Combine space science with an animated cartoon mole and a computer-design camp in St. Louis, and what do you get? When Congresswoman Giffords’ husband, Mark Kelly, commands the April 19 mission of Space Shuttle Endeavour, he won’t be the only focus. According to the Wall Street Journal and Czechposition.com, there will also be a smaller Czechoslovakian passenger on board. Krtek the mole is being added to the mission as part of one of the astronaut’s allowed carry-on items.
Who is Krtek? Most Americans have probably never heard of Krtek. But, Czechoslovakians have known about him for years. He began as a cartoon drawing of Zdenek Miler in 1956 in Soviet Prague. From there, the cartoon became popular and made its way into animation. Krtek’s popularity has since ballooned to include Western Europe’s love for the little underground animal, known in America to do nothing more than ruin yards until now. This cute little cartoon character has been on adventures that include cleaning up a park, saving a lion from a toothache and even flying on a rocketship. The creator of the cartoon believed in keeping violence out of his creation. The result is a lovable cartoon that was embraced by the Czech culture, and will now go into space.
Where can I learn to animate cartoons in St. Louis? Using cartoons like Krtek is a wonderful tool in helping children learn difficult concepts. While Krtek books and DVDs are difficult to locate in the St. Louis area, there is a studio in St. Louis that teaches children animation skills. Youth Design Studio currently offers classes in computer animation and Website design at various locations, including your own home by appointment. But, they will only be available in St. Louis until August. So, if you’re interested in your child learning animation, you might want to consider one of their computer camps in July. If you miss this opportunity, check with local community colleges or community centers as sometimes other computer animation or non-computer cartoon drawing classes are offered throughout the year.
Another useful comic strip is used in teaching history. Chester Comix is written to teach children history with the use of, not a mole, but a little blue crab. You can purchase this comical curriculum at a reduced price if you’re a member of the Homeschool Co-op.
Meanwhile, Krtek books and DVDs can be found on Amazon.com. You can also watch Krtek videos on Youtube.com. And, if you want to watch the Space Shuttle Endeavour take off, log onto Kennedyspacecenter.com or plan a vacation/field trip around the event as the Space Center is hosting a special tribute to homeschoolers day on April 22.