STARRED REVIEW
February 2016

A fairy shows her strength

By Kelle Hampton
In this exuberant story from the award-winning duo of Doreen Cronin and David Small, a castle that resides in a fragile glass kingdom is maintained by a spirited fairy named Bloom, though she’s too rough around the edges for the royalty who live there. Her footsteps are heavy, she has dirt in her teeth, and she tracks mud everywhere.
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In this exuberant story from the award-winning duo of Doreen Cronin and David Small, a castle that resides in a fragile glass kingdom is maintained by a spirited fairy named Bloom, though she’s too rough around the edges for the royalty who live there. Her footsteps are heavy, she has dirt in her teeth, and she tracks mud everywhere.

Everyone is relieved when Bloom leaves to settle in the forest—until the kingdom crumbles. No one, including the king and queen when they go trotting into the forest to ask Bloom what can save the kingdom, will accept the fairy’s answer: “Mud.”

What happens next is the most surprising and beautiful part of the story. Just when you assume that Bloom will somehow return and show everyone the error of their ways, instead the king and queen send to the forest an exceedingly timid girl with a tiny voice, told by everyone that she’s “ordinary.” She’s also confused by Bloom’s response, but instead of storming off in a huff, she stays. Bloom teaches her to get her hands dirty in more ways than one, and the girl finds her fortitude and voice along the way, even yelling in the end, “I can’t believe what we’ve done!” When the girl is unsure what to tell the kingdom upon her return, Bloom instructs her: “Tell them there is no such thing as an ordinary girl.” 

Small’s illustrations in this empowering story are sublime. His delicate yet energetic lines and warm colors on cream-colored pages pull the reader into this carefully constructed world. Cronin’s lengthy text, peppered with playful font sizes and typography, is precise and evocative. 

Don’t miss this utterly radiant tale, one of 2016’s early charmers.
 

Julie Danielson features authors and illustrators at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast, a children’s literature blog.

This article was originally published in the February 2016 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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Bloom

Bloom

By Kelle Hampton
Morrow
ISBN 9780062045034

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