The method of domain perturbations is used to study the problem of a nearly spherical bubble in an inviscid, axisymmetric straining flow. Steady-state shapes and axisymmetric oscillatory motions are considered. The steady-state solutions suggest the existence of a limit point at a critical Weber number, beyond which no solution exists on the steady-state solution branch which includes the spherical equilibrium state in the absence of flow (e.g. the critical value of 1.73 is estimated from the third-order solution). In addition, the first-order steady-state shape exhibits a maximum radius at θ = ⅙π which clearly indicates the barrel-like shape that was found earlier via numerical finite-deformation theories for higher Weber numbers. The oscillatory motion of a nearly spherical bubble is considered in two different ways. First, a small perturbation to a spherical base state is studied with the ad hoc assumption that the steady-state shape is spherical for the complete Weber-number range of interest. This analysis shows that the frequency of oscillation decreases as Weber number increases, and that a spherical bubble shape is unstable if Weber number is larger than 4.62. Secondly, the correct steady-state shape up to O(W) is included to obtain a rigorous asymptotic formula for the frequency change at small Weber number. This asymptotic analysis also shows that the frequency decreases as Weber number increases; for example, in the case of the principal mode (n = 2), ω2 = ω00(1−0.31W), where ω0 is the oscillation frequency of a bubble in a quiescent fluid.