illustrated by Vanessa Cabban
Mole’s new friend, Mouse, is so special, he doesn’t want to share her with anyone and decides to keep her a secret.
But some secrets are worth sharing.
“A lovely story for families to read to talk about why sharing our most precious things can bring about even more happiness.”
PICTURE BOOK CHALLENGE
Have this book
read by me on a
VIRTUAL SCHOOL VISIT
As read by
Tristan Gemmill on the
CBEEBIES BEDTIME HOUR
The first four Mole and Friends books have been very popular, with Mole’s adventures translated into 22 different languages around the world. However when my UK publisher Walker asked me to write a fifth Mole and Friends book, I decided the format needed shaking up a little.
One trait of the earlier books was that each had a predominant colour; blue for Bringing Down the Moon, green for No Place Like Home, white for Diamond in the Snow and brown for The Best Gift of All. This colour trait arose by chance in the first two books (illustrator Vanessa Cabban just happened to illustrate them predominately in those colours) but once I’d picked up on this, I wrote the next two stories with a colour theme in mind. However there are a limited number of colours that occur naturally in Mole’s woodland habitat and I decided it would be too awkward to write a story maintaining this colour theme for a fifth book.
Having freed myself of this restraint, I found it relatively easy to come up with new ideas and I wrote two new Mole stories almost simultaneously. I started off writing an ecologically themed story called A Sweet Taste of Summer, but while I was in the middle of this my editor, Ellen Holgate, suggested introducing a new character into the series. This seemed like a great way to shake things up a little further, but a new character wouldn’t fit easily into the plot I was working on, so I ended up writing a separate story, A Secret Worth Sharing, introducing Mouse, before going back and finishing the first story.
Having completed both, I couldn’t decide which one to send to Walker as my proposed fifth book. My wife and daughter both preferred A Sweet Taste of Summer, as did my agent Caroline Walsh, but I had a preference for A Secret Worth Sharing. In the end I decided to send Walker both stories and A Secret Worth Sharing is the one they chose.
Although Mouse is meant to bring something new to the series, she is essentially a slightly smaller, female equivalent of Mole and I think one of the reasons Mole is attracted to her is that he recognises her as a kindred spirit.
My favourite spread in the book is the one shown above where Mole shows Mouse the moon in the night sky, echoing his first sighting of the moon in Bringing Down the Moon. It’s not stated explicitly in the story, but there is meant to be a touch of romance in Mole and Mouse’s relationship and I think the need to share the things we cherish is a characteristic of the early stages of many romances.
“It’s a story that touches gently on why sharing with friends is a happier route than keeping things to yourself, but acknowledges that it’s normal to have these feelings, and I always think that this latter part is just as important as the former. … Vanessa Cabban’s illustrations have the perfect level of warmth and cuteness to go along with the story, doing a particularly wonderful job with the expressions on the characters faces, whether happy or sad.
A lovely story for families to read to talk about why sharing our most precious things can bring about even more happiness.”
PICTURE BOOK CHALLENGE