“Bubble Gum, Bubble Gum”
by Lisa Wheeler
How would you like a sure-fire, always successful
read-aloud story for the young children you teach?
Well, here it is. One of my students’ top favorites.
Here’s the plot:
Uh oh! A toad is just walking down the road
when he accidentally steps in bubble gum.
Ooey, gooey bubble gum! He tries to get out,
but he can’t. (Apparently it’s really sticky gum –
that, or else the toad is simply too weak. Anyway.
He’s stuck. Then along comes a shrew (why a
shrew? I don’t know. This is the one and only
shrew I’ve ever seen in a children’s book), and
a goose, and a bee, and a crow, who’s old and wears
glasses. (Again, I don’t know why.) They all get
hopelessly stuck in the gum.
But wait – things get even worse! A big blue truck
is coming down the road! “Oh no – what will they do
now?” I ask the children. One boy last week said,
“They’re going to die.” Good answer, but no. The
resourceful animals chew the gum and blow a bubble,
which lifts all of them way up into the sky, far beyond
the reach of the truck.
Yay! But – watch out! A big brown bear is coming!
(Just when you thought everything was okay!) Now
the little animals just hide and hope for the best.
Surprise! The bear gets stuck in the bubble gum!
This story is so ridiculous. It makes no sense at all.
But here’s the thing: Young children LOVE this story.
I think stepping in gum is just inherently funny (unless
it happens to you).
I make this story musical by repeating the refrain
“Bubble gum, bubble gum, ooey gooey bubble gum,”
each time one of the animals gets stuck. (I sing this to
the tune of “Rain, rain, go away, come again another
day.”) It’s easy for the children to sing along with
and keeps them actively involved in the story.
Just for fun, I bring out a puppet of one of the animals
later to remind the children not to step in gum! They