The Blue Hour by Isabelle Simler

Cindy: The blue hour happens twice a day, at dawn and dusk, and is treasured by artists for its exceptional quality of light. I treasure Isabelle Simler’s The Blue Hour because it’s a gorgeous new picture book from France by an author / illustrator who takes full advantage of that magical time.

The endpapers set the scene with blue color swatches of celadon, cyan, storm, and Sèvres. Children who love the names on their crayons will pore over these samples before they let you turn the page. Each page reveals a new, beautiful blue scene. The light fades, and pale blues turn to deeper, richer shades as nighttime comes. A blue fox slips, a blue jay lets out its piercing cry, blue poison dart frogs gather, and the fragrance of blue wildflowers fills the air. The spare prose lends itself to the quiet mood of a slow slide into sleep.

Add this calming, stunningly beautiful book to your bedtime story collection, or give it to an artist who appreciates the gift of quality light.


Lynn: I first fell in love with this luminous book when I saw it at ALA Midwinter, while Cindy’s appetite was whetted when she saw the art in oversized prints on an Eerdmans Publishing tour a year ago. Reading it again for this post, I was struck by the powerful feeling of calm that comes while turning the pages. Somehow, Simler casts a soothing spell over her readers. Her palette is an amazing tapestry of blue, but she also implements accents that highlight each illustration’s rich, blue tones. On the back endpages, a map indicates the locations of all the animals and birds that appear in the story.

I made another happy discovery at Annual: Simler has another gorgeous book coming soon. Plume is scheduled for release on August 14. We can’t wait!



About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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