Sunday, April 24, 2022

Weekend Review: Bloom


Bloom / Kyo Maclear & Julie Morstad
Toronto: Tundra, c2018.
40 p.

I saw this intriguing picture book biography at work; Kyo Maclear and Julie Morstad are two of my favourite Canadian picture book duos so I obviously had to read this. It's an unusual book - told very simply and illustrated with the specific style I expect from Morstad. It's lovely, and features the colours and designs Schiaparelli is known for. 

It tells the life story of Elsa Schiaparelli, all the way from the beginnings when two disappointed looking parents stand above her crib, sad she isn't a boy. And as she grows, she finds that unlike her older sisters, she is "brutta" -- ugly. She becomes enamored with flowers, which represent beauty to her.

The book focuses on the 20s and 30s, when she becomes a part of the surrealist art movement, and shows how that shapes her as a designer who can't actually sew, but has a vivid, experimental imagination. Because it's a picture book format, it's of necessity brief and glosses over quite a lot, but at the end there is more info and some suggested reading to learn more. I found this both useful and a little strange; all the suggested readings are books for adults, and it left me wondering who exactly the audience for this book is. The content is more suited to older readers; the style is more suited to younger ones. It lives in our children's department so perhaps those older middle grade readers or younger teens who have a passion for fashion might want to pick it up. So far it's been mostly adult readers enjoying this one here. 

But it could be included in an art classroom for sure, and would stand up to other titles about creativity and art. I liked it, and as always, found the illustrations charming. 


  1. Hi Melanie. This book sounds very much like the 'Little People, BIG DREAMS' series of books in our library. My grandaughter, nearly seven, knows I like this series and always tries to find a couple to borrow. I started with borrowing the sewing stories .. Coco Chanel and Frida Kahlo and then we started getting others. But only today she found Rosa Parks, the civil rights activist who in her quest to stand up for what is right spent time in prison. My grandaughter was quite concerned and had so many questions ... about concepts she did not understand. And I thought, Junior Fiction, although it is life I am not convinced about the content
    for a picture book, usually for young children. The style is appropriate for 6-7 years, and the pictures appealing, but not necessarily the content, and yet I tell myself there are 6-7 year olds who live these experiences. It is a bit of a dilemma.
    The other book she chose from the series today was John Lennon, and I have to say, that made me smile.

    I really enjoy your book reviews, and often find them a bit of a comment on life, and this is no exception.
    ... Sara

    1. It's interesting to hear your experiences with these kinds of books. Glad that your granddaughter reads and enjoys them. I guess in this particular book, it's not the content was inappropriate in any way for children, but I wondered if it was a bit outside their interest ranges. But I guess not, since your granddaughter has been enjoying other ones in a similar vein!

      I'll have to look for the series that you mention, I haven't seen any but they sound intriguing.


Share your comments, ideas or suggestions here -- I am always interested in hearing from readers. It's nice to have a conversation!