My Grandmother’s Clock

In bright contrasting colours, the cover of My Grandmother’s Clock depicts the grandmother holding the young narrator’s hand as the little girl throws a stick for a dog, all observed by a seagull in the top left corner – a delicate moment, captured by a very talented illustrator.

The special relationship between the older and younger generation is reflected in the grandparents’ humour as they respond to their granddaughter, who informs them that they should have their grandfather clock mended. Grandad replies that it tells the correct time twice a day, while Grandma explains that there is no need to have it mended, as she has so many other clocks to tell the time. The little girl is puzzled. She cannot see any other clocks.

In lyrical text, Grandma explains a host of different ways to tell the time, from a second, which can be measured by the beating of a heart, to an hour, the time it takes for bathwater to go cold or for Grandad to read the newspaper. Continuing in its discussion of varying amounts of time and revealing the complexity of measuring time, this book challenges the young reader with sophisticated imagery. McCaughrean describes the movement of the tides: ‘in one month, the moon waxes and wanes, night weaving its golden chrysalis… Moon Time.’ Here, as through the book, Lambert’s pictorial image equally charms the reader, as moonlight is reflected in soft hues of blue and cream.

The seasons provide an opportunity for minimum text and full colour illustration. The love between grandparents and granddaughter is almost tangible, through the cleverly crafted text and the joyful scenes of activity and relaxation.

Grandma and Grandad may have had their little joke at the beginning of the story, but it is the little girl who has the final say.

Suitable for 6+, but this really is a book to be read, where possible, snuggled up beside a grandparent.