Tick Tock Clock. by Margery Cuyler, illustrated by Robert Neubecker. January 3, 2012. HarperCollins. 32 pages. ISBN: 9780061363115
Tick Tock Clock is a My First I Can Read Book which, according to the book jacket, “reinforces time-of-day concepts with humor, warmth and a touch of mischief.” Identical twin girls visit their grandmother whose day becomes filled with messy smocks, falling blocks, soaking socks, and chasing a flock (of geese.) At the end of the day, the girls go home with Mom, and Grandma falls asleep, totally worn out from her wild granddaughters’ visit.
There is a high demand among parents at my library for readers that focus on phonics, and this book will definitely please them. Unfortunately, I don’t know that their children will be as excited, because the story doesn’t really come together as it should. For starters, though there is a clock on the cover, and in the title of the story, there is no clock on any page inside the book. Because of this, there are really only two times of day that obviously stand out - lunch time at 12:00 and dinner time at 5:00. The activities at other times of the day are totally arbitrary and there is basically nothing - not even the sun shining - to indicate what time of day it is. I might not have noticed this if the jacket didn’t promise to reinforce time-of-day concepts, but reading the summary made me expect something totally different than what I found inside the book.
I also can’t stand rhyme for rhyme’s sake. I know the purpose of a phonics reader is to reinforce particular sounds made by particular groups of letters so I tried to be forgiving, but it’s hard to buy into a story where the only reason for ninety percent of what happens is the fact that the words used rhyme with “tick tock.”
The illustrations do their best to contextualize the largely nonsensical text, which makes the book bearable, but ultimately, this is a text to help kids learn to read, not necessarily a text they will want to read for fun. Books like this are necessary of course, and I have seen more boring and stilted texts than this one, but I still think reading this book will feel like a chore, especially for kids who are reluctant to read because it seems boring to them.
I borrowed Tick Tock Clock from my local public library.
For more about this book, visit Goodreads and Worldcat.
NOTE: This book was nominated by Danielle Smith for the 2012 Cybils Awards in the Easy Reader/Early Chapter Book category. I am a first-round panelist in this category, but this review reflects my opinions only, not those of any other panelist, or the panel as a whole. Thanks!