By Author / Illustrator
Nicola Skinner, Flavia Sorrentino
Paperback / softback
A beautifully written, incredibly original and wickedly funny novel for readers of 10 and older - BLOOM is for everyone who has ever felt like they didn't fit in, and for anyone who has ever wanted a little more colour and wildness in their lives...
Sorrel Fallowfield is growing up - in a REALLY surprising way...
Sorrel Fallowfield is so good at being good that teachers come to her when they need help remembering the school rules - and there are LOTS.
Luckily, Sorrel doesn't have any trouble following them, until the day she discovers a faded packet of Surprising Seeds buried under a tree in her backyard.
Now she's hearing voices, seeing things, experiencing an almost unstoppable urge to plant the Seeds in some very unusual places... and completely failing to win her school's competition to find The Most Obedient Child of the School.
And all that's before flowers start growing out of her head...
Sorrel tries really, really hard to be 'good'. She desperately wants to win the holiday promised by the headmaster, Mr Grittysnit, to the pupil who gains the most 'Obedience Points', but her life and eventually the lives of everyone around her are thrown up in the air by Sorrell's discovery of a packet of 'Surprising Seeds'. These seeds have a very strange effect on people and only old Sid Strangeways, with his story of the long dead Agatha, can offer an explanation for what happens to the town of Little Sterilis.
If the reader is looking for the usual quirky adventure where plucky children pit themselves against the forces of usually misguided rather than evil, generally dim adults and triumph against all the odds, then this book will surprise and delight. There are indeed plucky children and some adults with very odd notions but there are also seeds that turn humans into walking, talking plants, a long-buried curse and a message about the importance of green spaces.
Sorrel, our narrator, begins the book with a warning to its readers about the 'peril in its pages' and then leads them through the amazing events that she unwittingly unleashes on the town all the way through to a somewhat surprising, but happy, ending, The conversational tone will draw the reader in and the characters of Sorrel (brave, inquisitive) and Neena (adventurous, determined) are well developed, particularly in the moments when they don't behave well and risk their friendship. The minor characters are also well drawn, including their classmates and families.
It is a long book at over 360 pages but the chapters are short and the story moves along at pace. Visually, the book is a treat - the colourful dust jacket conceals a striking combination of blue flowers on a yellow background on the hardback cover with further colour illustrations by Flavia Sorrentino.
This is just a fabulous book all round; funny, thought-provoking, visually appealing and highly original. Suitable for both confident, independent readers and as a class novel, this is a must for the primary school library.
360 pages / Reviewed by June Hughes, school librarian
Suggested Reading Age 7+