In grandmother's house there is a grandfather clock, but it does not go. The hands on its big face never move! But grandmother doesn't need the clock to show the time, she says that there are so many other clocks telling her the time. She can count the seconds by the beating of her heart, an hour in the time it takes for the bath water to get cold, a week by the dust that settles on the grandfather clock and a lifetime in birthdays, friends and in what you can remember. Lyrical, moving and beautifully illustrated, this is a book to be treasured.
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Stephen Lambert graduated from Lincoln College of Art in 1984 and soon turned his attention to children's book illustration. He lives and works in Cornwall. Geraldne McCaughrean is a highly-acclaimed writer of children's fiction and picture books and is particularly known for her retellings. She lives in a village in Berkshire.From School Library Journal:
Grade 1-4-In this idyllic, pastoral tale, a child's free-spirited grandmother explains how she keeps track of time even though her only clock is broken. She wakes up in the morning to the songs of birds, knows the days of the week by the comings and goings of her neighbors, and takes cues from nature to follow the seasons. "An hour is the time it takes for the bathwater to go cold-," she says, and "A lifetime, of course, you can measure in all kinds of ways: in birthdays, in friends, in what you own- or in what you remember." Taking it even further, she claims that the movements of comets and stars and eclipses of the sun and moon are a satisfactory measure of the centuries. By the end, the little girl agrees that the broken grandfather clock in the hall is best used for storage. Lambert's hazy pastel illustrations depict characters with gentle expressions and soft, rounded features whiling away the day. The effect is charming and the story's premise is certainly attractive: who needs clocks, anyway? Unfortunately, the answer is that everybody else does, that's who. Grandmother's trusty Wednesday morning garbagemen only manage to clatter those cans because they set their alarm clocks on Tuesday night. It is nevertheless delightful for Grandmother to blithely pass her days without regard for clocks and calendars. Her minimalist approach to reality works on a cosmic scale and provides food for thought, even if it wouldn't fly in the workaday world.
Catherine Threadgill, Charleston County Public Library, SC
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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