.

The animated version and companion book are also fantastic.

If you’ve already read these – or you’re ready for new authors and adventures – here are some of my favourite books like The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse for more timeless stories and stunning illustrations.

From the book companion to the animated version of The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse
From the book companion to the animated version of The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse

The best books to read next if you loved The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse

The Last Tree: A Seed of Hope by Luke Adam Hawker

Read The Last Tree for… a gorgeous new book for 2023 that evokes the fragility of our natural world but also offers a hopeful celebration of its beauty.

In this book for fans of The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse we witness a world without trees; a quiet, forlorn place in which the rustling of leaves and the magnificence of the overstory are only distant memories.

However, a young girl comes along who’s brave and spirited enough to follow where her imagination takes her. As she follows those callings, she sows the seeds of new life.

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Read The Little Prince for… the timeless story of a young prince’s travels through space, offering a beautiful and sometimes heartbreaking meditation on human nature.

How could I not mention The Little Prince? This children’s classic book is one of the best pairings of beautiful illustrations and gently wise words of all time.

Weaving a profound story about a young prince and the single rose he carries, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s beloved classic teaches us about loneliness, loss, love, and friendship.

The Journey: Big Panda and Tiny Dragon by James Norbury

Read Big Panda and Tiny Dragon for… a life-affirming book about friendship and hope, offering a similar mix of beautiful pictures and words as Charlie Mackesy’s bestseller.

Big Panda and Tiny Dragon is perhaps the most popular book to read next if you loved The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse. The original book was published in 2020, and The Journey is the follow-up from 2022.

This is a beautifully illustrated and mindful journey of two friends through the seasons, inspired by Buddhist philosophy and infused with comforting wisdom about life.

How to Be a Good Creature: A Memoir in Thirteen Animals by Sy Montgomery

How to be a Good Creature

Read How to Be a Good Creature for… Sy Montgomery’s wholesome memoir of her life with animals, complete with stunning illustrations by Rebecca Green and timeless lessons about what it means to live a good life.

In this gorgeous reminder of the beauty of life, Sy Montgomery elegantly shares the bonds she has developed with pigs, dogs, and even an octopus during her life so far.

It’s a memoir about the plethora of ways in which her animal friends have helped her to be a good creature, too. I’ve shared this book as a gift so many times.

Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne

Read Winnie-the-Pooh for… one of the best children’s classic books of all time, full of wholesome interactions and life lessons for readers of all ages.

A.A. Milne’s children’s classic is delightful to read alone, but also wonderfully complemented by Benjamin Hoff’s soothing philosophical guide, The Tao of Pooh.

Whether you tumble into the world of Winnie-the-Pooh for the first time or the hundredth, the stories can be such a wonderfully wise source of comfort, joy, and simplicity.

Noticing by Kobi Yamada and Elise Hurst

Read Noticing for… a heartwarming story about noticing the little things, the grand big things, the imaginary, and sometimes, hidden things.

While researching this post, I came across this beautiful new book for 2023 that combines gentle words from bestselling author Kobi Yamada and wonderful illustrations by Elise Hurst.

Told through the tale of a young girl and an accomplished painter as they learn to observe the beauty and magic in each day, Noticing is a much-needed call to slow down, breathe deeply, and open our hearts and imaginations.

Zen Shorts by Jon Muth

Read Zen Shorts for… the captivating story of Stillwater, a giant (and very zen) panda bear.

In this picture book for little ones (and big ones) who adore inspiring stories filled with love and simplicity, John Muth pairs stunning illustrations with thought-provoking meditations on Buddhist wisdom.

Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth by Oliver Jeffers

Read Here We Are for… an award-winning and heartfelt hug of a book about finding a place for yourself on Earth.

Turn the wise pages of this beautiful book for a celebration of the diversity of our planet and neighbours.

This picture book (which feels so much more than that) was written in the first two months of Oliver Jeffers’ son’s life as, he writes in the book’s dedication, “I tried to make sense of it all for you”.

How to Be More Paddington: A Book of Kindness

Read How to Be More Paddington for… an uplifting book brimming with the wholesome philosophy of everyone’s favourite bear.

We could all do with being a bit more Paddington. This book is your guide to doing just that, offering a plethora of insights from Paddington’s unique and heartwarming take on life.

The Dark by Lemony Snicket and Jon Klassen

Read The Dark for… a universal and empowering story about conquering your fears from two treasured talents of children’s literature.

In this comforting and reassuring story, we find a tale of one boy’s fear of the dark and how he comes to understand its presence as just another part of life.

Like Lemony Snicket’s popular Series of Unfortunate Events, it’s another timeless book for readers of all ages.

Together by Luke Adam Hawker

Read Together for… a strikingly perceptive and hopeful book about journeying through difficult times.

From Luke Adam Hawker, the author of The Last Tree, comes this comforting book from 2021.

As we follow the story of a man and his dog as they navigate uncertainty and change, we’re reminded that when we seek companionship and connection, we can uncover new reservoirs of strength.

Rules for a Knight by Ethan Hawke

Read Rules for a Knight for… award-winning actor Ethan Hawke’s timeless guide to life’s most important questions, channeling the ancient teachings of Eastern and Western philosophy.

Written as an unforgettable fable, this wonderful book is told from the perspective of a knight who, fearing he may not return from battle, wants to leave a record of all he knows.

What follows is a compass for his children to live good, meaningful lives in his absence – and a life-changing book for readers young and grown.

This book isn’t paired with beautiful illustrations like others on this list, but its timeless words make up for it. It’s brimming with wisdom, and the lovely hardcover makes for a perfect gift.

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