My toddler has an adventurous spirit. He is never content to stay in one spot. He longs to roam and explore. To capture his attention, a story has to be colorful, engaging and imaginative.
That's why Becka and The Big Bubble series is our new nightstand favorite.
Becka and The Big Bubble picture books are the brainchild of Gretchen Schomer-Wendel and her brother Adam Schomer. Through original, inventive rhymes, we follow Becka, "the most brilliant bubble blower in town" as she floats atop her Big Bubble to faraway places. In her first adventure, All Around Town, Becka blows her biggest bubble ever, hops atop and floats above her city, greeting familiar friends like Jumpidi Jack and Pouty Pat. When her magic bubble suddenly pops, Becka must think fast and come up with a way to get back home safely. In the stories that follow, Becka travels to lands such as India, San Francisco - even the North Pole! - where she plays and learns a valuable lesson that shows her a new bubble ride home.
We had the pleasure of reviewing three books from the series: All Around Town, Becka Goes to Chicago and Becka Goes to San Diego.
As soon as I opened the package, my son was at my feet, begging to read them. The clever rhymes were like a more sophisticated version of Dr. Seuss. The whimsical illustrations from Damon Renthrope really brought the words to life. With her burnt orange tresses, delicate freckles and bright eyes, Becka is the perfect travel companion. She's courageous, resourceful and fun.
All Around Town sets the stage for all of the adventures to come:
We have family living in southern California so Becka Goes to San Diego was an excellent way to show Nate where his cousins live. In this book, Becka, along with her best friend Ben, hits the beach for some surf and sand before exploring Coronado, Balboa Park and the San Diego Zoo, where they both learn to be kind to animals.
So, higher I went, where there's so much to see
How can I say it, "Flippity-Free!"
"I'll fly with my bubble to lands near and far
And see the whole world - I'll feel like a star!"
Our family has never been to the Windy City but through Becka's newest adventure, Becka Goes to Chicago, we were all able to take a trip in our minds. Becka and Ben show us the ferris wheel at Navy Pier and the bean at Millenium Park before taking in baseball at Wrigley Field and eating some pizza at the Taste of Chicago. At the Field Museum, they meet Sue the Dinosaur, who helps them realize that beauty is more than skin deep.
They walked in sandals, Flippity-Flop
Sun shining brightly everyday nonstop,
Kids making castles and swimming like fish
These small surf towns surely know bliss.
My son just adores these books. There aren't many in his collection that he will sit and read independently but with Becka and The Big Bubble, he will grab one (or two, or all three!) off the shelf and look through all the pages again and again. The hardcover and thick glossy pages make it easy for him to maneuver (although overprotective Mommy still watches over him carefully to make sure he doesn't get too rough). He exclaims anytime Becka's bubble pops, as if he's truly engrossed in the story. I think his favorite is the Chicago edition, as he makes me read that version most.
Over Lake Michigan, two friends in flight
"Look it's Sears Tower, oh what a sight!"
Toward Buckingham Fountain, lit up with color
Splish, splash, more bubbles around her.
I love that Becka teaches children not to be afraid to try new things or panic over the unexpected. She encourages you to expand your horizons - see new sights and meet new people - so you don't live inside a bubble. For the adults, Becka embodies the childhood fantasies still living deep within all of us.
With the series rightfully gaining more and more attention, I don't think it will be long before Becka has her own brand of magic bubbles, travel guides, backpacks, luggage, luggage tags, passport holders, DVDs, audiobooks...sorry, that's just my marketing degree seeping out of me. If you live in the San Diego area, you are lucky enough to already catch Becka on her PBS show, for which you can view the trailer here:
I hope to soon see Becka on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., whale-watching in Seattle or swimming with dolphins in Hawaii. I'd also like to see her sail over the Great Wall of China and around the Eiffel Tower before riding a gondola in Venice and hopping with kangaroos in Australia. There are so many possibilities!
Bottom line: I would highly recommend the Becka and The Big Bubble storybooks for any child, particularly toddlers and preschoolers. Watch their imagination take flight with these new soon-to-be classics. With Becka in tow, you can visit anyplace you want to go!
BUY IT: You can find Becka and The Big Bubble books online at Barnes & Noble, Borders, Amazon.com and Target (ARV $11.99). Keep your eye out for Becka Goes to New York, Becka Goes to Boston and Becka Goes to Egypt - all coming in 2010!
FUN FREEBIES: Check out the Becka and The Big Bubble website for news and announcements, and watch "Beckasodes" or short films of Becka's adventures. You can also see Becka in her new music video, "Let's Fly Away", which you can watch for free at www.bbbubble.com.
Disclaimer: I received the three books mentioned above for free from the author in exchange for my honest review. I was in no other way compensated for this post. The thoughts and opinions expressed in my review are solely mine and your experience may differ.