Copyright © Didi Bok 2020 Copyright illustrations © Hein Mevissen / John Doe BV 2020 All rights reserved

NUR 273 / ISBN 978 90 258 6839 0



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Hey, what do we have here?
John sniffs and sniffs.
It’s a little bit of heaven. He can’t get enough! John follows the trail out of the city. He licks and licks, wagging his tail. The trail takes him to a big red barn.


John cautiously peeks inside. There’s a large gray object in the barn. Hey, what are Olli and Ari doing here?

“Is this enough?” Olli the elephant asks.

“Sorry about spilling some of it.”

“It took two thousand and three hundred full buckets, which should be enough to travel there and back,” Ari answers.

“But let’s pour this last bit into the tank too.”

“Hey, John, what are you doing here?” Olli asks. “And don’t eat that pudding!”

“It’s delicious!” John says.

“No,” says Olli, “it’s fuel. For Ari’s latest invention: the first pudding-powered rocket!” “We’re going to the moon!” Ari boasts. “Can I come too?” John asks.

“No,” Ari says sternly, “my rocket ship is full!”

Olli scoops the last of the pudding into the tank. John catches a pink drop dripping from the opening...

“Time to board!” Ari announces.


Ari climbs into the captain’s seat and checks all the controls. He’s never flown a spacecraft before. Olli nervously looks up. This will be their first trip to the moon! “I’m ready,” Ari says. “We haven’t forgotten anything? Is the tank closed? Have you got the flag?” “Yes, we’re ready,” Olli says.

Together they count down for lift-off: “Eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one...”


WHOOSH! With a huge blast, the rocket shoots through the roof up into the sky. “Way to go!” Ari and Olli shriek. 

“Look at all those stars and colors! It’s better than a rainbow,” Ari says. “Are you sure you know the way?” Olli asks. “Straight ahead. We can’t miss it. There’s only one moon,” Ari says. They speed through the heavens.


“Hold on, we’re almost there!” Ari cries. “Time to descend.”

Olli holds his breath. Beads of sweat drip from Ari’s nose as he tries to gently land the rocket ship.

THUD! Olli claps approvingly. “What’s that I hear, did you fart?” Ari asks.

“No, it came from outside,” Olli says.

Ari looks out the window. “I don’t see anything or anybody. C’mon, let’s take a walk on the moon!”

Olli throws open the door of the spacecraft. It’s very quiet outside.

Olli steps out first. “The first elephant on the moon,”

Ari proudly announces as he lowers the ladder. “One small step for an elephant, one giant leap for a pig!” Olli exclaims. Together they cautiously explore the moon’s surface.

“Did you hear that?” Ari nervously asks.

“What?” Olli replies.

And then out of nowhere...


...little green creatures come bouncing toward them from every direction.

They’re making an awful racket, shouting all at the same time: “What strange noses!” “A big fat gray one and a round pink one.” “What are you doing here?”

“Greetings!” Olli and Ari say completely surprised.

“Who are all of you?” Ari asks overwhelmed.

“We’re the Moon Billies.” “We’re Olli and Ari,” Olli replies.

“We’ve come to plant our flag.”

“Ha-ha, we’ve already got one. It’s down there. But yours is welcome too. C’mon, we’ll show you the way,” chime the Moon Billies in chorus.

“And you’re lucky, tonight is the ‘Shop ‘till You Drop’ Festival. Everything is all lit up.”

“Oh, we call that full moon on Earth,” Ari says.

The Moon Billies roar with laughter and cry, “Full moon. Ha-ha-ha-ha... Welcome to the full moon!”


Suddenly music sounds. The Moon Billies start bouncing to the beat. Tadadadada! “Our moon band!”


Olli and Ari love a good party. They also step to the beat of the music.

“Who could have imagined? So much life on the moon!” Ari exclaims.

Olli swings his trunk high in the air and trumpets loudly. The Moon Billies love it. They jump up and down and all around Olli and Ari, totally excited.

“What a fun place,” Olli says laughing.

