David Almond, Polly Dunbar (Illus)
Paul lives in the basement of a city tower block, underground, and the sky seems very far away. One day, finding himself alone and bored, he climbs to the 29th floor of his building to see if he can touch the sky and test his theory that the moon is really….. a great big hole! With the help of a host of eccentric characters Paul has an amazing adventure and makes new friends along the way.
A story about imagination and wonder in which ladders can reach the moon and poodles can talk and fly; maybe magical adventures can begin in every day places…
This inventive story provides lots of food for thought about the wonder of the moon, the power of imagination, the futility of war, following your dreams, working together and the importance of home and family.
Talk about the story
What do children like about the story, which is their favourite part?
What is better than war? Not only sausages! How many things can you both think of? You could try to think of something for every letter of the alphabet.
Share theories for what the moon, sky, clouds or stars might be and what they might feel like if you touched them.
Talk about the different characters:
Benjamin and why he sometimes felt sad or happy.
Fortuna and her feelings and why she might have wanted to leave with Paul.
What you found out about Molly and Mabel.
Has your child ever been up in a lift or in a high building or on a hill or mountain looking down. Talk about what they could see and what it felt like.
Things to make and do
Be an artist like Mabel
Paint a self portrait – you could look in a mirror or use a photo to help you.
Draw pictures like Mabel’s paintings of the characters in the story, use the template.
Make a wax resist painting of the moon with a candle or wax crayon moon painted over with an ink or watercolour wash. Click here to see a video demonstration of this, based on another book.
Draw an aerial view
If you can, go for a trip to a high point in your neighbourhood – a building or a hill. Talk about what you can see looking down and take a photo. When you are back home draw an aerial picture of what you could see
Write a news report
Write a news report with the headline ‘Boy proves moon is an enormous hole’. You could role play interviews with some of the characters as well. You might like to use our newspaper front page format.
Make a poster
Make a poster advertising the Great Fortuna and her Amazing Cannon Ball Act
Make sets of things that fly
Draw two big circles in one draw or cut out pictures of living things that fly and in the other of man made things that fly.
Find out more
Read more books by David Almond. His other books for younger children include:
My Dad is a Birdman
The Boy who Swam with Piranhas
Mouse Bird, Snake, Wolf
Annie Lumsden Girl from the Sea
Brand New Boy