My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Received: Raincoast Books
Published: July 3rd, 2018
Publisher: First Second
Genres & Themes: Picture Books, Children’s Books, Fantasy
A quiet afternoon of blowing bubbles and popping them turns into a Planes, Trains, & Automobiles, (and more)-style adventure, as our young protagonist Dewey struggles to pop that one bubble…The Bubble That Got Away.
Is there really someone who can look at this cover and read this title and not immediately think of the Disney movie Up?
This should have been a winner. I say that from time to time, and each time I mean it, but now I mean it so much I am dumfounded by the fact that I did not really enjoy this one.
My eyes were pleased from beginning to end, because each and every illustration – no single exception – is wonderfully done and wonderfully cinematic. I had the impression I was watching a movie, as opposed to reading a picture book. I even checked to see if this was based on an actual short animation clip, that’s how movie-like the visuals are.
And that’s amazing. But the story isn’t. I do think it’s somewhat original, seeing that I have never seen a kid be so passionate about bubbles, and not just passionate about something, but determined, too. This kid is literally so consumed by the idea of popping every single bubble he creates that, when one flies out of his reach, he finds ways to fly in the air in the hope of reaching that bubble and popping it once and for all.
Have you ever heard of such a story? I would indeed have given it at least a three-star rating for the unusual and entertaining concept alone – why not? – but the ways in which he is given access to the flying machines are super unrealistic. Like a whole new level of unrealistic. Basically, he asks for a plane, and obviously is given the plane because everyone is just ready to help a kid burst a bubble. And, in case you’re wondering, the kid is flying the machines.
Normally, I don’t care for a picture book to be realistic, as long as it makes sense, in some way – whether distant or not – but this one doesn’t at all. On top of that, the omniscient narrator’s voice is arrogant, somehow. To that narrator, it makes PERFECT sense for a kid to fly a helicopter and other such inventions. It’s weird. A weird story.
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