Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Book Review, or Love the One You're With

I dislike beginning my reviews with the word "I." So forgive me for introducing this review with one. It would be unfair if I didn't get my biases as a reviewer out in the open before discussing Maria Van Lieshout's Bloom: A Little Book About Finding Love. Here's the deal: I am not a romantic. Valentine's Day, and hearts, and flowers, and pink simply do not appeal to me. Needless to say, when Bloom: A Little Book About Finding Love found its way into my mailbox, I was reluctant to crack open the cover. All that pink! And the flowers! Fortified by a triple espresso and the fact that I'm wearing black today, I began to read...


was pleasantly surprised.

The hero of Bloom, a charming young pig, does indeed fall in love. With flowers. And a flying, dancing flower, "the most beautiful thing [she's] ever seen!" Bloom wants to dance and fly and enjoy the beauty in life. But then the mean old flying flower leaves her and she's bereft. It's a sad tale of love found and love lost until we realize Bloom has the attention span of your average three year old. Another pig comes along, sees through the drama with the cheekiest expression on his/her face, and attracts Bloom away from her misery and into a field of flowers.

Visually, Bloom: A Little Book About Finding Love is a treat. Maria Van Lieshout's line drawings are expressive and funny, and the book's design (by Molly Leach) reminds me of Annette Simon's work in its play with type and layout. I especially appreciate Van Lieshout's rendering of Pig #2. This pig--the white one--could be a parent or a friend who sees through Bloom's diva moments and has the patience and love to distract her from the pathos. Bloom is ideally suited for children ages three to six, be they the drama king (or queen) or the friend who brings each dramatic moment down a notch or two.

Happy Valentine's Day!
Don't miss these two reviews:

A Fuse #8
Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast

You can find a trailer for Bloom at the Bloom website.