Cronin and Small combine talents in this fable for modern times: people who live in fragile kingdoms may need to get their hands dirty rebuilding.
Bloom the mud fairy lives in a glass kingdom where she turns weeds into blossoms and sand into glass; she also leaves mud and cracks in the glass in her wake. As the kingdom grows and gleams, folks protest Bloom's mess. She takes to the forest, but without her, the kingdom deteriorates. When the royals seek Bloom's magic to save them, they are outraged when the dirty creature places a bucket of mud at their feet. So they send tiny, ordinary Genevieve to talk to Bloom. Although Genevieve has heretofore preserved her delicate hands for the frivolous task of washing the queen’s sugar spoon, with Bloom's coaching she digs her hands into the mud to make...bricks! The text is set in different typefaces and fonts to help the narrative along, while Small uses watercolor washes in cool blues and warm greens and browns to indicate changing tones. Genevieve takes her new-learned "magic" back to the kingdom to rebuild, and the residents rejoice. All the characters, from royals to fairy, are white. The tale is enchanting but somewhat opaque, so metaphorical that children may need significant help from adults to understand it.
If youngsters scratch their heads, take them to the yard or community garden to plant and make mud pies. (Picture book. 4-8)