‘The Bubble Maker’: Local author publishes new book

James Keast is pictured with his new book, “The Bubble Maker." The Marquette-based author and artist previously published “Dragonfly Soup." Both books are filled with short poems accompanied by Keast’s illustrations. (Journal photo by Christie Mastric)

MARQUETTE — The poem “The Bubble Maker” is in James Keast’s new book, which carries this same title, but youngsters can read about a “Mole Troll” and a “Broom Fairy” too.

The Marquette-based author and artist, who recently published “Dragonfly Soup,” has a new book out, and it’s as whimsical as the first.

Both books are filed with short poems accompanied by Keast’s illustrations, which include a UFO complete with a blue-eyed alien as well as a tree with an especially large trunk — and a human face.

“There’s more kind of ghoulish-type things in this one,” Keast said.

For example, there are stories about a ghost ship, a graveyard and a haunted house.

The cover of ÒThe Bubble Maker" a new book by James Keast, is shown. The book is filled with short poems accompanied by KeastÕs illustrations. (Image courtesy of James Keast)

However, there also are stories about a girl named Buttercup and a mermaid with long flowing hair and a sweet voice.

Keast said “The Bubble Maker” differs from “Dragonfly Soup” in that the latter book focused more on insects.

“This one’s a little bit, I guess you’d say, macabre,” Keast said, laughing. “But it’s friendly macabre. It’s not scary stuff that little kids would be afriad of.”

He did call “The Bubble Maker” a sequel to the first book.

“They kind of go hand in hand,” said Keast, who pointed out the similarity of layout.

Although the appearance of the two books are similar, the content is different.

How many kids have wished they could find a hidden spot in the woods where they could disappear for a while?

That happens in “Hiding in a Hole.”

The story reads:

“I am hiding in my hole.

I am hiding all alone.

I am hiding here all by myself.

I am hiding still as a stone.

Sticks, leaves, and roots of trees

are hanging all around.

I am hoping that my hiding place

is one that is not found.”

The accompanying illustration shows a child hiding under a mushroom-covered tree on a hill, with a pair of legs — presumably belonging to an adult — close by.

How many adults have fond memories of a tree that held a special spot in their childhoods?

Such is the case with “The Old Oak Tree,” which reads in part: “I loved it when he would start to laugh, when he did some of his leaves would shake. They would flutter all around me, some even falling into the lake.

“I am all grown up now and have moved away, but the memories of the old oak tree, will last me until I fade away.”

“The Bubble Maker” is available on Amazon. Keast said the book isn’t yet available on his website, www.fairyartandmore.com, plus he’s looking on having the book available from other online sources.

Keast also is considering promoting his books on YouTube.

In the meantime, young readers can stir their imaginations by reading “The Bubble Maker,” whose title character mixes chemicals to make a solution that will make his bubbles reflect the sun’s changing light.

“It’s just a fun book, just like this first one was,” he said.

“Dragonfly Soup,” he noted, has gotten positive reviews.

“They can read a couple different poems to their kids before bedtime and because they’re short, they say each poem doesn’t leave you up in the air.” Keast said. “It’s almost like its own little story.”

He also has heard that kids don’t want the parents to turn the pages.

“There’s so much going on in each picture,” Keast said. “They keep wanting to see the pictures again and again and again.”

In fact, one Amazon reviewer of “Dragonfly Soup” wrote, “There is so much to look at on each page that my daughter didn’t want me to turn to the next page.”

Keast stressed that “The Bubble Maker” is written the same way.

Will there be a third book? It might not be the same as the first two.

A relative who wrote a children’s version of King Arthur, which Keast illustrated, had passed away, and might want to redo the art, he said.

Keast also is considering publishing a pictorial book of his black-and-white artwork.

He even has a title picked out: “It’s All Black and White.”

That book, he said, would be for any age.

“Most of my art is pretty much kid-friendly,” Keast said.

Christie Mastric can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is cbleck@miningjournal.net


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