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3.77  ·  Rating details ·  585 ratings  ·  149 reviews
Torben Kulhmann's stunningly illustrated, nearly wordless tale offers a fascinating window into an imaginary, yet hauntingly familiar world under our feet, where a mole suddenly recognizes the precarious balance between progress and preservation. But is it too late?

Kulhmann's open ended text encourages thoughtful exploration into possible solutions, and his delightful endp
Hardcover, 26 pages
Published October 1st 2015 by NorthSouth Books (first published January 20th 2015)
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Average rating 3.77  · 
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Dec 31, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

A surrealist picture-book, almost without words, about the foundation and development of a mole city; it's a bit like John Marsden's The Rabbits and a bit like J.G. Ballard's Billennium but has a style all its own. There is a beautiful animated trailer version here.

A remarkably apposite passage from Pynchon's Against the Day, which I came across a couple of days later:
In the center of town, some huge underground construction venture was in progress, citizens stood o
Aug 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Cautionary tales for kids who can’t do a darn thing about the original problem. It’s sort of a subgenre of its very own. As I hold this lovely little book, Moletown, in my hands I am transported back in time to the moment I first encountered The Lorax by Dr. Seuss. A child of the 80s, my youth was a time when scaring kids straight was an accepted educational technique utilized in everything from environmental protection to saying no to drugs. The film version of The Lorax bore this out and gave ...more
Sep 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Moletown manages to make its case by employing very few words: the industrialization of Moletown has had a devastating impact on the environment and the moles seem stuck in a cycle of working and watching tv. Hmmmm.
Torben Kuhlmann is a brilliant illustrator but I found this book to be very dark (literally) and depressing. My kids really didn't care for this, though they loved Lindbergh- The Tale of a Flying Mouse and Armstrong- The Adventerous Journey of a Mouse to the Moon. I would highly re
Jul 11, 2015 rated it really liked it

Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley.

I never really thought about moles much until I read William Horwood’s Book of Silence Trilogy and his Duncton Chronicles (the actual reading order should be Chronicles and then Silence). I liked Wind in the Willows, but I was a Ratty person, if you know what I mean. But after journeying with Horwood’s Privet, Mayweed, Rooster, and others, I’ve never looked at mole the same way.

Which is why when I saw this book as a read now option on Netgalley, I downloaded it.

Jul 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of Torben Kuhlmann / Young Readers Who Enjoy Animal Fiction
The fabulously talented Torben Kuhlmann, the German author/illustrator who made his debut with Lindbergh: The Tale of a Flying Mouse , returns with this second picture-book, an almost wordless history of the development of Moletown. Founded when one mole moves in underneath a green meadow, the settlement soon grows, becoming ever more complex and developed. The surface soon shows the result of this underground urban sprawl, with only a tiny patch of green grass left...

Originally published in
Aug 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
I would like to thank Netgalley, NorthSouth Books and the author – Torben Kuhlmann for a free digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

It is hard to rate this book, as it has almost no text, but the pictures are amazing and the idea is something a lot of people are trying to shout out to the world - it is of course about progress moles make and its impact on environment.

This is a little children's book which has more pictures than actual text and I think is a perfect way for p
Nearly wordless, the mole society in this book makes tons of "progress," ...but at what cost?

This is going to be a fantastic book to read along with The Lorax or The Little House. The illustrations are so rich; I think I'd like multiple copies so kids can pore over the details!
Jul 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Another stunningly illustrated (this time wordless) picture book from rising star (and 2015 Golden Island prize winner of Nami Concours) Torben Kuhlmann. His detail and visual storytelling sense (in this and his 2014 Lindberg) are a pleasure to experience.
Edward Sullivan
The rise of a mole metropolis underground takes an environmental toll. A stunningly illustrated cautionary tale.
Jun 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: picture-books
This would not be the first, nor the tenth book I would use to have a conversation with a child about the environment and the impact humans are having on it. I wouldn't avoid it altogether, but its message is so suddenly bleak and if you don't look at the inside back cover page, you will miss the tiny (oversimplified) glimmer of hope.
May 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: i-own, wonderful
wow , it was sooo pretty, the paintings and to think that there was this deep meaning behind it. it was just great
I uh... I don't... know? quite how to rate this?
Feb 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
At what point does progress stop being a positive and instead destroy the entity it was meant to benefit? Moletown is a timely tale about a society of moles who build a society in their ancestral home. Overtime however, as their city grows and their inventions become bigger and louder, their home slowly shrinks. In this day and age as we debate the merits of policies that protect our habitat, Moletown offers a simple, yet powerful entry point for children to understand the trade offs our society ...more
Oct 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I don't need/want to repeat everything others have said in praising this book. What I do want to do is point out some subtle yet powerful moments and themes to look for and to discuss with your little reading partner, dark though they may be:

