cover image Twilight Comes Twice

Twilight Comes Twice

Ralph Fletcher. Clarion Books, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-395-84826-5

From Fletcher's (Fig Pudding) intriguing title to Kiesler's (The Great Frog Race and Other Poems) closing painting of a town bathed in morning light, this leisurely depiction of dusk and dawn is as quiet as a whisper. Suffused with a cloudy yellow haze, the dark paintings capture the moments when twilight twice ""slips through the crack"" between night and day, while the plotless and metaphorically complex poem describes the sights. A golden-haired girl stands poised to throw a stick for her black Labrador as ""dusk pours/ the syrup of darkness/ into the forest""; later, she sits with her family on the porch while dusk ""sets the table carefully:/ Venus, a few stars,/ perhaps a crescent moon."" Both art and text are filled with sumptuous detail: ""Spiders rouse themselves/ still stiff from the night/ and go to work repairing/ their dew-spangled webs."" In spite of the commanding beauty of the language and art, however, the book engages the reader's emotions only minimally. Rather than invite the reader to be a direct participant in the experience itself, the text, written in the second person, seems to ask the audience to stand in awe of an adult's ruminations. There are distinct pleasures to be had here, but they are chiefly cerebral. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)