Sunday 3 June 2018

Bubbles and Puddle

Bubbles and Puddle written by Michelle Wanasundera, illustrated by Thana-one Yazawa (Lilly Pilly Publishing) HB  RRP $19.95     ISBN 9780648123804

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

This is a beautiful book with bright and cheerful illustrations which make use of rich colours and patterns. On each of the twelve double page spreads there is a full-page illustration showing children at play, as well as animals, butterflies, fairies, and even a kangaroo (with a sleeping child in her pouch), and a koala and its baby. Not all children and adults depicted are white; some are brown or yellow. The talented young illustrator herself was born in Thailand.

On each of the left-hand pages is a long story poem (generally presented in three columns with small typeface) on a range of topics with titles such as ‘Rainbow Lotus’, Puddles around the World’ and ‘Rainmaker’. Small coloured vignettes (trees, frogs, waves, shells and so on) are scattered over the verse pages.

Bubbles and Puddles is dedicated by the author to her daughter, Amali, who Wanasundera says has experienced joy and comfort from reading the book. In the back are two pages explaining each of the stories. Some of them relate to Amali: for example, the author explains how she wrote ‘Belly Bubbles’ to help her daughter learn to share her worries which she tended to bottle up. ‘Silver Lining’ tells how mother and daughter love to find ‘the silver lining’ wherever they can, citing an experience where Amali coaxed her mother to walk when she was tired. ‘The Magical Feather Tail’ is based on a true story when Amali’s best friend found a lyrebird feather.

Each of the twelve poem stories are written in rhyming lines, sometimes in couplets. They don’t always scan, and often half or awkward rhymes occur, but generally the voice of each seems to be that of a loving, caring parent talking to his or her child. Some of the verses show a child using her imagination, creating (drawing on sand, making sandcastles), or simply having fun (splashing in puddles, jumping in fallen leaves).

Overall this a joyous book for parents to share with their children aged 4 to 7 years.  It is available through

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