Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Danny, Who Fell in a Hole

Danny, Who Fell in a Hole

Cary Fagan
For ages 7 to 9
Groundwood Books, 2013   ISBN: 978-1554983124

One day Danny’s parents make an announcement that turns his whole world upside down. They are going to live apart for a year or two so that they can independently pursue their dreams. Dad will live in New York so that he can be an opera singer, and Mom will live in Banff where she will bake cheesecakes. Danny and his big brother Doug will live with their mother during the school year, and in New York City during the holidays and summer. The family home is going to be put up for sale the following day.

All of this is very upsetting for Danny, who does not want to move to Banff, who loves the house he lives in now, and who does not appreciate the fact that his parents made all these decisions without consulting him at all. What makes the whole thing so much worse is the news that Danny’s parents have given away his dog. In a fury Danny runs out of the house. He runs and runs because if he doesn’t he might “explode.”

Danny ends up on a construction site which is where he accidentally falls down a very deep hole. For a while he tries to find a way out, which does not work. He tries to find a way to tell the world that he is down there, which does not work either. Apparently cell phones don’t work very well underground. All Danny can do now is to wait and hope that someone finds him soon.

Danny takes an inventory of what is in his backpack, and one of the items he finds is a harmonica. He plays the instrument (not very well) and as he is playing he hears a humming noise. When he stops playing the humming also stops. Then a most extraordinary thing happens. A mole digs its way through the wall of the hole and it asks Danny why he has stopped playing. Danny can hardly believe his ears. He has never seen a mole before, let alone one that can talk. The mole is actually quite chatty and it talks away until it decides that it is time to be off to go “a-beetling and a-bugging.”

For a while Danny is on his own again. He does the homework that was in his backpack, and then the mole comes back. This time Danny tells the mole his story, and the mole returns the favor by telling Danny about his life. The mole’s tale is a simple one about his birth, his puphood, and his solitary life, which suits him perfectly. He is not too keen on all the big machines that humans use. They are very disruptive to the life of a small and unassuming mole.

Danny then has to deal with rain, anxiety about what is going to happen to him, and there is even a snake to contend with. It turns out that falling down a hole can be quite an adventure.

This wonderful tale takes readers on a very full little adventure.  When something very unusual happens to him,  a boy who discovers a little about himself and about life. He finds out that he can deal with all kinds of challenges, and that he a surprisingly deep well of courage within him.