“Cole the Mole” is a lovely illustrated book chock-full of rhymes and assonance (near rhymes) that will make it a pleasure to read aloud. The friendly, bright-eyed protagonist helps kids learn prepositions and phrasal verbs of motion through his brave expedition, and the language, though clearly instructional in intent, is natural and unforced. The book, along with its accompanying section of mini-chants that use the same illustrations and offers a chance for readers to speak aloud, will be particularly appreciated by the parents of children who are growing up bilingually. This little adventure will help kids keep their prepositions straight while vicariously enjoying the courage of Cole.
- Deryn Verity, Ph.D.,
Professor (Osaka Jogakuin College)
Instructor, Pedagogical English Grammar (Columbia Teachers College)
Peter Cassidy has the rare gift of inspiring children to step just beyond their comfort zone for the sake of the learning more, is playful with language, and is able to rhyme the narrative story all at the same time. Cole the Mole has the courage to leave his protected sanctuary underground because of his curiosity and has an autonomous drive to learn. Cole sets out on a journey to travel beyond his boundaries in order to discover what the sun means to him. It’s a story you will want to read with your child to the rhythm of your own beat.
- Nanci Graves & Stacey Vye
Autonomy in Practice (Columbia Teachers College)
What I really liked about the book is its inspirational message. It encourages children to set goals, to be independent, brave, and determined, to experience the joy that comes with following dreams, and to take pride in accomplishments (just as Cole does). The mole decides to explore the world above his hole; he sets off by himself on his self-appointed journey and persists even though "leaving his home was not easy" and he feels "nervous and scared." Because he conquers his fear, he has fun on his adventure and, in the end, feels proud of himself.
The protagonist is instantly likeable; his friendliness, curiosity and stuffed-toy cuteness make him an appealing character, and his actions and reactions are credible. Cole's situation is certainly one with which children will be able to identify because every child experiences trepidation at some time when venturing outside his/her comfort zone. The book can serve as a great starter for a conversation about the importance of adopting Cole's positive attitude.
This book is a pleasure to read aloud. The many rhymes and half-rhymes allow the reader to use rhythm, and children love rhyme and rhythm. The Mini-Chants included after the story provide an interactive element where children can reply to the question, "Where's Cole the Mole?" The simple but colourful illustrations clearly reinforce the meaning of the text, and the repetition of these illustrations in the Mini-Chants serves to assist the child in joining in with the appropriate response.
Besides providing an inspiring message, the book also provides language instruction, specifically in the use of prepositions and phrasal verbs of motion. To augment the book's usefulness as an educational tool, several online resources are provided.
In an interview, the author, a pre-kindergarten teacher in Japan, stated that Cole the Mole, when spoken quickly, sounds like kodomo, the Japanese word for "child." This detail, as well as the book's dedication to the author's daughter, suggests the love and care given to the writing of this book. I look forward to reading about Cole the Mole's future adventures.
- Doreen Yakabuski, a former teacher of Peter
(Grade 11 English and Grade 13 English at Timmis High and Vocational School)
"Cole the Mole" is a spunky little fellow. His curiosity gets the better of him, and he decides to venture outside the safety and knowability of his hole in order to discover what exists beyond his own limited environment.
Ever so slowly, Cole eases up from the tunnels below the earth. He is cautious but steadfast in his resolve to reach the world above the ground. At last he reaches the top and stands in amazement at the warmth of the sun.
He ventures five steps and then ten. Then, he decides to venture fifteen and then twenty steps. All the time, his safe haven hole is visible as he takes baby steps in his exploration of the world above.
In all, Cole concludes that he "met the sun" and "had a good run" and he is satisfied to return to his hole and to the safety of what he has already known and felt.
The story is one to which preschool children will easily relate. At the end of the story is a section called mini-chants. While looking at pictures, children can read positioning words which will help them with placement phrases once they start to school. It will also prove to be a good first reader for many children. The illustrations are beautifully done. They are sure to catch the eye of the child. While this book has an excellent message on having a positive attitude it can also be a learning tool.
- Dr. Karen Pirnot for ReadersFavorite.com