cover image Indigo and Moonlight Gold

Indigo and Moonlight Gold

Jan Spivey Gilchrist. Writers & Readers Publishing, $13.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-86316-210-7

This brief, lyrical book--the first that Gilchrist (illustrator of Nathaniel Talking and Night on Neighborhood Street ) has both written and illustrated--describes an epiphany experienced by Autrie, an African American girl. Stepping out onto the porch one evening as her mother watches from the window, the child ``wants to freeze the night. Make time stop. Make Mama beautiful forever, sitting on the sofa, watching over her.'' But as she observes the stars and feels the warm breezes, Autrie acknowledges that ``the breeze would one day blow cold and winters would come.'' After she becomes aware that her mother is no longer at the window, the girl's form gradually changes into that of a woman; Autrie accepts the fact that Mamas don't stand guard forever, and that ``little girls sometimes become Mamas, who sit and watch their children dream on nights of indigo and moonlight gold.'' The broad strokes and warm colors of Gilchrist's oil paintings nicely complement the ethereal, dreamlike quality of her affecting narrative. Unfortunately, although the concepts here are sophisticated, the picture-book format seems unlikely to appeal to the intended audience. Ages 8-12. (Nov.)