February 13, 2017
Bloom by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by David Small
“Once upon a time in a beautiful glass kingdom, there lived an unusual fairy named Bloom.” It seems that everywhere Bloom walked, she left a trail of muddy boot prints. Ladybugs clung to her wings. She could spin sand into glass, turn a trickle of water into a river, and weeds became blossoms. But she also had a heavy foot. In addition to leaving mud, she often left tiny cracks.
As the kingdom grew larger and more shiny, the people no longer noticed Bloom’s abilities. All they saw was the mess she left behind. Gripe, gripe, gripe. A fairy can only stand so much and one day she left.
As you can imagine, a glass kingdom is a fragile thing and without the fairy that could spin glass, it fell into disrepair. The king remembered Bloom and rode out to find her. Then the queen rode out.
Let’s just say that it didn’t work. It wasn’t that they couldn’t find Bloom, but that she refused to help. They decided that the problem was that they were royalty and, as royalty, sure to intimidate a quiet, little fairy. So they chose Genevieve, the most ordinary girl in the kingdom, and sent her to find the fairy.
Before long, Bloom is teaching her all that she needs to know to build. Along the way Genevieve also learns to speak out, get her hands dirty and that there is no such thing as an ordinary girl.
I have to admit that at first I shrank back from this book. Oh, no. Another special snowflake story. But this isn’t about being special in spite of the fact that you do nothing. This is a story all about a girl who is quiet and shy and proper and altogether typical but still accomplishes what the king and queen could not. She, quite literally, saves the kingdom and she does it in an all new way.
You may recognize David Small’s illustrations and that isn’t surprising. He is the winner of the Caldecott Award–winning illustrator of So You Want to Be President? by Judith St. George. He also illustrated Sarah Stewart’s The Gardener, one of my favorites, One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo, and Elsie’s Bird by Jane Yolen.
Share this book with your class and get ready for a great group discussion on how to solve a wealth of problems.