Purpose of this Blog...

You may have noticed that not all books are equal in capturing children's imaginations and in cultivating those innocent, tender souls. My goal is to help you find the ones that do!
(Painting by Mary Cassatt: "Mrs Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren" -1888)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Vintage Book About a Town Clock

Yesterday I happened upon a vintage book that I just couldn't pass up for my grandson.  It's simply titled, "The Clock", and I picked it up for $3.00.  What a treasure!

This delightful book, published in 1956, was written and illustrated by Esphyr Slobodkina (1908-2002), a citizen of the U.S. who was born in Russia.


Leonard Marcus, a renowned children’s book scholar, noted that “as the first picture book artist to experiment with collage, Slobodkina pointed the way for many later artists. Directly or indirectly, the example of her work set the stage for the distinctive contributions to the picture book by Leo Lionni, Ezra Jack Keats, Eric Carle, Ed Young, Lois Ehlert, and Ellen Stoll Walsh.”

Slobodkina's colorful artwork tells most of the story about a Vermont town and its Old Clock in the church tower. The clock tells the citizens of the town when it is time to get up, go to work, and go to bed...

One day the clock breaks, and everything becomes chaos!  But an old lady named Mrs. Johnson temporarily takes the clock's place..."she was deaf and never waited for the chimes.  She just knew that when she woke it was time to get up."

When she sees that the streets and shops are empty, she gets worried and begins banging on doors.  If it hadn't been for Mrs. Johnson, the whole town would have slept in!

The townspeople finally decide that they will call a repairman to come and fix the clock.  He comes with his long ladder and black tool bag.

He discovers that all the clock needs is to be cleaned, polished, and wound.  The townspeople are comforted once again by the chimes that are the first thing they hear in the morning, and the last thing before going to sleep!

Do the pictures in The Clock look at all familiar?  How about the author's name? Esphyr Slobodkina (whose career began with Margaret Wise Brown) also wrote and illustrated the beloved children's book, Caps for Sale...

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