Book Review: Becka goes to San Francisco

Cover of the book Becka goes to San Francisco.

Becka was an indie girl when I met her four months ago. She is growing up.

This September Becka and the Big Bubble series, written by Gretchen Schomer Wendel and Adam Anthony Schomer, goes mainstream.

Becka is a girl who floats on magic soap bubbles, fearlessly exploring the world around her. In her first adventure, Around Town, we were introduced to the bubble concept, mostly marveling at the excitement of her unique form of travel. The second book, North Pole, introduced richer illustrations, a variety of scenes and a deeper plot involving Santa Claus.

Becka’s San Francisco trip is yet another well-developed variation. Much like North Pole, she blows a magic bubble, floats to a new land, gets off her bubble to explore and then floats home again. And she does it all in rhyme.

This time her friend Ben comes along for the ride, perhaps to give the story some crossover appeal with boys. They do everything side-by-side.
For example:

The majestic Coit Tower,
up the hills straight ahead.
It was a fire lookout,
Ben’s Mom once said.

Then a cable car appeared.
"He’s winking at us.
Transport us up the hills,
Like an open air bus."

What is different about the San Francisco story is that each page features a different city landmark where Becka and Ben do something together.

Those landmarks are: Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39, Marina Boulevard, Coit Tower seen from a cable car, Lombard Street, Haight-Ashbury and Golden Gate Park. The scenes are so varied that the book should be a hit with Bay Area children and parents who know the region. More importantly, the book beats commemorative spoons and magnets as a memento for your kids after you vacation in the area. It would be a crime not to sell the book as a substitute for touristy kitsch.

My 3-year-old daughter liked a talking redwood tree most from the story. Maybe it’s because we live five hours north of San Francisco deep in redwood country, but Becka’s interaction with the tree covers three pages, the most of any scene in the story.

When I reviewed the first two books in the Becka and the Big Bubble series she was softcover, sold primarily through the authors’ web site and some independent bookstores.

Becka goes national in September. Hardcover editions will be sold at Walmart, Borders and other box stores. Pre-orders are available on Amazon. Softcovers are available now through the authors’ web site.

In October 2007, Becka will go to India. Other planned destinations include Australia, China, Egypt, England, Mexico, Michigan, New York City and San Diego.

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