Professor Angelicus Visits the Big Blue Ballby L. B. B. Ward
The two children begin blowing bubbles, and a giant bubble appears, carrying
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On the first day of spring, Zak and his dog Ziggy are waiting at the river to meet Ivy for a day of fishing when a tree branch falls and hits Zak on the head. When he comes to, Ivy has arrived, and shows him a bottle her grandmother has given her. She tells him it contains magic bubbles.
The two children begin blowing bubbles, and a giant bubble appears, carrying an unusual creature inside. He introduces himself as Professor Aquius Botanicus Angelicus of the planet Quantia, on a search for pure water to fuel the bubble he uses as a spaceship.
Professor Angelicus is trying to get home to Quantia in time for the planet’s Rainbow Festival, held once every billion years. The water in the river isn’t pure enough to fuel his ship for such a long journey, and he asks Zak and Ivy for their help. An easy task proves difficult, and the three friends, along with Ziggy, find themselves traveling all over the world, from the bottom of the ocean to the rainforest looking for pure water. Along the way, they are hindered by ever more apparent problems in earth’s environment and by the creature, Borrell - the evil, shape-changing embodiment of negative energy and bad thoughts.
With help from animal friends, they eventually reach the Polar Ice Cap, where they defeat Borrell and find the water to fuel Professor Angelicus’ bubble ship. In gratitude, the Professor takes Zak, Ivy, and Ziggy with him to the Rainbow Festival, where they receive special thanks from the Quantian Grand Council, and magic tools – a wand, a pipe, and a collar for Ziggy – that will allow them to travel in the sparkle.
Zak comes to on the riverbank, wondering if it was all a dream, when he spots Ziggy wearing his magic collar…
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By L.B.B. Ward Illustrated by Coulter Watt 4.0 stars On Saturday, the 1st day of spring, Zak and his dog Ziggy go to meet their friend Ivy at the boat rental office so they can go fishing in the nearby river. As it turns out, fishing falls by the wayside and they end up blowing bubbles instead. To their amazement, a giant bubble appears in the sky bearing none other than Professor Aquius Botanicus Angelicus of Quantia - the Rainbow Planet! "The creature was clearly not of this world, though he had an almost human air about him. He was slender and a little bit taller than the children. His immense, egg-shaped head was tipped with a thin, grass-green beard on his chin, and bushy green eyebrows over huge, almond-shaped, aquamarine eyes - the color of the sea! [Note: The professor's eyes turn different colors depending upon his mood.] But the oddest things about him were his long ears. They were bright green - all four of them! The two outer ears hung down on the side of his head and the other two grew up from the top alongside a green-stemmed antenna with a golden yellow tip, like a flower. Clenched in his pearly white teeth was a long pipe with three large bird feathers hanging from the bowl. Along the step of the pipe was a row of ten little buttons, each one a different color, and they were all blinking on and off." Professor Angelicus has come to Earth (or the Big Blue Ball as he calls it) in search of pure, clean water to refuel his bubble machine so that he can get home to Quantia in time for the Rainbow Festival. Zak, Ivy and Ziggy agree to help him find the water and board the Professor's bubble to head off on an amazing journey that takes them to a city, a bay, the ocean, The Palace of Memories, the rain forest and the ice world. They meet a delightful array of characters on their travels including Harry the King crab, Mikey & Ralph the turkey buzzards, Countess Monique ze Monarch, Tantra the turtle, Borrell the Imposter: a giant tick, Serena the dolphin and her calf, Chakra, Daido the frog, Reiki the black panther, Seetasha the whale and the unbelievable Prime Minister Popadopadon, whose cousin just happens to be the Loch Ness Monster! Throughout their adventure, Zak, Ivy and Ziggy learn about Sharelings, Quantia, and the universe from the Professor and they teach him about the ecological state of Planet Earth. They are shocked and dismayed by what they encounter and learn that significant change comes in baby steps. Professor Angelicus Visits The Big Blue Ball is an enchanting, intelligent and magical tale about how important it is to have a moral conscience when it comes to how we treat our planet and all those who live on it. It teaches children about sharing, caring and taking action towards living a greener life, and helping to preserve wildlife and all of Earth's natural resources: most significantly, its water. L.B.B. Ward's thoughtful and highly imaginative story flows like liquid elixir from The Fountain of Youth. Appropriate for children ages 8-12 (but to be read to those ages 3-93), it should be required reading for every public school child, as they will certainly fall in love with the Land of Sparkle. The book is illustrated with wonderful black and white drawings at the beginning of every chapter by painter, muralist, and documentary filmmaker Coulter Watt. Professor Angelicus Visits The Big Blue Ball should be a bestseller. Its message of the importance of the interconnec
