I would like to thank Netgalley, NorthSouth Books and the author – Torben Kuhlmann for a free digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
Moletown is a book by Torben Kuhlmann, who was born in Germany and showed talent in drawing since early childhood. Moletown is his second book with fantastic, detailed pictures and almost no text at all. This, as you can imagine is children book and was first published in German this year, if I am correct, it will be published in English as well, but you’ll have to wait for Autumn to come to get hands on that.
This book is for kids and is about moles (which is a metaphor for humans) and how the slow industrialization changes their lives, how they rest after work in beds and once they have developed technologies, resting means sitting in front of a TV screen, how thanks to industrialization the environment is changed and dying and how ‘green’ suddenly means something special. The book ends in hope for future and agreement to save environment.
First time I saw this book, I was in love with the cover, it looked so lovely and I like children books in general, so I decided that I have to read it! Little did I know that there’s not much of reading in the book, it is mostly pictures drawn by the author.
I have to tell you that this is not a book that you can give to your child and he will look at the pretty pictures, understand it all and put it in his bookcase. This is a book, a parent will have to sit down to, parent will have to go through all the pages and explain and create his own story to show what the pictures mean. I don’t see a child understanding it on his own and I don’t think it is needed, parent next to him, will make child understand that this is something mother or father knows (and perhaps will even see the parallels and practice in their family) and will give base for understanding how technologies change the environment and what they do to the Earth. I think that it is a wonderful base because afterwards, when you go to a shop, you can explain the connection – why there are regular and organic carrots, what is the difference and so on. Starting with these little things will not only make child smarter, but create a respectful attitude and understanding for what is sacrificed for human’s comfort.
Some of the reviews I checked out, said that it is overstated and humans don’t destroy everything that is green and don’t spend all their day in front of screens. I have just one reaction to that – ‘Really?’ I mean, I am right now writing this review in front of a screen, I will go to work tomorrow to work in front of a screen, I will read a book in my tablet, in front of a screen and I will perhaps play a game in my phone, when I have a moment – in front of a screen. I don’t see and overstatement there – yes, perhaps older people don’t live like that, but from the younger generation it is demanded that they do that – develop their technical skills and are computer and phone savvy (not talking about Snapchat and Tinder, but honestly, I’m sure there soon will be work positions where that is demanded as well). Tech is everywhere and perhaps it is not always in a screen format, but it is a huge part of our lives now and honestly, I don’t think that there’s much we can do about it – we are not the ones who dictate the rules.
And even, if the story would be an overstatement, I still feel like it should be like that, that’s how children understand the world! Exactly like in fairy tales – the evil witch is evil, we don’t hear anything good about her, because that helps the children understand what qualities are evil, it is exaggerated version and, if this story is as well, it is made so, for children to understand it better.
I have said before that I have an education in education, this is a story I would try to use for the purposes of teaching, I think it is a beautiful way to start an interest about environment in the smallest children.
But there were some things that I didn’t like about the book. I would have liked a little bit more text in the book, as basically it only starts and ends with the text. Just a few more sentences would be fine, because I got the feeling while looking through the book, that I am not sure, if I am on the right course, if I understand what the author tried to say, so a little affirmation would be nice.
And my second issue was with the fact that the book was so short. The ending seemed so sudden and I was just left like not all was said.
I was considering three or four stars and after all gave this book four stars on my goodreads page, because after all, it is a children book and in that case the minuses I mentioned are not that important as children love pictures more than text and the fact that the book is short and still delivers the message, is actually a bonus. I would recommend this book to people who are generally interested in saving and taking care of environment and for their children, meaning that if you practice lifestyle that spares environment at least a bit and would like to give the basics and your motives to your children, then this book might help you.
Also I would like to say that those people who perhaps don’t have enough money and have to walk to the kindergarten instead of taking the bus, maybe it is worth investing in this book to turn your life around and show how much you are helping the environment and, if more people would do that, perhaps the bus would be canceled! Just to turn the little fact around and make the child not ashamed of not having money, but proud of going by walk. I know this book might seem expensive for those people, but there are still libraries and bookstores to check it out before taking my word for it. And don’t say that you have enough problems on your hands, because something that might influence your child’s personality is a contribution. My mother worked three jobs when I was little and still found time to take me to library, would I be reading, if she wouldn’t have?
If you don’t care about the environment or care about it only for the appearances in front of your friends, coworkers etc. This book is not for you, although, you might brag about it, so perhaps it is for you too.
At the end, I would like to credit Michael Jackson for these words he gave to us: ‘Did you ever stop to notice all the children dead from war, did you ever stop to notice the crying Earth the weeping shores…’
Let me know in the comment section your thoughts on environment and nature! Were you raised to save the world? How do you contribute? I would like to do more in my everyday life are there any tips for me? What nature means to you?