October 23 – Mole Day

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About the Holiday

From 6:02 a.m. to 6:02 p.m. on 10/23 chemists, scientists, students, and others who love numbers celebrate Mole Day to commemorate Avogadro’s Number, which is a basic weight measuring unit in chemistry. Defined by the equation 6.02 x 1023, Avogadro’s number finds that for any given molecule one mole of that substance has a weight in grams equal to its atomic number. The name of this scientific constant naturally led to an association with the furry underground burrowers, and the mole and mascot moles can be found working in tandem to promote a better understanding and enjoyment of chemistry. As today’s book proves there is no better mixture than the chemistry between friends.

A Friend for Mole

By Nancy Armo

Mole loves his cozy burrow. “He liked his soft bed of leaves, the warm smell of the earth, and the quiet darkness all around.” He can imagine the world above him by all the distinct sounds he hears. But one day those sounds become louder. Instead of gentle tapping and buzzing, he hears stomping, shouting, and laughing. He decides to go up above and see what all the ruckus is about.

“The bright light, loud noises and new smells were overwhelming,” and Mole thinks it was a very bad idea to have left his burrow. He tries to find his way home, but he can no longer see the hole. In a panic he starts to run. He trips over a tree root and rolls under a bush. The soft leaves and darkness remind Mole of his burrow and soon he is fast asleep.

Mole wakes up during the night. He hears rustling and sees two shiny eyes staring at him. “‘Oh no!’” thinks Mole. “‘Please don’t be something scary.’” Mole closes his eyes, hoping to hide. But then he hears a small whimper. “‘Are you afraid of the dark too?’” When Mole takes a peek, he sees a wolf. “‘No,’” Mole answers. “‘I’m afraid of the light.’” Wolf tells Mole that he is lost after being chased by the other animals and that he is scared.

celebrate-picture-book-review-a-friend-for-mole-rustling-sound

Copyright Nancy Armo, courtesy of Peachtree Publshers

Mole and Wolf think about what they can do and devise a clever plan. Mole says he will stay with Wolf in the dark, and Wolf agrees to help Mole find his burrow when the sun comes up. To make the time go faster, Mole and Wolf play games, such as hunting “imaginary slithering creatures,” stomping on “pretend scampering bugs,” and “chasing away scary monsters. It was all so much fun they forgot about being lost and scared.”

As daylight breaks, Mole begins to think about home. Wolf also feels homesick. As they search for the entrance to Mole’s burrow, Wolf shields Mole’s eyes from the sun with his tail, and Mole giggles at the tickly softness of Wolf’s fur. Soon they discover Mole’s burrow, and Wolf realizes that he lives nearby. Although Mole is happy to be home, he also feels sad to say goodbye to Wolf.

He asks if Wolf would like to play again sometime. Wolf shouts, “Yes! That was so much fun! I was scared but having you there made everything okay.” As Mole settles back into his leafy bed, he knows “exactly what Wolf meant.”

In her sweet story of friendship found, Nancy Armo relates that most comforting feeling—the knowledge that friends always stand by you even when times are hard or scary. Her characters Mole and Wolf are perfectly chosen foils with opposite strengths that, combined, help solve their immediate problem and form a strong friendship. Armo’s straightforward storytelling is enriched by the endearing personalities of Mole and Wolf as well as their honest sharing of feelings.

In vivid two-page spreads Armo superbly depicts the daytime and nighttime scenes, transporting readers into the heart of her story. Above the “quiet darkness” of Mole’s burrow, cute mice scamper in the rain while an earthworm, a snail, and a bee take shelter. When his roof rings with noise and curiosity gets the better of Mole, he emerges into an open field, and his tumbling trip over the tree root is nimbly portrayed with a series of flips rendered with a filmy transparency. As nightime falls the Mole’s and Wolf’s adventure plays out on pages with a solid black background. Wolf’s eyes shining on a completely darkened page offers just the right amount of suspense for little readers, and a careful look at the expression in his eyes is reassuring. Kids will enjoy the games the two friends enjoy, and will cheer when the sun dawns on their new friendship.

A Friend for Mole is a great book for young readers navigating the world of meeting new classmates, teammates, and other children who may see the world differently but would make good friends.

Ages 3 – 7

Peachtree Publishers, 2016 | ISBN 978-1561458653

You’ll find fun A Friend for Mole activity sheets, a portfolio of artwork, and more on Nancy Armo’s website!

Mole Day Activity

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-mole-mazeMole Tunnels Maze

Dig into this printable Mole Tunnels Maze that has as many twists and turns as a mole’s home!

Picture Book Review

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