The idea behind this story - that everything is dependent on everything else - needs to be written about more, in my opinion, and author L.B.B. Ward has tackled this with imagination and sensitivity. Professor Angelicus, himself, symbolises the interconnectedness of all things by being a mixture of person and plant - his leaf-like ears and flower-like antenna serving as an early warning system when something isn't right. He teaches Zak and Ivy, the two children he meets when he lands on Earth (the Big Blue Ball), that sharing what one has with others is the way to live a happy and balanced life. Everything is a Shareling (a lovely word!) - people, plants, animals, water, air, the planet itself. Professor Angelicus says of his planet, Quantia (or the Land of Sparkle), "We share our food and water, our feelings and love. We share everything. We share the space on our planet equally. We're all friends on Quantia and we all speak the same language. The animals talk, the trees, the flowers...even the rivers sing...In harmony, of course. You become a Shareling by doing what you can do best." On their journey to find pure water to fuel the Professor's bubble spaceship back home, the children and Angelicus are helped by all kind of animal sharelings e.g. Monique, the French butterfly; Seetasha, the whale, and President of the Underwater Confederation; and Prime Minister Popadopadon, a huge three-eyed, dinosaur-like creature, who is 70 million years old and is cousin to the Loch Ness Monster. Besides having three differently coloured eyes to see the past, present and future, he also has a body coloured every shade of green and blue and has a white belly with red and orange polka dots - how, I would have loved to have seen a picture of him, when I read that! When the travellers' fears overwhelm them, the evil Borrell appears - a monster that can take any form - and Zak and Ivy learn that the only way to defeat him is to think positive thoughts. Eventually, they find the pure water they've been seeking and they all travel to Quantia to see the Rainbow Festival, using one of the starpaths that criss-cross the universe. The description of the Rainbow Festival and the Grand Council at Great Spirit Mountain is probably my favourite part of the book, as the author describes beautifully and imaginatively a world of wonderful joy, sharing and harmony, where all things are possible, but there are marvellous words of wisdom peppered throughout the book, such as when the Professor is talking to Popadopadon in the Palace of Memories: "Things have gotten out of alignment here. Hate makes more hate. Only love can make love. If the Guardian Residents balanced their body, mind and spirit, the Big Blue Ball would be better balanced." And when seeing all the rubbish dumped in the ocean, Angelicus says about humans, "Why do they do that?...What do they think the water can do with their garbage?" There are some quite challenging spiritual themes to the book and what readers gain from it will depend on their age, but the book deserves to be read by young and old alike, as it will open their eyes to a different way of looking at and living on this wonderful living, breathing Big Blue Ball of ours before, hopefully, it's too late.
PROFESSOR ANGELICUS VISITS THE BIG BLUE BALL has wonderful characters that take readers on a delightfully adventurous journey. I intended to read the book over 3-4 days. I started it in the morning and could not leave part of the story for a second day. L.B.B. Ward's captivating story gives youth hope that they can make a healthier world for all living things. She reveals to young readers dismal truths about the destructive impact human beings have upon our planet while inspiring them to trust that they can indeed personally change things for the better. This is certainly a book every parent should have in their child's library.
A fantasy - visionary - environmental voyage through the problems facing the children of future generations. Ivy, Zak and Zak's dog, Ziggy, help Professor Angelicus, an intergalactic planetary healer find pure water on Earth to fuel his bubble craft to get home. Fantastic fable for kids of all ages...highly recommended!!