"Le Premier Nöel De La Famille LaTaupe" is one of those very special finds, in a giveaway box outside a used bookstore. Numerous times, boxes contained titles that moved me. Russell & Lillian Hobans' 1969 animal Christmas story is such a one. I thought it might be Canadian and like a few French selections on-hand. It's a translation of English authors but I love it. Animals follow typical roles separately from humans but speak, most of them read, and are cognisant of human activities. Moles aren't knowledgeable of external surroundings because they're underground and have only developed weak eyesight. Another effect of their environment is that seasons make no discernable mark on daily living. The routines of Dad and son digging tunnels and Mom mending and cooking, don't alter.
They are happy but the son craves a surprise, something new, and ventures on a walk. He finds it as soon as he's above ground. He chats with a mouse, who mentions Christmas and explains what it is. He also remarks on the lovely sky and learns that a mole's sight is too dim to perceive stars. Wishing to behold them, the mole deduces that a telescope would elongate his vision enough to make it possible. He also reasons that he could request one of the "man in a red suit". The mouse is unsure requests are granted to animals but will help the mole compose a letter. His family will try to fashion a chimney above their tunnel by Christmas eve. However while above ground, they must watch out for owls.
Whether for education or adventure, some children's stories portray moments of angst. There is no upset nor disappointment here. What unfolds are wholly inspiring events, that only touch your emotions in a way that leaves you bright and happy.