Malo and the Merry-Go-Round

Image of Malo and the Merry-Go-Round
Release Date: 
March 24, 2020
Princeton Architectural Press (Adult)
Reviewed by: 

Malo and the Merry-Go-Round is a feel-good story with wonderful captivating artwork that will be an instant favorite.”

Quirky and unexpected, Malo and the Merry-Go-Round is a cute fable with a moral attached, but a fun one to chew on and think about. Poor Malo, really is not all that bad as his name implies, only innocently selfish. He lives in such a wonderful place where folks are tolerant and accepting and gently help Malo to correct the errors of his ways. Lucky guy!!

Malo is a unique and fun-loving critter. With a long whiskery snout, cute-as-a-button squirrel ears, and a tiny flippy tail poking through yellow shorts, Malo (and his friend Poto likewise) could be moles, rats, coyotes, dogs—or possibly their own brand of a creative combination of species. Whatever they are, they are downright cute. 

One very pretty day, Poto was making pickles, which Malo had apparently previously committed to doing as well. But something else proved to be a much greater intrigue to Malo and justified pulling him away from his word: fun! Malo must have thought that making pickles would not be very much fun, while another distraction triggered his free-spirit inclinations.

Hearing the news that there is a swanky new merry-go-round farther off in the forest, Malo sneaks away to investigate, leaving Poto alone with his pickles. On his walk Malo encounters a number of “friends” that need help. A wild boar can’t get a tick off his leg, but Malo doesn’t want to take the time to help; the forest turtles want to come along with him, but Malo lies about where he’s going; Malo snaps rudely at the cuckoo bird who won’t tell him directions; and he is downright mean to the dung beetle whose dung he slips on.

Upon reaching the merry-go-round a tired and grumpy Malo turns pensive. And sad. And lonely. He misses his friend Poto. Malo rushes back to Poto and apologizes, confessing that it’s more fun to do things together. He acknowledges his bad behaviors with the boar, the turtles, the cuckoo bird, and the beetle, and the two of them set off back into the forest to try to make amends.

Revisiting each of the previous scenarios, they finally arrive at the merry-go-round as a group and can appreciate the activity all the more as a shared adventure.

The moral of the story is loud and clear. At the same time it’s not pushy or offensive. The artwork is so incredibly creative that it softens any sort of in-your-face finger wagging interpretations. Of course we know we should be nice, polite and considerate to everyone—but often we fall far short. Malo takes the heat for us and his brand of humility is just right, leaving us to recognize that when all is said and done, it’s far more fun to be friendly. Being patient with one another has a big payoff.

Malo and the Merry-Go-Round is a feel-good story with wonderful captivating artwork that will be an instant favorite.