“The blue hour (from French l’heure bleue) is the period of twilight early in the dawn each morning and late in the dusk each evening when the sun is at a significant distance below the horizon and the residual, indirect sunlight takes on a predominantly blue hue. . . . Many artists treasure this period because of the quality of the light.”
“The day ends. The night falls. And in between . . . there is the blue hour.”
—Isabelle Simler, The Blue Hour
School and work and soccer practice are done, and everyone’s home again. Supper is over, the dishes are soaking, and the homework is packed away. There’s still a quiet hour before bedtime, and the whole world seems perfectly at peace.
“The blue hour settles in, and nature becomes still.”
The kids are playing in the basement, and I slip out to run a few blocks under the oyster shell sky. We don’t have blue jays or blue poisoned dart frogs in my neighborhood, but the red-winged blackbirds and spring peepers are making a glorious racket.
“And blue-feathered songbirds all sing in one chorus.”
By the time I head back to the warmth and light of the house, the blue hour has definitely settled in.
“Anyone want to read a new book tonight?” I ask, picking up Isabelle Simler’s The Blue Hour. I quickly find myself surrounded by snuggly, sleepy-but-not-that-sleepy young people.
“What’s the blue hour?” one of them asks, eyeing the cover curiously. I point out the window at the deepening dusk.
“That’s the blue hour,” I say.
“Glass snails stretch their heads toward the sky.”
We glide through the pages, taking our time. We pause to admire the blue dragon, the blue racer, and the blue-crowned pigeon. We savor every page of breathtaking scenery along the way.
“I love blue,” someone says.
“Is blue your favorite color now?” I ask.
“No, it’s still purple, but I love blue, too.”
“A Russian Blue cat vanishes. The countryside is quieting down for the night.”
We come at last to the end, and the book, like the night, “softly wraps [us] in its quiet.”
“What did you think?” I ask them. (I never can help asking.)
“It’s beautiful,” says my oldest, who normally considers herself too old for picture books. She’s made an exception for this one. “It’s poetic, just without the poetry.”
I love The Blue Hour.
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About Rachel in Review:
Life for this kid lit enthusiast and working mother of four can be messy. Confusing. Painful. Funny. Breathtakingly beautiful.
Enter the Eerdmans books. So, so many of our books, whether they’re bedtime books for babies or coming-of-age novels for young adults, seem to have a single uncannily common quality about them: they just fit. These wise, wonderful books somehow manage to tie into—and by so doing, help me sort out—the knotty complexities of life as I actually experience them.