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Chavela and the Magic Bubble

by Monica Brown
Illustrated by Magaly Morales

Published by Clarion, 2010
32 pages
ISBN: 978-0-547-24197-5

Ages 4-8

Podcast featuring this book

Chavela, a young Mexican-American girl, loves chewing chicle (gum), and is exceptionally good at blowing bubbles with it. One morning, on her weekly Saturday trip with her grandmother to the corner store, Chavela spots a new type of gum called “Magic Chicle”—gum that once it is chewed, allows her to float. The gum glides her all the way to Mexico where she meets chicleros (gum collectors), who are extracting chicle from sapodilla trees, and a girl, who mysteriously reminds her of her grandmother. While there, she sings, dances, and learns about how chicle is extracted from the trees much like sap, and eventually turned into chewing gum. Illustrator Magaly Morales’s colorful, bold and bright acrylic artwork, with its curves, swoops and sense of motion, depict Chavela’s journey to Mexico and discoveries with delight. After a long nap, Chavela finds herself alone until she figures out a way to use the chicle to get back home to California. This whimsical story about a loving grandmother/granddaughter relationship captures the essence of magical realism with its gratifying resolution. Highly Commended, 2011 Charlotte Zolotow Award (CF) ©2010 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

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