Title: The Adventures of Charlie Bubbles!
Author: Paul Carafotes
Illustrator: Jeff Vernon
Publisher: Paul Carafotes
“What’s important is your family. Your mom must be so worried now. She needs you, and YOU need to be with her. Blow your bubble,” Teddy tells Charlie in Paul Carafotes’ children’s story, The Adventures of Charlie Bubbles.
This unnumbered but under thirty pages, over-sized paperback book has a brightly colored drawing of a baby in his own blown bubble floating above his crib with bumble bees nearby on the front cover. The back shows the child with two of his friends walking toward Honeywoodland along with three book reviews. Targeted toward prekindergarten to fourth grade students, there is no profanity or overtly scary scenes except a mean bee who wants to hurt and sting others. With no paragraph indentations, a young reader may be confused with the unusual format. Illustrator Jeff Vernon’s drawings cover the pages and are detailed enough to hold one’s interest while reading.
Charlie is in his crib one day blowing bubbles with his mouth and watching them float out the window when two bees, Honey Bee and Mean Bee, see him. Being frightened by Mean Bee, Charlie blows a bubble so big around himself that a strong gust of wind carries him out his bedroom window as he flies far away.
When he lands on ground, he meets Paulie, a squirrel who lives in an old carved out pumpkin. With Charlie being lost and scared, Paulie offers to help Charlie find his way home. As the two walk by a trash can they hear hiccuping and find Teddy, a stuffed bear that joins in on the adventure.
As nightfall approaches, the three huddle together and fall asleep, waiting for a new day to look for Charlie’s home. Since they are hungry, they walk to Honeywoodland to get some honey. Mean Bee sees the three friends and tells the Queen, getting permission to sting them but Honey Bee intercedes, telling the three she would show them where Charlie lives.
In the end, Charlie blows a big bubble again and Honey Bee helps him get back to his bed where he sees his mother and is happy again. Charlie learns about friendship and that not all bees are mean bees.
Without stressing that bees are good for propagation, honey and our environment, the book states a bee can sting without it hurting anyone in the story. It is a good book to read for a child who wants to learn more about nature and the fantasy of floating away in a bubble but may worry about getting lost or stung by a bee.