Publisher: Philomel Books, NY, 1984
Editor: Ann Beneduce
Art Director: Nanette Stevenson
Parent’s Choice Foundation, Award for Illustration, 1984;
Washington State Governor’s Writer’s Award, 1985.
An old man made of sky goes out walking at the end of each day. In his hand, he carries a single pearl that grows with every step until, “Gently, he gives the pearl to the silence above the sea.” A classic bedtime picture book.
Over the years, many people have told me about the peaceful hush that comes over a child, even a roomful of children, with the reading of GRANDFATHER TWILIGHT. When I created the book, I could only hope that something of the serenity I feel, myself, at twilight might come through the words and art. But I never dreamed that so many children would truly love it as they do, ask for it over and over again, find solace for fears of the dark and sometimes, even for the loss of a parent or grandparent. I never dreamed that GRANDFATHER TWILIGHT would have such a wonderful long life as a book, nor such a wide reach among children and adults alike, from the youngest to the oldest. To this day, it seems a miracle to me.
Reviews of GRANDFATHER TWILIGHT:
The Horn Book
March/April 1985, p.219
from “Musings” by Robert D. Hale
One of the simplest yet most successful of tales that could become legends is Barbara Berger’s Grandfather Twilight (Philomel). Each evening, Grandfather Twilight closes his book, goes to a chest which contains an endless string of pearls, removes one, and—walks through the forest to the sea. As he walks, the animals and birds settle quietly for the night because in his wake is the haunting glow of dusk. He is spreading twilight with his magic pearl—which grows larger and larger until, at the sea’s edge, it floats into the heaven as a full moon.
Barbara Berger is extraordinary in her visual metaphor. Paintings which glow with their own life depict pearl dust flowing behind Grandfather as he walks so that one can actually believe this is how twilight occurs.
Grandfather Twilight is a book that enriches our heritage of mythology and legends—one to call upon frequently— “whenever the world falls apart.”
NY Times Book Review
Feb. 24, 1985
by Janice Prindle
Far from the extended captions typical of most picture books, Barbara Berger’s words in this illustrated bedtime story have been selected with such devotion that they stand, like a hymn, on their own. Like a hymn, her words also speak to young and old, and yet the words merely hint at the richness of this artist’s evensong. Her full-color paintings tell the story just as beautifully, and in greater, more original detail. Since the soft-edged acrylics are reproduced in the book at their true size, none of the detail has been lost….
Here indeed is a reassuring path through bedtime terrors into sleep. It is Barbara Berger’s first venture; this reader hopes it will not be her last.
Dec. 3, 1984, p.86
[GRANDFATHER TWILIGHT] is the coziest bedtime book imaginable. Barbara Berger’s paintings of Grandfather Twilight, who walks through the forest holding a pearl that becomes the moon, are soft and warm as a pillow, and her spare text is full of quietness.