Age 5-7 years
Armstrong is a mole who is tired of his boring (!) life underground. He likes looking up at the moon and stars and longs for adventure. Very inventive, he decides to build a rocket and set off for the moon. After several amusing false starts he succeeds, only to realise it is boring there too (just no atmosphere!) and quite lonely, so he set off back home. Will this be the end of his adventures?
With an exciting theme, bold, colourful illustrations, layout and humour there is lots to enjoy and discuss in this story. There’s a ‘grass is always greener’ theme to talk about too and the suggestion it’s more fun sharing your adventures with others. Full of word play eg ‘gravi- tea’ and references to the Apollo 11 moon landing ‘…. one giant leap for a mole’ and Startrek ‘to boldly go…’ this is a picturebook with lots to appeal to adults as well as children.
Share the story
Before you start reading the story aloud look together at the end papers and title page and talk about the illustrations and clues to the story.
Read the story aloud taking time to notice the details together on each double page spread.
When you share the story again encourage children to join in with the sound effects, countdowns and perhaps some of the speech bubbles eg Armstrong’s speech.
Talk about the book
Talk about any questions children have about the story, or perhaps about space travel.
You might like to talk about the double meaning eg of the word ‘boring’ and some of the jokes.
Choose funny parts or favourite pages of the story to talk about.
Look back at the picture of Armstrong on the moon – and talk about why he feels so small.
Talk about what you know about space travel, moon landings or moles and read the fact files at the back of the book together. What else would children like to find out?
Things to make and do
Make your own underground room like Mole
Cover a table with a blanket to make a dark space. Your child could make a cosy ‘home’ for mole underneath with cushions, something to read and perhaps a torch as a light. Turn the light off to see how dark it is – can you still see? If you have a play tunnel, they could imagine being mole boring tunnels underground and seeking adventure.
Make a junk model rocket
Collect together cardboard or plastic containers so that your child can create their own junk model rocket or underground boring machine. Suggest they make up a name for their invention and talk together about what it can do.
Be inspired by the sky at night
If possible, find opportunities to look at the night sky – ideally on a clear night when children will be able to see the moon and some stars. You could also look on the Internet at pictures of the earth from space. Your child could make a picture of the night sky or of the earth from space – this would be great on black paper if you have it with paint or crayon.
Make a mini book about the moon landings and Armstrong the mole’s namesake
Use the links below to find out more about the Apollo 11 moon landing and Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon. If you make your child a mini book they could put one thing they find out and an illustration on each page. See the links below for sources of information.
Find out more
Read more books by picturebook maker Matt Carr
Books include SUPERBAT and SPYDER
See more books in our Space section
These include On the Moon by Anna Milbourne & Benji Davies and The Darkest Dark by Chris Hadfield and the Fan brothers
Find out more about Armstrong the mole’s namesake Neil Armstrong,
Find out more about the Apollo 11 moon landings. Here is a photostory with pictures of the Apollo 11 mission.
Find out more about star nosed moles.