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Mole Music

4.21  ·  Rating Details  ·  315 Ratings  ·  73 Reviews
A spiritual story about the far-reaching effects of private actions.

Mole has always led a simple life, but lately he feels something is missing. When he first hears someone playing a violin, Mole realizes that he longs to make beautiful music, too.

Through practice and patience, Mole learns to play. And even though he plays alone, in the privacy of his underground home, his
Paperback, 32 pages
Published October 1st 2001 by Square Fish (first published 1999)
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A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan DoyleFiddler on the Roof by Joseph SteinVirtuosity by Jessica MartinezPieces by John von DalerZin! Zin! Zin! A Violin by Lloyd Moss
Violin books
8th out of 140 books — 38 voters
Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin by Lloyd MossDrum Dream Girl by Margarita EngleThe Man with the Violin by Kathy StinsonPlay, Mozart, Play! by Peter SísThe Composer Is Dead by Lemony Snicket
Picture Books About the Art of Music
7th out of 119 books — 14 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 502)
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Oct 25, 2015 Juli19 rated it liked it
This is the story of a mole who lived alone. One day he got tired of doing the same thing. One day he was watching television and he saw someone playing music so he decided to play the violin. At the beginning only horrible sounds came out of his violin but with practice he got better and better until one day beautiful tunes came our of his violin. He imagined that a large audience could listen to his songs and maybe his music could change the world but what he did not know is that he had audien ...more
Feb 08, 2010 Connie rated it really liked it
Mole felt a bit empty, so he sent away for a violin and taught himself to play. We can see what he can't, the world above him, so we can see the effects of his improving music. As he gets to be very good he daydreams about changing the world with his music, unaware that he already has.

This one has simple words and simple pictures to go with it, but a message that is suited for just about any age group. Actually, what it reminds me of is Jordi's Star or maybe The Tin Forest in its message, that y
Jun 23, 2014 Karen rated it it was amazing
My five-year-old son picked out this book from the library last week.

Sometimes I feel like Mole. I feel like I work in a tunnel and alone and I wonder if any of the work I do matters. It does matter -- I may never know how -- but it does matter.

What a wonderful lesson for very young children to learn early in life. Listen to your soul and make your own "music". I doubt if many of the children hearing or reading this understand fully that important message, but it is likely they will not forget
Jared White
I really love this book. I love the illustrations and the story is wonderful. Mole has a routine that he does everyday: he digs his tunnels, eats his dinner while he watches tv, and then goes to bed. He's somewhat happy but feels there's something missing and then one night, as he watches tv, he sees someone play violin and falls in love with the music. Mole is determined to have a violin and learn to play it. Slowly, he does. Through the years he plays and plays, imagining he's playing for an a ...more
The Book Maven
An enterprising mole decides to bring more beauty to his life by learning how to play the violin. Oh, if only that were the limits of this ultimately disappointing picture book. The illustrations are gorgeous, but the message is not one that I'd be really enthusiastic for my child to internalize: the mole begins to dream about becoming a concert violinist, performing for queens and presidents, touching peoples' lives and changing the world...

...and then he laughs at himself, talks himself out of
Aug 22, 2008 Becca rated it it was amazing
This is my list of All Time Favorite Children's Books. It has beautiful and symbolic illustrations with the message that one person can really change the world...and not even know about it.
Bambini Travel
Sep 16, 2014 Bambini Travel rated it it was amazing
Mole Music is perfection. Every now and then a picture book comes along where the words and the illustrations dance in perfect harmony. Paired together they tell a story whose heart, humor, or true meaning can only be understood with both parts. Mole Music is such a book. It is a beautiful story about a mole who hears someone play the violin on TV and longs to make music. He orders a violin and diligently practices in his underground hole every evening. What makes the book magical, is the effect ...more
Inhabiting Books
Mole spends his life digging tunnels and feels something is missing from his life. One night after hearing a beautiful violin performance on TV, Mole sends for a violin. When it arrives, he is discouraged at first by how badly he plays. But with persistence he builds his skill, and his playing becomes a solace in his lonely life.

Our library does a program called Family Tunes & Tales that we LOVE, where 3 to 5 members of the Memphis Symphony come and play music that corresponds to a book read
Crystal Smith
Jun 22, 2011 Crystal Smith rated it really liked it
Mole Music s a lovely picture book about a mole who spends his days digging tunnels. He is happy enough, but realizes that something is missing from his life. When he sees a man playing the violin on television, he is inspired and says to himself, “I want to make beautiful music, too.”

He receives a violin by mail order and teaches himself to play. It takes time for him to master the instrument, but he persists. He eventually learns to play even better than the man on television, and his music ha
This is a beautiful book that tells just as much of the story with the illustrations as with the words. It is not only about the healing power of music, but the ability of each individual to make a difference in the lives of others. The words are simple, but the message is deep and meaningful. Is is one to be read more than once.
Oct 29, 2015 Kris rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent children's book to listen to; it's nice for children, but adults will like it too.

I found it on Overdrive through the library and enjoyed it as an eAudiobook.

It's short, the music is delightful, and the story is cute.

