Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Book Review: Bubba and Squirt's Big Dig to China

  
Bubba and Squirt have a great fall. And what a fall it is! 

This is another good read for young people that allows travel back into ancient history in the form of an adventure that connects to curriculum in the classroom without being pedantic or dull. I found the title engaging, since, as a child, I always heard that phrase, ". . . dig a hole to China."

Fourth grader Bubba decides he can dig a hole to China. His older sister, Squirt, gives him a bad time. But Bubba is confident. The shovel Grandpa Joe bought at a garage sale is supposed to be magic. And it is. 

            When the ground inside  the hole Bubba’s digging cracks and crumbles, both Bubba and Squirt (yanked in while trying to pull him out) find themselves tumbling through time and space, coming out in ancient China of the first Emperor Qin Shi Huang. In fact, they are in the emperor’s grave, where 8,000 or so terra cotta soldiers stand vigil to protect his tomb. Once over their shock, the siblings look for the hole they fell through. It’s gone! Worse, they encounter Qin’s ghost, a very upset ghost, not happy about their invasion of his tomb. Qin cannot rest, because someone stole his special pendant, or “pi” that protects his soul until it gets to heaven. And Bubba and Squirt can’t go home unless they find his pendant.

            After Qin's ghost disappears, a uniformed guard above the pit spies them, and the siblings make a hasty escape up a ramp, out some doors, into a busy marketplace, where more adventures unfold. New friends, Tou Wan (about Bubba’s age) and her grandmother, Nai Nai, listen to the siblings’ tale and have a few tales of their own, all connected to the pendant. 

            This book offers so much to young people to enjoy: For 6thgraders, this is great supplementary reading for the unit on ancient China. For students with a Chinese background, it’s an opportunity to see China’s history and culture portrayed in meaningful ways they can connect to. It’s a good introduction for children of any culture, and young people in general will enjoy the time travel, the ghosts, and the magic. It also offers maps, a glossary, and a tasty recipe for Chinese dumplings. 

You can connect with Sherry Ellis at her website here. 
You can find and purchase her book HERE.  


How about you? Did you ever dig a hole in your back yard thinking it could get you to China? Is China one of the places you would like to visit one day? Do you enjoy Chinese food, and do you have recipes to share? 



22 comments:

Elephant's Child said...

It does look like a heap of fun. My brothers (and one of our dogs) certainly did their best to dig to China.
My partner toured China a few years ago and loved it. I will admit to being jealous about him seeing the terracotta warriors and the Great Wall.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

What a lucky trip for your partner. There was a display of some of the terra cotta warriors here in Sacramento a few years ago at the Crocker Art Museum. I don't know if they were really taken from the group in China or facsimiles, but it was awesome to see those life-size figures. To see them in the actual location must have been even moreso.

Kate Larkindale said...

Sounds like a great read. I lived in China when I was in 6th grade and we went on a class trip to see the terracotta warriors. They were very impressive! There's currently an exhibit of them here at the museum and I'm planning to take the kids to see them. Won't be as impressive as the gigantic pit full of them, but on the other hand, you will probably be able to get closer to them and see their individuality more. Maybe this is required reading before we go.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Wow, what a great 6th grade field trip! That's the kind of thing that create's life long learners. (I'm a former teacher.) It's nice that your museum has an exhibit, though. I really liked it when our museum did. By then I had retired, but if I were still teaching 6th grade, definitely that would be on my list of things to do during the school year.

Rosi said...

I've been hearing about this one. I hope to check it out one day soon. Thanks for the post.

Sherry Ellis said...

Thank you so much for the review! What a great surprise! It made my day!

Sandra Cox said...

This one sounds like a fun one. Congrats to Sherry.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Rosi, it is a cute book, and informative as well. Your granddaughter's school might like it. If so, let me know. I have a copy I can give you.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Sherry, it really was my pleasure. Glad you liked the review. I certainly liked the book! :-)

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Sandra, thanks for stopping by. Have a great day, wherever you are (I seem to remember you are traveling.)

Donna K. Weaver said...

There's nothing like reading something fun to learn history.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Donna, you are so right. I think that's why I like historical novels so much. Thanks for stopping by.

Daniela Ark said...

Always great to find books for young people that educative but nor boring! Especially history. Thank you for sharing. My kids love ancient China!

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

I so agree, Daniela. When I was teaching 6th grade, it was so hard to find supplementary fiction to engage the students in the areas of history we studied (ancient Egypt, ancient Greece, ancient India, ancient Rome, ancient China . . .) My students would have loved this book.

Mark Noce said...

I dug a lot of holes as a kid. Unfortunately, my children are doing the same in my yard now. :)

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

This was really funny, Mark! Maybe you can put them to work when planting season arrives? Thanks for stopping by.

DMS said...

Wonderful to see Sherry and her book here today. I read and enjoyed this book too. So much fun! Loved reading your thoughts.
~Jess

cleemckenzie said...

What a great review for Sherry's book. I must get busy and read this one.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Hi, Jess, glad you enjoyed the book and my thoughts on it. Have a great day.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Thanks for stopping by, Lee. It's really a fun read. Like I said, I wish I had been able to offer it for supplementary reading for my sixth grade students in my teaching days.

Julia Thorley said...

What a great premise for a story.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

I agree, Julia. I think so many can relate to the whimsical idea of digging a hole to China. It's a great take on an old trope. Thanks for stopping by.