Windows by Julia Denos, illustrated by E.B. Goodale
The French have a lovely term for the special time that is between day and night–a specific phase of twilight. It is a magical blue hour (“l’heure bleue”), when the indirect sunlight takes on a predominantly blue shade. Though all the colors are reflected, the light is “soft.” I have always been enchanted by this notion, and it came to my mind as I read Julia Denos thoughtful and magical book, Windows. In this simple tale, a young boy and his frisky eager dog head out for a twilight walk in their neighborhood, where the windows are “blinking awake as the lights turn on inside: a neighborhood of paper lanterns.” The mood is of quiet joy, safety, and security, as the mother watches her son venture out on his walk. He views neighbors making dinner, dancing, playing, and he and his dog delight in their own play at the park. The tale comes full circle as the boy heads home to the loved one waving behind the curtain at home. The language is rich and evocative: for example, a raccoon is observed “taking a bath in squares of yellow light.” The illustrations are a perfect complement with inked lines and watercolor, as well as collage. Perfect autumn book to read with a loved one of your own curled up on your lap, or to a small group of children for sharing.