- Watch the worms. They start out maintaining their own existence in the margins, then they are pushed out and disappear as the frame expands, then they wind up being literally sold by their former neighbors. There's a slavery parallel here that's remarkable
Andrea Lorenz
In this nearly wordless picture book, Torben Kuhlmann creates a world of seemingly robotic moles who create their own little industrial revolution in the middle of a green meadow. The illustrations in Moletown are detailed and intricate - worth spending several minutes on each spread, investigating all of the little nooks, crannies, crooks, and hidey-holes that Kulhmann has created for the moles. The story, however, is clearly written for adults as an allegory of what is happening in our own soc ...more
As Bill Teale stated, "Another stunningly illustrated (this time wordless) picture book from rising star (and 2015 Golden Island prize winner of Nami Concours) Torben Kuhlmann. His detail and visual storytelling sense (in this and his 2014 Lindberg) are a pleasure to experience."
Feb 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
One of the best children book I have ever seen. Only images very few words. Perfect.

Uno dei piú bei libri illustrati per bambini che abbia mai visto.
Aug 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully illustrated, almost without words.
The pictures speak for themselves.
Cara Byrne
Jul 18, 2016 rated it liked it
Bizarre, but beautiful, this nearly wordless picture book explores the industrialization of a peaceful meadow when more and more moles occupy the land underground.
Dec 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Moletown is a hardcover, illustrated children's book with only a few words on the first and last pages. The story begins by telling us about one mole who discovered a beautiful, green meadow and lived there by himself underground. As the story progresses, we see more moles arrive. At first it's just a few more who live in separate areas underground. Eventually, there are too many moles to count. Underground has morphed into this giant dig, with pulleys, carts of dirt being excavated, and even ma ...more
Okay, not exactly wordless, since it has a sentence or two at the end, and again at the beginning, but the majority of the book is a set of pictures illustrating development of the titular Moletown. There is a lot of fun and entertaining design in the pictures, though one thing that seems a bit odd to me is that most of the time the moles have their own mole-sized technology, but in some scenes they are shown using human-sized tech, evidently scavenged and adapted for their own purposes. It is a ...more
Soobie's scared
I bought the English Edition because it was way less expensive than the German one. I'll do my penance in the near future. ^__^

I bought Moletown because I'd read Lindbergh by the same author and I feel in love with it. This one is a bit different, though. The story is told mostly via images and via words.

It's a cautionary tale, a sort of parody of what is going on in our world. The little mole, who used to be alone, slowly became part of a society and later the society started to became a sort
Jul 01, 2017 rated it liked it
This is mostly a wordless picture book with only a few words in the very beginning. This would probably not be a book I would use for a read aloud, or shared experience, because the pictures are very detailed and they take a while to digest. What I would probably do with this book is pair it with a book like The Lorax and others that deliver a great environmental message in different ways. I would place it in a station and have the students discuss what they find and what the messages they think ...more
Jul 16, 2017 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This was my second book by this author, with "Edison" being my first (it was great!). This one has the great pictures, but it's very short. It is a picture book with very little text (first and last page only). The pictures are fantastic! I love the steampunk elements that it has. I didn't enjoy 'reading' it as much as the other because it didn't feel as thoughtful. It's about how we're impacting our world with technology and need to go green, and political children's books are not my thing (sim ...more
Kris Dersch
May 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
I don't know how to classify this nor do I know how I feel about it. The word that comes to mind is chilling. The illustrations are staggering, the plot, with very few words, opens the door for all kinds of discussion. It's not a picture book purely for adults nor is it purely kidslit, nor is it really for all ages because I wouldn't share it with very young kids. But it is an interesting book and I would for sure recommend it be widely read.
Lynn  Davidson
Sep 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
A fabulously illustrated, almost wordless book - the story is about a mole who moves into a lovely green meadow. Eventually, more and more moles move in and progress changes the quiet meadow into a bustling underground metropolis. Through illustrations the reader sees that progress can get out of hand.
Aug 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-kidz-read
Beautiful illustration in this allegory about resources' consumption. I think the build-up is easy to follow even by the younger children and they can very easily draw parallels between humans and the moles. Really liked that the optimistic ending is actually featured on the inside covers. I think it can spark very interesting discussions about why it's not in the actual story.

Müni (MuenisBookWorld)
May 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
I love the illustrations in this book.
Torben Kuhlmann does the best drawings for children.
What I did miss in this book was the text.
There are only 1-2 sentences. That's because the pictures tell the whole story.

Sometimes a simple picture can tell a whole story.
Nov 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Reminiscent of both "The Lorax" and "The Little House", this is a thought-provoking nearly wordless story of one lone mole that grows to a community, to a densely-populated metropolis. The story touches on immigrants, industrialization, rapid population growth and crowding, to preservation.
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Torben Kuhlmann (1982) is a German communications designer, illustrator and picture book author. He studied Illustration and Communication Design at the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences . In 2014 he published his first book, Lindbergh - The adventurous story of a flying mouse, the product of his graduation thesis at the college.

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