Review Blog

Oct 09 2014

Bubble trouble by Tom Percival

cover image

Bloomsbury, 2014. ISBN 9781408838778.
(Age: Early childhood) Bubble trouble is a very apt name for this book. Rueben and Felix had always lived next door to each other and they were best friends. They were exactly the same age, same height (except for their ears), they were both left-handed and they LOVED to blow bubbles. Really, REALLY BIG bubbles! It was a perfect activity to do together until one day Rueben said, 'I bet I could blow a bigger bubble than you'. And so the contest is on - with each trying to blow the biggest bubble, building the most amazing bubble-blowing contraptions. But as the machines become more and more complex, the fun gets less and less. Even rules and judges and spectators didn't help. All they could think about was winning! Until one day.
Illustrated very gently in a lift-the-flap format and quite different from his Skulduggery Pleasant work, (there's an interview with him about his creations) this is a book that has many layers to it. Each time I read it I thought of a new way that it could be used in the classroom setting. Firstly, there is the maths aspect of comparing sizes accompanied by the languages aspect of the use of comparative and superlative language. Then there is the aspect of how bubbles are made, why they are usually round, and investigating whether the shape and power of the 'blower' affect the shape of the bubble. There's the design aspect of creating a bubble-blowing machine or something that will help them solve the issue at the end; and throughout all, the concept of what friendship means. My review copy was destined for a pre-schooler I know but I've decided to tuck it into my teaching tool-kit instead. Stories which can provide a whole day's cross-curriculum teaching are rare!
Barbara Braxton

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