‘3...2...1...’ said Mum, reading aloud from Lola’s favourite storybook.
‘Blast off!’ shouted Lola.
‘Shhh! Inside voice!’ whispered Mum. ‘It’s bedtime.’
It was Lola’s favourite part of the story, even though she knew it all by heart. She squeezed her toy astronaut, Azzi, in excitement.
Dorothy in the story had just finished making her own homemade rocket out of aluminium foil and toilet paper rolls and was testing it out. What Dorothy didn’t yet know was that the homemade rocket was real and she would blast off into space!
‘Turn the page, Mummy!’
‘That’s enough for tonight,’ said Mum. ‘We’ll finish tomorrow.’
Mum tucked Lola into her blanket covered in rockets and kissed her on the forehead. ‘Good night, my little space explorer.’
Mum turned off the light. The night sky of glow-in-the-dark moons, stars and planets on Lola’s ceiling blinked down at her. Lola closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep. She imagined floating among them. Like Dorothy in the story, Lola wanted to be an astronaut when she grew up.
Next thing, something silvery was shimmering in the corner of her bedroom. Lola blinked and rubbed her eyes. It was Dorothy’s rocket! In her room! She moved closer. Next to the rocket was a spacesuit, with L...O...L...A - Lola! - in big letters on the pocket. Lola gasped!
Lola put on the spacesuit and it fit perfectly. She pressed a button and the rocket hatch opened up. She climbed inside and strapped herself in for safety. Then she pulled down her helmet over her head. Finally, she pressed the big, red LAUNCH button and...3...2...1 she blasted off!
Lola zipped around her bedroom, dipping around her bed and toy basket and then looping around her play mat. She waved to Azzi who was still in bed. Then she controlled the rocket upwards, straight towards her ceiling of glow-in-the-dark stars, moons and planets. As she zoomed upwards, the ceiling kept going and going and going...
Soon, everything around her was inky blackness filled with milky white stars. Lola gasped. She was in outer space!
She looked back and saw Earth, a tiny ball of blue and white swirls. Lola steered the nose of her rocket towards Earth and sped through the galaxy back towards home. As she got closer, she saw a ball covered in craters floating to Earth. The moon! She had an idea. Lola steered the rocket for a moon landing and bumped down with a thud.
She opened the hatch and took a big floating step on to the surface. ‘Wow!’ she shouted into space. She was the first child astronaut ever to set foot on the moon!
Someone shouted back. ‘Loooo-laaaaaaaaaaa.’ Her name echoed through outer space.
Lola woke up with a jolt. She was still under her blanket. She looked up. Her ceiling was no longer glowing because it was morning. She blinked. There was no rocket in sight. She must have been dreaming.
Mum was sitting on her bed. ‘Finally, Lola! You took such a long time to wake up today. It’s as if you were on another planet!’
Lola just smiled in response.