The Moon Billies start singing at the top of their lungs:

“Moon-chicka-moon! Moon-chicka-moon! I said, a-moon-chicka-moon!

I said, a-moon-chicka-moon! I said, a-moon-chicka-rocket! I said, a-moon-chicka-rocket!

Uh-huh! Uh-huh!

Okay! Okay!

One more time...

One more time...

Louder!!! Louder!!!” 


“C’mon, we’ll give you a tour of the moon!” the Moon Billies call out. And they take Olli and Ari to do some sightseeing.

Then the procession comes to a stop. In front of Olli and Ari is a flag.

“That’s the American flag!” Ari and Olli say surprised.

“Well, now there are two!” proclaims one of the Moon Billies as he plants Olli’s flag in the ground.

The music starts up again and once more all the Moon Billies start bouncing to the beat.

They cheerfully sing:

“I said, a-space-chicka-space! I said, a-space-chicka-space!

I said, there’s a Pluto, there’s a Mars, there’s the Earth, and there’s the stars... I said, there’s a Pluto, there’s a Mars, there’s the Earth, and there’s the stars...

Uh-huh! Uh-huh!

Okay! Okay!

One more time...

One more time...

Louder!!! Louder!!!”


The tour ends where it began, back at the rocket ship. “It’s time to leave,” Ari says. It’s hard to say goodbye after having so much fun. But once they’re seated in the spacecraft, they really want to go home. Then they can tell everybody about their amazing adventure!

“Ready to go?” Ari asks.

“Ready!” Olli replies.

Ari counts down: “...three, two, one...” ZILCH.

The rocket seems to be stuck. “What could be wrong?”

Ari checks all the meters.

“The pudding meter is at zero! We’re out of pudding!”

“A leak?” Olli asks.

“Listen... I hear strange noises coming from the tank.”


Ari opens the inside hatch. “JOHN!”

Ari’s voice echoes through the empty tank. Lying at the bottom is their small friend, completely passed out.

“Oh no, he’s eaten all the pudding,” Ari yells.

“But how did he get onto the rocket in the first place?” Olli asks.

“And how are we ever going to get home?” Ari sighs.

“JOHN, wake up!” Olli throws open the rocket door. The Moon Billies look up at them confused.

Olli trumpets: “HELP! Is there a doctor on the moon?”

Faster than a speeding bullet, the Moon Billies bring Olli, Ari and John to the Moon Billy doctor.

“Please doctor, help him,” Olli sobs. John isn’t moving and his eyes are still shut.

The doctor feels John’s forehead with his paw.

He looks in his ears. And he lifts his tail... But then he shakes his head.

“Sorry, I don’t know anything about earth dogs. I’m afraid I can’t help your friend.”


Tears roll down Olli’s cheeks. “John, please, please don’t leave us.”

“John, I won’t be mad at you,” Ari sobs.

“We should have taken him along, then this wouldn’t have happened. Now we’ve lost our friend and we’re never going home,” Olli sobs some more.

Even bigger tears fall from his eyes...

...SPLASH! Right in John’s face.

His moustache twitches...

And then he wakes up.

“JOHN!” Olli and Ari shout, jumping for joy!

“Yes, that’s me. Where are we?” John asks.

“At the doctor on the moon,” Olli says.

“You ate all the pudding!” “No big deal... we just can’t go home anymore,” Ari sighs.

“But I saved a little pudding for you. In the reserve tank. It’s so yummy, you have to try it!” John says.

“I could go for another lick myself.”


They rush back to the spacecraft. Ari immediately checks the reserve tank.

“Yes, it’s full, but it won’t be enough... With this amount we can fly about twenty-five hundred feet up into the sky.”

“But it’s enough to catch a ride on a falling star,” the Moon Billies cheer, pointing to a large travel billboard.

“What a great idea!” Ari says excitedly.

“And perhaps there’ll be some pudding left over,” Olli winks at John.


They quickly climb back into the rocket ship. And then Olli trumpets:

“Take us home, Ari!”



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