Books by Lloyd Bloom

ANNA’S CORN by Barbara Santucci
Released: Aug. 1, 2002

A little girl experiences the loss of her grandfather in this sad, sweet tale about death. Anna, a farmer's granddaughter, learns how to hear the "corn make music" from Grandpa. Together during one of their walks through the cornfields, they listen to the wind traveling through the stalks. After she hears the music this creates, Anna's grandfather gives her some corn kernels to plant the following spring and makes her promise that she will. The adult reader will probably know what's coming next when, that winter, Anna's grandfather dies. When spring arrives, Anna's reluctant to plant the kernels. When her mother asks her why, Anna replies, "If I bury them, they'll be gone forever." Her mother says, "They won't be gone, Anna. They'll just be different." Anna finally summons up the courage to plant the seeds and listens to her own "corn music." She also takes a few kernels from the new stalks to plant the next year—a nice moment to suggest the cycle of life. Santucci's (Loon Summer, not reviewed) style is straightforward and her simple language and realistic dialogue serve the subject matter well. The story doesn't unearth any new insights on losing a loved one, but does provide an easy window through which to view grief. Bloom's (When Uncle Took the Fiddle, 1999, etc.) classic colored pencils and pastels reflect the gentleness of the story. Most illustrations are not full spreads, making it better for an intimate read. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 30, 1998

In high contrast to the rollicking relatives in Cynthia Rylant's The Relatives Came (1985), this gentle ballad addresses a young girl's quiet anticipation of Thanksgiving Day as she awaits the arrival of her uncles—her mother's six brothers. Mother and daughter curl up together and wistfully gaze out the window and down the road, savoring fond memories of a bygone childhood in a house by the sea. The two imagine the feast and the good times about to be had. "Oh the kitchen will quake, the oven will roar, the music will flow from window and door!" Each farmer uncle is defined by a single characteristic'strong or tall, warbling or near-sighted. The lanky, Abe-Lincolnish uncles arrive at last and the promise of singing and raising the planks is certain to be fulfilled. Umbered hillsides and shredded-wheat haystacks boast a pre-industrial agrarian setting matching the slower pace of this reminiscence, calling to mind such classics as Virginia Lee Burton's The Little House (1943), and offering a glimpse of a pastoral, biscuits-and-gravy life among solid farm folk. (Picture book. 4-7) Read full book review >
Released: July 1, 1997

An affecting and affectionate trio of stories about three siblings growing up on a Pennsylvania farm in the 1880s. Tom, Natty, and Emily play at being Civil War generals, with their treehouse as a fort, but Natty fears the stump it sits on, saying that a dragon lives there. How Tom unmasks the dragon, and learns a bit about Zeke, the hired hand, as well as about the art of storytelling, are at the heart of this first chapter. In the second, Emily longs to ride in the competition at the county fair, but her mother insists that ladies don't ride at full gallop. Emily gets to ride a horse fast and hard and capture a thief at the same time. In the third tale, Natty takes the story of George Washington and the cherry tree as a metaphor for making his own choices in a dilemma involving parental expectations—and lambs. Some of the casual conversation is spot on, e.g., when Natty realizes with distaste that his sister is a girl: `` `Girl!' he said, as if he had been told his sister was a snail.'' The black-and-white illustrations are warm and with just enough exaggeration to match the tale-telling. (Fiction. 8-11) Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 1995

A very slow description, in a melancholy present tense, of the ordinary days of a kind old man named Morris Kaplan, a Holocaust survivor and now owner of a flower store. One day, Morris's two favorite customers—a boy and a girl—invite him to their home for Hanukkah and make him feel as if he is part of a family again. Later, he brings over his menorah, a remnant from before the war, and tells them his history. It is difficult to estimate the impact of this sentimental story, because it is completely overshadowed by Bloom's magnificent illustrations. The pictures are dark, well- defined acrylics, with light that falls on the foreheads and the cheekbones of the figures, reminiscent of Balthus. The expressions on the characters' faces, the tilt of their heads, the way they hold their hands—it's almost unbearably wistful. (Picture book. 6- 10) Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 1995

In this ancient tale, a shepherd happens across a foundling girl in Pan's cave and adopts her. When she is grown, she takes charge of the flock, which she tends with Daphnis, an orphan boy who was also raised by a farm couple and who is now a goatherd. He and the cowherd, Dorcon, vie for her affection, a rivalry resolved by the acts of heroism and selflessness that inform so many of the old tales. Hort treats his material with respect, capturing its love and yearning, allowing for the humor and human fallibility that other retellings neglect. Bloom's dazzling paintings have the stylized look of Greek statues that have become suddenly animate; impressionistic dabs illuminate Mediterranean skies. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >
BUT NO CANDY by Gloria Houston
Released: Oct. 21, 1992

To first-grader Lee, whose father runs a country store, WW II means she no more candy for an afternoon snack—``Because the sugar is used to make candy for soldiers like Uncle Ted.'' As the years pass, she helps collect scrap, accepts ration stamps from customers, and writes to her uncle: ``When you come [home] will you bring some candy, please?'' By the time he does, though, Lee has changed: she knows that Uncle Ted is more important than the Hershey Bar he brings. As in The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree (1988), Houston recalls the period through nicely plotted, childlike events. Bloom's mannered, beautifully constructed paintings are pensive, even somber, yet the warm emotions here glow from the shadows. Gentle, evocative. (Young reader/Picture book. 4-9) Read full book review >
GHOST CATCHER by Dennis Haseley
Released: Sept. 1, 1991

A brooding, intriguing tale about a shadowless man who ``could get close to ghosts without turning into one.'' One neighbor after another seeks his help when a beloved (whether dog or spouse) has died after being mistreated; Ghost Catcher walks over the hills toward the shadows and brings them back. Later, he sets off to the land of shadow on his own account, but finds it a frightening, lonely place. He weeps for his lost village; miraculously, he is home again, surrounded by the loving friends who have recalled him. Haseley's spare, poetic narrative recalls the deliberate cadence and implied significance of an enthralling campfire story. Bloom's arresting paintings center on richly expressive figures with marvelous eyes, glowing against dark, generalized landscapes of purple, brick, and magenta. (The setting and people seem to be Hispanic.) Resonant with potent symbols, a story whose power is magnified by its outstanding illustrations (and marred only by its cluttered title page). (Picture book. 7-12) Read full book review >