Today is the 20th anniversary of the publication of Bringing Down the Moon, the first Mole and Friends book I created with the late Vanessa Cabban.
The book tells the story of a Mole who, enchanted by his first sight of the moon, attempts to bring it down from the sky. His friends keep explaining that, “It’s not as near as it looks,” but Mole keeps trying.
A key part of the book’s lasting appeal is Vanessa Cabban’s beautiful illustrations which are all set against the gorgeous deep blue backdrop of the night sky hanging over the woodland.
Bringing Down the Moon is my most popular picture book and has been translated into 20 different languages.
The Dutch edition, translated by Annelies Jorna, was awarded the 2003 Kiekeboekprijs for the best pre-school book published in the Netherlands. llustrator Vanessa Cabban and I met for the first time when we went to Amsterdam to pick up the award and remained firm friends.
The book has been read on CBeebies Bedtime Hour by Sally Phillips, adapted into a Dutch puppet show, an animated DVD voiced by Kevin Whately, an iPhone app and a terrific stage show by the Peaceful Lion theatre company in 2012
Henry Wyrley-Birch as Mole, John Boylan as Hedgehog and Fleur Jeffery as Squirrel in Peaceful Lion’s stage adaptation.
Photo: Pamela Raith.
Mole proved to be such a popular character that Vanessa and I created four more Mole and Friends books.
In the final book in the series, A Secret Worth Sharing, Mole finds a new friend, Mouse. My favourite spread in this last book is the one below, the final panel of which shows Mole showing Mouse the moon in the night sky, echoing his first sighting in Bringing Down the Moon.
I’d never have guessed that Mole’s antics would prove quite so popular when I first wrote them, but I’m delighted they have.
I was born in 2003 and my parents used to read the Dutch version when I was in bed. I even have the plush mole to this day and I just found the ‘I want the moon’ book again. This brought back some good memories and I wanted to thank you for giving me the inspiration to do something with the space in my lifetime. My wish is to work for NASA and it all started with this little book!
Hi Vincent. Thanks for the lovely comment. I’m delighted that you have such fond memories of this book and that Mole’s determination inspired you to reach for the moon yourself. I wish you every success in your future career.