Bubba: A Gerbil’s Adventure
by Deborah Dominguez, MFT and Richard Engel

"Anyway, I am sorry I made you cry, but I have a very strong urge to travel and be free. The spinning wheel was boring."

Bubba lives a normal gerbil life with his family in California: his owner Debi treats him with kindness while he eats his food, spins in his exercise wheel, and sleeps in his habitat. But unbeknownst to Debi or anyone in her family, Bubba has inexplicably become able to reason and comprehend everything happening around him. Desperate for freedom and adventure, he yearns to leave his simple life behind and see the world as he has on TV. When the stars align, and he has an opportunity to escape, he takes it despite causing Debi distress. Stowing away in a suitcase, Bubba’s adventures lead him to see the sights of France and the wilderness of Libya, but before long Bubba begins to think that having his old life back wouldn’t be so bad.

There is obviously an inherent silliness to a gerbil going on a global adventure, and the authors are wise to lean into the details of that while also not attempting to overanalyze or overexplain a situation that will make children giggle but which also provides for a heartwarming adventure. When Bubba turns his quest for freedom into reality, there is an excellent moral for any child who might have lost a pet on how an animal can love its owner and still want to return to nature. Bubba’s adventures take several surprising turns and provide plenty of action and danger for children to imagine while still staying true to his character as an animal with reason. There are some spiritual components to the book that come into play in the second half, so families looking for faith-positive children’s fiction will be delighted with this story. Meanwhile, secular households can still enjoy the adventure for what it is.

Return to USR Home