Bubble trouble by Margaret Mahy

cover image

Ill. by Polly Dunbar. Frances Lincoln Children's Books, 2008. ISBN 9781847801869.
(Age 3-7) Recommended. Picture book. The fabulous Margaret Mahy can be trusted to come up with a unique story and this reprint of Bubble trouble is certainly that! Mabel is having great fun blowing bubbles until one gets away from her and encases her baby brother. He soars out of the house and all over the town, with a swathe of peoples chasing after him, trying to get him down.
What an adventure Mahy leads the reader on as she tells the story with rhyme and rhythm that hurries the reader on a worrisome journey to see if the young baby can be rescued. Vivid alliteration is interspersed to make the story even more interesting. This is not a simple rhyme for very young children to learn to say with the reader. Instead it requires concentration to get the words out correctly. Challenging but very satisfying to read out loud, it is one that will stand the test of time. It would also be perfect for beginning readers who are looking for something more ambitious than short picture books.
The quirky illustrations by Polly Dunbar perfectly complement the story. There is an urgency about the expressions on the people's faces and the movement of their bodies that adds to the excitement of the chase. There is also humour in the drawings that I found very satisfying as I followed this wild trip across town.
Pat Pledger