I love this book! Mole is simply darling. The illustrations are fabulous and the story laid out in the text is wonderful. It's a great book for showing children (and adults!) that patience provides rewards and that the most important thing in life is enjoying what you do, even if nobody else is around to witness your achievements. In other words, take pride in your accomplishments! I especially liked that unbeknownst to Mole, his music had a positive impact on the world above him. This is anothe ...more
Aug 30, 2015 Rowan rated it really liked it
Shelves: try-again-later
This is a beautiful story, but a little over Rowan's head right now as half of the story really comes from being able to interpret the pictures with the story. Definitely one we will pick up again later.
Jun 18, 2011 Megan rated it really liked it
Cushion Concert, Monticello Public Library, June 17, 2011

Mole learns to play the violin and dreams of someday playing for an audience and changing the world. Unbeknownst to him, his music is floating up above his tunnels and forest creatures, plants, and even opposing armies are listening to his music. A lovely introduction to the power of music.

The library used this book as an introduction to a "cushion concert" where a violinist from the Lafayette Symphony Orchestra came to demonstrate her ins
Oct 15, 2014 Allie rated it it was amazing
This was (an still is) my absolute favorite picture book. It's adorable, the illustrations are simple but magical, and the story is beautiful.
Wooden Horse
Feb 05, 2014 Wooden Horse rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
I love this book. We don't keep it on the shelf so much anymore because it a bit closer to a library book than it is to a gift book.
The Book Box
Mar 19, 2015 The Book Box added it
Shelves: library
This book was read to me at a library program called Tunes and Tales. A quartet from the Memphis Symphony Orchestra played along!
Holly Brown
Nov 28, 2012 Holly Brown rated it it was amazing
In this book, Mole spends his time digging tunnels. One day, as he is watching TV, he sees somebody playing a violin and decides that he wants to learn to play the violin. He starts out not playing well at first, but he keeps practicing. His violin playing changes the world around him.

I am a musician, so I love that this book is teaching the importance of music! I love seeing how Mole's music changes the world around him.

I would use this book to show my students the importance of music. This is
Ashley Stone
Mole is bored with his life underground. He watches his television one night and sees someone playing a violin so he decides to order a violin for himself. When the violin arrives, Mole plays horribly but as time goes by he gets much better and never realizes that he has an audience above the ground that loves his music. This book would do wonders with a theme of music appreciation or something along the lines of “practice makes perfect.” I loved the idea that the mole was entertaining an audien ...more
Shellie Foltz
Jul 25, 2014 Shellie Foltz rated it it was amazing
I loved this book and I loved sharing it with students when they visited the library.
Jun 22, 2009 Carolyn rated it it was amazing
Mole decides to pursue a new hobby one day and orders a violin. At first, he doesn't sound very good, but as time goes on, his talent and enjoyment both increase. McPhail's brilliant story and illustrations show how much of a difference we make, even when we think nobody is listening.

This picture book made me cry. Maybe it's because I play the violin, but I think it is because of the message of this book. It reminds me that we can never know how many people are affected by the things we do, but
Mar 15, 2014 Christyc rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kids-books
Persistence and music and beauty changing the world.
Julie Canter
Mar 19, 2014 Julie Canter rated it it was amazing
Wonderful book about creativity!
Mar 02, 2016 JoAlice rated it it was amazing
Loved it. It was a book recommend through Reading Rainbow.
Jay Bushara
Feb 13, 2013 Jay Bushara rated it it was amazing
McPhail is prolific as a writer and illustrator; there's hardly anyone whose books are more recognizable. This is one of his best: the sweet and simple story of a mole who orders, learns and assiduously practices his violin for the private joy that it gives him, entirely regardless of the effects his music is having on the world where he cannot see it. With a tree as a microphone. For anyone who's ever spent hours banging on instruments, and wondered where it was taking them.
Jan 31, 2014 Trisan rated it really liked it
Shelves: child-2
Jan 23, 2013 Leona rated it it was amazing
beautiful story about the power of art to transform lives. mole hears beautiful violin music so decides to learn to play. he practices and practices and gets better and better and he thinks no one hears because he's underground but his music comes up for all the farmers to hear as they work the fields, and eventually soldiers hear his music when going into battle and put down their arms in response to the beauty of his music.
Mar 19, 2016 Shannon rated it it was amazing
Shelves: music, picture-book
It's best with the book and audio read by Jim Weiss.

From the Greathall Site: Written by David McPhail; unabridged reading by Jim Weiss.
Mole spends his days alone in his underground burrow until one night he hears the sweet sound of a violin...then sends away for a violin of his own. Kindhearted Mole's music goes from a screeching to symphonic and finally changes more lives than his own.
Jul 03, 2013 Eloise rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Diane Marsh did a prezi using this book, which made it really effective for the 6-8-year-olds in summer reading. The program allowed her to zoom in and discuss the pictures and also had music background. The story is a nice reminder that one person really can change the world--at least his or her personal world.
Feb 18, 2008 Laura rated it really liked it
With 3 small children, I read a lot of children's books, and I'm not going to add them all. But I added this one because I just happened upon it during our last library trip, and I love the juxtaposition of the words and pictures and the overall message about music. And like mole, I play the violin.
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David was born in Newburyport, Massachusetts and attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. While there, he began illustrating. He is now an award-winning author and illustrator of nearly 200 books beloved by children, parents and librarians across the United States. McPhail has garnered many prestigious awards, including a New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Book of the Year ...more
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