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Eeny, Meeny, Miney Mole
Jane Yolen; illustrations by Kathryn Brown

published 2018 • 9.5" x 10.5" • 32 pages • full-color
ISBN 9781623719869 • hardback • $17.95

“Just as children often wonder about the earth beneath their feet, the littlest mole here sets out to discover the world ‘Up Above.’ When Eeny is told by her sisters that there is light as well as darkness, winter and summer too, she tries to imagine these concepts in familiar terms, envisioning light, for example, spreading like a blanket. Finally she burrows out of her hole and experiences spring. In its celebration of the duality and complexity of nature, Yolen’s inventive text abounds with wisdom and humor—her imagery and linguistic skills lift the tale far above the ordinary. The older moles scold, ‘Don't listen to addlepated centipedes’—using the kind of large, old-fashioned words children love to hear. When Eeny ponders things she has never seen, she thinks imagistically, like a poet: ‘She wondered if light . . . touched in and out like the thread in the hem of a dress.’ Brown's gracefully droll watercolors—more mature in technique than in her earlier Mule dred—portray the underworld with fanciful touches: an acorn serves as a doll’s carriage, a jonquil becomes a periscope. The palette of befogged earth tones is complemented by scattered spots of luminescence when lanterns, fire and glass light up the underworld. Ages 4-8.”
Publishers Weekly

“PreSchool-Grade 1—Meeny and Miney Mole are quite content in their underground home where, ‘dark was light, day was night, and summer and winter seemed the same.’ When their little sister Eeny, on her burrowing expedition, hears from other below-ground creatures that possibly in ‘Up Above’ all is not the same, her sisters don’t want to listen. But Eeny can’t help but wonder, and one day she digs up and reaches the world above. There she discovers light, day, and spring. The text is carefully constructed, with thoughts building upon one another and reality clothed in poetic contemplation. This is also a book of opposites, of questions, and of astonishing answers. While the narrative tends to be heavily controlled, the watercolor illustrations lighten the overall effect. The characters have such full and individual personalities, and the vision of all the rooms visited is so complete, that readers will be drawn into each earth-brown picture. Young Eeny is especially engaging as she pulls her doll in its acorn wagon, a shovel by her side, energy and innocent determination in each stride. A notable effort by both author and illustrator.”
School Library Journal

“Eeny, a tiny mole who lives with her big fat sister Miney and tall pointy sister Meeny, has heard astonishing rumors: ‘Up Above there is both day and night.’ Though her tradition-bound sisters discount what worms and centipedes may say, Eeny is determined to see for herself. And so she does, bringing back a floral token of spring to their well-furnished burrow. Yolen's poetic narrative is expertly paced and has a nicely varied repetitive pattern, giving the familiar story of venturing forth into new territory a fresh flavor. Brown’s watercolors are just right: the ménage is homey, though with clues to its being underground; the older sisters are visibly set in their ways, while Eeny (like Henkes’s mice) is sweet but refreshingly persistent. Perfect for sharing aloud. (Picture book. 4-8)”
Kirkus Reviews


Eeny, Meeny, and Miney Mole live at the bottom of a deep, dark hole. In that hole, dark is light, day is night, and summer and winter seem the same. Meeny and Miney are perfectly content to stay down in the deep, dark hole all by themselves, safe and warm. But Eeny has heard there's something wonderful Up Above. She wants to know what it is. So she goes to find it. 

The amazingly prolific Jane Yolen, has been called “America’s Hans Christian Andersen.” She is the distinguished author of over 300 books, including Fairy Tale Feasts, Jewish Fairy Tale Feasts, Owl Moon and Devil’s Arithmetic. She lives on an old farm in western Massachusetts with numerous moles who do not seem to be afraid of anything. She enjoys taking walks along the river near her house and visiting people, including her editors—in fact, she wrote this book in the office of one of them.

Kathryn Brown has illustrated numerous highly-acclaimed picture books for children. She lives with her husband and their daughter near Jane Yolen in western Massachusetts. She did not, however, use the moles on Jane Yolen's farm as models for this book. (They were too hard to catch.)

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