Too Many Bubbles

A Story about Mindfulness

Illustrated by Mags DeRoma
40 pages  •  Published 2021 (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky)
Book cover
Recommended Age Range: Preschool through 1st grade.
Publisher's Summary: Izzy the Mouse wakes up one day with a grumpy thought bubble hanging over her head. But instead of going away on its own, it multiplies. Soon, the thought bubbles are getting in the way of every part of Izzy’s life. Something must be done! But what? When Izzy sees a bear blowing bubbles and realizes that a deep breath helps them float away, she tries a deep breathing exercise—and it helps her get rid of her grumpy thoughts for good.
Book cover

Dr. Annie's Takeaways

Recommended for: Young children who are experiencing unwanted thoughts (worries, intrusive thoughts as in OCD) and who will benefit from learning the techniques of diaphragmatic breathing and a mindfulness exercise of noting their thoughts and gently blowing them away as they exhale.
Would a child like it? A young child would probably enjoy blowing on Izzy’s bubbles and seeing them blow away. It’s a sweet visualization and a fun way to make the story interactive.
Evidence-Based Practices: Diaphragmatic Breathing, Mindfulness, Relaxation
Tone: light and airy, hopeful
Story Quality: It’s an extremely simple story with very few words. There are very few details and very little plot. Izzy has a thought that bothers her (pictured as a thought bubble with squiggles inside); over time it multiples until her whole world is crowded with “grumpy thoughts.” She goes to the beach, sees a bear blowing bubbles, and realizes that she can blow away her grumpy thought bubbles. That’s the entire story.
Illustrations: Cute, primary-colored drawings. The “grumpy thoughts” are drawn as brightly colored thought bubbles with squiggles inside.
Representation: Izzy is a blue mouse. She uses she/her pronouns. Other than her name and pronouns, there is nothing gendered about Izzy.
Psychological Practices: The reason I’ve included this book in the Bookshelf is that it has a really lovely two-page spread that encourages the reader to gently blow Izzy’s grumpy thoughts away–it’s a wonderful, fun way to teach children about diaphragmatic breathing and a great visual to help them to buy into the value of the technique. It’s a story about mindfulness, in that the story is teaching a mindfulness technique. If a child pictures filling the bubbles with their own “grumpy thoughts” (could definitely apply to worries or intrusive thoughts–perhaps actually better than to grumpy thoughts), then it could become a mindful visualization exercise of acknowledging an unwanted thought and picturing it gently blowing away in the breeze as one exhales.
Concerns: It’s only a story about mindfulness if the “grumpy thoughts” are first acknowledged, rather than pushed away. I’m not sure this is quite adequately implied by the story. But if this is clarified to a child reading it, it teaches a well-used mindfulness technique.