Cover image for Mole music
Mole music
McPhail, David, 1940-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Somers, NY : Live Oak Media ; New York : Holt, [2001, 1999]

â„—2001, 1999
Physical Description:
1 audiocassette (7 min., 31 sec. ; 7 min., 15 sec.) : 1 7/8 ips, stereophonic, Dolby processed ; 3 7/8 x 2 1/2 in., 1/4 in. tape + 1 book ([32] pages : color illustrations ; 26 cm)
Feeling that something is missing in his simple life, Mole acquires a violin and learns to make beautiful, joyful music.
General Note:
The book is published by Henry Holt and Co.
Side 1: Page turn signals -- Side 2: No page turn signals.
Reading Level:
AD 380 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 2.7 0.5 29940.

Reading Counts RC K-2 2.8 1 Quiz: 19807 Guided reading level: K.

Format :
Sound Cassette

Sound Recording


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
CASSETTE KIT 1170 Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



A Junior Library Guild Selection.

A Children's Book-of-the-Month Club Selection.

Mole has always led a simple life, but he begins to think that something is missing. When he hears a violin playing for the first time, he longs to make beautiful music. At first, Mole can only make horrible screeching noises on the new violin he gets, but he practices and practices. Finally, his patience and dedication are rewarded. Mole creates a magical gift that unbeknownst to him has the power to erase hatred from the hearts of all who hear his music.

Author Notes

David McPhail is the author and illustrator of many books for children, including the popular "Pig Pig" series. He lives with his family in Newburyport, Massachusetts.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 4^-8. Mole resides in a cozy home underground, living a pleasant if dull life, digging by day and watching television by night. After hearing a violinist on television, he sends away for a violin, and from that point on he devotes his evenings to music. Although at first he sounds terrible, he continues to practice for years until he becomes better than the violinist he first heard. McPhail gives us a picture book in the truest sense because the second part of the story is told strictly through the illustrations. A tree gradually grows over Mole's house. Children can see animals and then people being drawn to the tree by the sound of Mole's music, while, Mole, below ground, wishes people could hear him. McPhail's delicate watercolor-and-ink illustrations work with the simple text to create a lyrical celebration of music and musicians--even opposing armies stop their battle to listen to the beautiful sounds coming from below ground. Be sure not to miss the initial illustrations, which appear before the title page. --Susan Dove Lempke

Publisher's Weekly Review

In a starred review, PW said, "McPhail's delicate watercolor-and-ink paintings work seamlessly in tandem with the words to deliver a truly resonant message: that music can change the world." Ages 4-8. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 2-Mole finds that digging all day and spending his evenings alone leave him unfulfilled. Upon hearing a musician on TV, he decides to create his own beautiful music. After much patience and practice, he learns to play the violin more magnificently than the man who first inspired him. The passage of years is conveyed visually by the growth of the tree above Mole's home from little acorn to mighty oak. Mole's music is, at first, jarring and almost kills the tree, but as he becomes more skilled, the tree flourishes. Mole imagines sharing his glorious gift, soothing people's discontentment, and perhaps even ending disharmony in the world. Unbeknownst to him, he has achieved his dream. His lovely music has imbued the tree with an aura of tranquillity; animals and people are drawn to it by its serenity. Most of the pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations reveal Mole's underground activities in the lower half of the pictures and life aboveground in the upper half. McPhail's paintings aptly depict the calming atmosphere engendered by Mole's music. The story suggests that by doing something that brings pleasure to oneself, it is also possible to affect the lives of others in a meaningful way. A quiet story of a life well lived.-Maryann H. Owen, Racine Public Library, WI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.