Cover image for My grandmother's clock
My grandmother's clock
McCaughrean, Geraldine.
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Publication Information:
New York : Clarion Books, [2002]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 28 cm
A child, wondering why Grandma doesn't have the grandfather clock in her house repaired, learns that there are many ways to measure time, from the moment it takes to blink an eye to the years shown in gray hairs.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.6 0.5 65847.
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PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

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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.

Author Notes

Geraldine McCaughrean was born in Enfield, England on June 6, 1951. She was educated at Christ Church College, Canterbury. She has written more than 160 books and plays for children and adults.

Her writing career includes the retelling of such classics as One Thousand and One Arabian Nights, The Canterbury Tales, and The Bronze Cauldron: Myths and Legends of the World, which is a collection of stories from all over the world. She has received numerous awards including three Whitbread Children's Book Awards for A Little Lower Than the Angels, Gold Dust, and Not the End of the World. She also received the Guardian Prize and Carnegie Medal for A Pack of Lies, the Beefeater Children's Novel Award for Gold Dawn, the Michael L. Printz Award for The White Darkness, and the 2018 Carnegie Medal for children's and YA books for her middle-grade novel Where the World Ends.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

K^-Gr. 3. In this quiet portrayal of alternative ways to tell time and measure its passing, Grandmother has some unusual clocks. She doesn't need the grandfather clock; it doesn't work, and it's filled with junk. Instead, she tells time by her beating heart, by how long it takes Grandfather to read the newspaper, by fresh baking smells on Monday morning, by the length of shadows in the garden, and by the turning colors of the leaves. Even more beautiful is Grandmother's description of how to keep track of a lifetime: "In birthdays, in friends, in what you own . . . or what you remember. But when you are lucky enough, like us, to have a grandchild, you know that Time has come full circle." Soft-focus scenes of a young girl and her grandparents going about their daily activities through the weeks and the seasons of the year express the warmth and timeless love of an intergenerational family. --Diane Foote

Publisher's Weekly Review

McCaughrean s (A Little Lower Than the Angels) meditation on time, serenely illuminated by Lambert (Nobody Rides the Unicorn), unfolds through the warm relationship between a girl narrator and her grandmother. A sandy-haired girl tells Grandma she ought to fix the grandfather clock in the hall; Grandma, at work in the kitchen, says, Why... when I have so many other clocks telling me the time? When the girl, holding a cat in her arms as her grandmother mixes batter, asks, Where? The woman s leisurely response creates the effect of slowing down time: I can count the seconds by the beating of my heart. Have you ever noticed how the seconds go by much quicker when life is exciting? Lambert s full-bleed pastel spreads, lit with the muted sunlight of the English coast, depict birds in flight and shadows extending from a magnolia tree in full bloom as they mark the passing seasons. The increments of time Grandma describes grow longer and increasingly abstract (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), especially when she reaches infinity (the stars tell us that Time s just/ too big to fit inside any watch or clock). But the girl narrator brings the text full circle and back down to earth with a quiet joke. If the time-measurement theme becomes a bit tedious for some readers, Lambert s flower-dotted hillsides and affectionately drawn characters will keep them involved. Ages 5-8. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 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 (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.