The Golden Mole and other living treasure – Review

Author – Katherine Rundell.

Illustrator – Talya Baldwin

Pages – 208

Publishing Information – Faber & Faber, 20th October 2022

The One Sentence Review

Beautifully written and illustrated, The Golden Mole: and other living treasure is a passionate love letter to the fauna we share this Earth with – and a warning of the marvels we stand to lose.

The Blurb

The world is more astonishing, more miraculous and more wonderful than our wildest imaginings.

In this passionately persuasive and sharply funny book, Katherine Rundell tells us how and why.

A lavishly illustrated collection of the lives of some of the Earth’s most astounding animals, The Golden Mole is a chance to be awestruck and lovestruck – to reckon with the beauty of the world, its fragility, and its strangeness.

A swift flies two million kilometres in its lifetime. That’s far enough to get to the moon and back twice over – and then once more to the moon. A pangolin keeps its tongue furled in a pouch by its hip, a Greenland shark can live five hundred years, a wombat once inspired a love poem.


The Golden Mole is such an extraordinarily beautiful book, inside and out.

With its gold sprayed edges, gorgeous illustrations and lovely flowing entries for each creature, it would make the perfect gift.

Of course, I bought it for myself. But it would make a great gift!

It’s a book that makes you feel peaceful, whilst a little sad at how endangered some of these animals are and the role humanity has played. Katherine Rundell has a fantastic grasp on how to keep your attention, sparked by the curiosity of Talya Baldwin’s wonderful illustrations at the beginning of each chapter. With a mix of culture, history and nature, Rundell is able to paint a brief picture of each creature ‘s story; their past, present and future. Most you will be relatively familiar with, though you’ll probably learn something new about each and if you didn’t already, really come to appreciate why each animal is so special and remarkable in its own way.

This is a warm hug of a book that is around 200 pages in length, so it never feels like a slog – it’s just really nice. Well paced, well thought out, enough information to be interesting without ever becoming dry or dull.

And the highlight is probably that the author’s passion and wit really shines through, to the extent that you feel like she is sat with you for a hot coffee while it’s cold and raining outside, telling you about these extraordinary creatures while you relax.

A real gem and a book I’ll treasure forever.


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