Floridius Bloom and the Planet of Gloom
Lorijo Metz. Dial Books, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-3084-7
Is it possible to be too independent? This question is put to the test in a tale that explores how self-sufficiency isn't all it's cracked up to be. The story opens with the title character encased within a well-lit fortress (a brick wall surrounds his home, containing the light from a fallen star) with no company except for some bug-like pests. Metz's use of playful words speaks to preschoolers' penchants for concocting their own secret language. In his garden, Bloom exclaims, ""Those bothersome wigglyfluffs are nibbling on my prize cherriflox."" When a small creature named Zrill invades his privacy, Floridius finds himself on the other side of the fence-literally-accompanying his newfound friend through the very world he has shut out. Phelan's whimsical illustrations of colorful creatures with floppy ears and kind eyes depict a magical land that is anything but scary. This playfulness is tempered by the compassion of Zrill's mother who tenderly cares for the injured Floridius' broken toe. As the light of truth finally shines upon Floridius, readers too learn that this type of love and companionship is exactly what he desperately needs. This tale proves that letting the light in is a universal necessity, no matter where you live. Ages 4-up.
Reviewed on: 04/02/2007