“Sunday morning I felt a damp breeze. I heard squishy steps and a sloshy knock on the door. And I knew. The Blooz.” What’s a kid to do when the Blooz comes to your house uninvited, drips itself into your chocolate milk, makes your paints mix into muddy colors, and squishes into your socks? When getting mad, sharing your favorite stuffed animal, and serving out glitter bandaids doesn’t get rid of the Blooz, sometimes you just have to settle in for a long day together. Just keep on making hideouts under the bed, painting pictures, and collecting leaves. You never know when you’ll finally shake the Blooz and find that today is “the brightest, bluest day.”
This book is right up my alley! I was a French literature major in college and I totally geek out about symbols and analogies and all sorts of literary devices. Plus, I am a big fan of challenging kids and using books to expand their little minds without them realizing what you’re doing. Who says you can’t introduce 4 year olds to metaphors in their picture books? Of course, for this to happen, you have to be prepared to answer the questions. If your kids are active participants in reading time, which most are inclined to be, they will ask questions about what the Blooz is, why it won’t go away, how it floats off into the sun in the end. Don’t be afraid, dive in deep and talk to them about how a great blue drippy blob man can represent that yucky sad feeling that you get some days that is so hard to shake. They’ll get it, they’ll like talking to you about something deep that makes them think hard. And thanks to the great illustrations, even my 2 year old could enjoy the story and connect to the concepts behind the characters in a very simple way.
There is one more reason I felt so strongly about posting about this book, and if you feel I’m going too geeky lit major-ish about this, I won’t get offended. In our modern society, more and more children are dealing with depression, sometimes personally, but more often through their parents. I have had only brief run-ins with it myself, and I know that if I had had to process that experience as a child I would have been grateful for some kind of non-threatening visualization like the Blooz to help me along. It is such a vivid, simple, accessible way for a child to visualize depression- something that comes against your will, stays despite all your best efforts, and manages to ruin even the best things (chocolate milk, for crying out loud!). It is realistic because the truth is, sometimes depression is something you just have to live with for a little while, and find a way to continue doing the things you love despite that great, hulking presence constantly by your side. But it is hopeful, too. Sometimes, on some days, that oppressive cloud will find a way to release you and float up into the sun, and you will find once again that you are in the middle of a bright, beautiful day in a truly wonderful life.
Find out if this book is at your public library at World Cat.
To find out more about Caron Levis, visit her website.
Illustrator Jon Davis also has a great website.