Billy & the Bubbleship
Adele Ashby was the former editor of Canadian Materials for Schools and Libraries.
A bright blinding light leads a young Ontario boy into an adventure in another solar system. Billy discovers a bluish liquid with which he is able to blow a giant bubble. Intending only to take a short ride on his updated magic carpet, he finds himself instead sucked into a black hole and then deposited on the planet Zomar. He witnesses the kidnapping of a young prince while barely managing to escape capture himself by the minions of the Mad Queen who lives in a city beneath the sea. Billy falls into the hands of Prince Yan of the Tree Country, who takes him to Vensor and the family of the missing prince. There, with the aid of magic earrings that permit him to communicate, he takes part in a plan for a daring rescue using bubbles as submarines to penetrate the Mad Queen’s watery kingdom. At last he is transported back to his own bedroom where he finds that the adventure of a lifetime has taken only a few short minutes.
The characters are cardboard, and the plot is highly improbable, but the pace of the action is rapid and does carry one along. Adults who are put off by Yost’s verbal gushings on the TV screen will be equally put off to see them translated into print, complete with countless exclamation points and italics. But the junior audience at whom this is aimed will be less critical. Not a lasting title, but a copy on the paperback rack will not do any harm.