Grandmother has a clock, of course, but she doesn’t use it to tell time. “I have so many other clocks,” she says. A heartbeat, the blink of an eye, reading the newspaper, the length of shadows, the smell of baking, birdsong, birthdays, the moon. . . . Everything in and around us speaks eloquently of the passage of time. And so does this lyrical, moving text, warmed by dreamy illustrations that perfectly capture the affection between grandparents and grandchild. An inspired discussion starter and a beautiful gift book, My Grandmother’s Clock is an exceptional collaboration of two remarkable talents.
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GERALDINE MCCAUGHREAN is the author of the sequel to J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan and has written more than 130 books and plays for adults and children. She has won numerous awards, including the Carnegie Medal and three Whitbread Awards. She lives in Berkshire, England.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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