Bubbles Up

bubbles up davies

Book Information

Picture Book
Reader Personality Type
Harper Colins Katherine Tegen 2021

An everyday visit to the pool transforms into an unforgettable celebration of the water in this remarkable picture book from Jacqueline Davies, the award-winning author of children's classic The Lemonade War, and Sonia Sánchez, the illustrator of Meg Medina's Evelyn Del Rey Is Moving Away.

A day at the community pool is full of unwater magic—dunking and diving with friends; somersaulting, walking on your hands, and bursting up through the surface like a tortoise. But when a thunderstorm comes and a little brother ventures too close to the pool’s edge, will our main character be quick enough and brave enough to save the day?

In this energetic read-aloud, the words swim off the pages as the underwater world comes to life through lush, dynamic illustrations and visual poetry. Journey to an imaginative world where, always and forever, bubbles . . . rise . . . UP!---from the publisher

32 pages 978-0062836618 Ages 4-8

Keywords: water, community pool, playing, fun, water sports, 4 year old, 5 year old, 6 year old, 7 year old


“We got no troubles

Life is the bubbles

Under the sea”

-- Howard Ashman and Alan Menken (1989)

Six-plus decades ago, my father scooped a big handful of coins out of his pocket, tossed them into that year’s backyard pool (approximately 30” deep) and challenged me to retrieve them. That’s when I learned the magic of underwater. Whether it be a bay or a backyard pool, underwater is where I long to be.

“In the middle of my busiest days I crave escape, preferably to another world. It sounds like science fiction, but even in central London it is possible to step through a boundary to another realm and be back before the end of lunch break. The trick is to go swimming, because diving into the water means crossing a sharp acoustical line. On the other side is the alien world of underwater sound…

We can barely hear underwater sound when we’re standing in the air, because the water surface acts like an acoustical mirror from both sides. The dense, strong-bonded molecules in water can’t push efficiently on the loose, free-travelling molecules in the air, so very little sound travels across the boundary.”

-- Helen Czerski, “The Calm of the Underwater Soundscape” (WSJ, 5/15/19)

From my perspective, describing BUBBLES...UP! as a picture book about swimming is to ignore the all-important differences between splashing around, or employing various swimming strokes to deliberately propel one’s body through water, and joyously escaping to a magical underwater refuge, away from everybody and everything.

“You dive in!

Your friends circle up

Dunk and splash

Bump and crash

Laugh and laugh

Duck--and up!



under under under


You under-sit.

You under-talk.

You under-smile.

You under-walk

You somersault.

You under-stand.

You under-handstand.


You understand.”

There is so much joy bubbling up in this neighborhood pool which is being loved by a diverse cast of characters. There are some admirable sibling interactions, and a light-hearted lesson about getting out of the water when the thunderstorm gallops through. Happy verses, blue water, and lots of bubbles.

Carole King might long to be up on the roof, but I’ll take the quiet solitude of underwater every time.

32 pages                               978-0-06-283661-8                           Ages 4-7

Recommended by:  Richie Partington, MLIS, California USA

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