Wells (Lucy Comes to Stay, p. 853, etc.) and McPhail combine on four evocations -- waking, night, in the kitchen, a winter walk -- each of which is sometimes startlingly bang-on and, at other times, reaches way too far. Wells has a gentle, lilting style that can be sweet, but is prey to going sticky: A dog's belly is ""softer than sleep""; a chocolate sauce ""sounds sleepy."" Then she will summon a winter day with real flair -- donning a wool sweater, holding a sharp icicle, exploring the dark pine woods; you can feel the bite of cold. Truly extraordinary, allowing even the textual excesses a reprieve, are McPhail's paintings -- moody, atmospheric concoctions with brush strokes laid on like thatchwork, lightened here and there by an acrylic flash of brightness. It is a mystery why the schlock was allowed to mingle with all the good stuff this book has to offer.