Cover image for Lila Bloom
Lila Bloom
Stadler, Alexander.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Frances Foster Books : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, [2003]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged), 25 x 26 cm
Angry after a difficult day, Lila decides to quit ballet class but reconsiders after she realizes that dancing makes her feel much better.
Reading Level:
NC 710 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.7 0.5 80400.

Reading Counts RC K-2 3.7 1 Quiz: 42285.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Childrens Area-Picture Books

On Order



Performing well can be its own reward Lila Bloom is in a very bad mood. On the way to ballet practice, Lila declares, "I despise ballet!" and later announces, "This will be my last class." Lila's unflappable teacher, Madame Vera, suggests that maybe quitting is not such a bad idea. She even points out that Lila has been dancing "like an old noodle." An angry Lila puts extra effort into her dancing, but Madame doesn't seem to notice. And then something marvelous happens. Expressive ink-and-gouache illustrations capture all of Lila Bloom's emotions as her day goes from bad to worse to wonderful.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

K-Gr. 2. From her breakfast waffle with only one strawberry to her report card with the comment "Try Harder," Lila's day goes from bad to worse. She storms out of school and into her dance class, announcing her intention of quitting ballet. Madame Vera's cool reception to the news further infuriates Lila. She channels her rage into proving that she is "the second-best dancer in the class," only to feel the anger slip away as she leaps and turns to perfection. The emotional lows and highs of Lila's day will resonate with children, even those who don't know a plie0 from a barre0 . Stadler's story is well structured and has some nice turns of phrase, but even better are the illustrations--craggy ink drawings tinted with watercolor washes. The characters (some resembling Bratz dolls) are clearly outlined against the white backgrounds, their every gesture expressing both personality and attitude. An eminently satisfying story that could provoke discussion. Pronunciation guidance for French terms is appended. --Carolyn Phelan Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Reluctant ballerinas may sympathize with this title character, who exercises and exorcises a bad mood in dance class. After a difficult morning and a "try harder" mark on a book report, Lila needs a target for her wrath. "I despise ballet," she complains to her Aunt Celeste. "Pli? this. Grand jet? that.... How I wish I could quit!" In the studio, "her developpes were underdeveloped," and instructor Madame Vera (resembling Bullwinkle's Natasha with her gray skin and green eyeshadow) tells Lila she's "dancing like an old noodle." Lila works harder to prove herself, only to find that her anger dissolves: "It stopped mattering to her whether Madame was looking or was not." Stadler, creator of the Beverly Billingsly books, depicts a strong-willed girl manipulated by knowing adults (but for her own good). Aunt Celeste "hid[es] a small smile" when Lila wants to quit, and Madame pretends not to notice Lila's struggles to perform. Ultimately, however, Lila herself realizes a love of ballet and requests two lessons a week. The author draws Lila in a clotted black-ink line that seems unsuited to fluidity but that convincingly conveys the girl's changing emotions. His unsteady close-ups retain a childlike quality while his compact figures suggest Degas's ballet-themed art or Peter Sis's Ballerina! The endpapers, in which Lila strikes poses with finesse and delight, may well move readers to imitation. Ages 4-8. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 2-Like the protagonist in Judith Viorst's classic Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (Atheneum, 1972), "Lila Bloom was having a miserable day." Her discontent grows over the course of the afternoon until it's time for ballet. Lila's aunt and her instructor both feign indifference to her cranky threats of quitting the class and, just to show them she'll be missed when she's gone, Lila dances her best. Miraculously, she finds that her spirits are lifted. The adults have allowed her to grapple with a problem on her own, and Lila becomes the proud and exclusive owner of her victory over a mood. Stadler's caricature-style illustrations-wide line drawings in ink with gouache-call to mind the work of Jules Feiffer and William Steig. The art successfully captures the static nature of despair and the joy of free motion as well as the characters' attitudes and expressions with a minimum of strokes and a maximum of empathy. Lila is an interesting character to step inside; she is as familiar as an image in the mirror. This book has the simple charm of Stadler's "Beverly Billingsly" books (Harcourt), with an added touch of sophistication. A short list of ballet terms allows readers to say, "Her developpes were underdeveloped" with authority.-Liza Graybill, Worcester Public Library, MA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.