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Tick Tock Clock

Ill. by Robert Neubecker

Tick Tock Clock

As the hours tick by from nine in the morning till seven at night, a pair of twins engage in familiar and lively activities while they’re being watched by their grandmother. A “My First Reading” title in Harper’s I CAN READ program.


At nine o’clock in the morning, a professional mom, portfolio in hand, drops off her look-alike twins with Grandma, who awaits them with open arms. Simple rhyming words and expressive cartoon illustrations show the trio engaged in activities in two-page spreads for each hour of the day. Pictures of the girls painting Grandma’s portrait are accompanied by “Tick tock. / Ten o’clock. / Tick tock. / Messy smocks.” Using mostly familiar words and concepts, the children play blocks, visit a dock, soak their socks, chase a flock, and walk a block. (The most unfamiliar term might come when Grandma cooks in a wok). Weighing in with a total of 30 words, this book in the I Can Read series (leveled My First) will enable emergent readers to experience success reading and to recognize things from their own lives. No clock pictured on the pages is a missed opportunity for young readers to equate number words and time. – Booklist

The daylong activities of twin girls and their grandmother are told through two- and three- word sentences all rhyming with "tock." "Tick Tock./Ten o'clock./Tick Tock./Messy smocks." Each hour sees the children playing with blocks, eating lunch on the dock, chasing a flock, and walking a block, until Mom comes to pick them up and Grandma and her cat can fall "Asleep like a rock!" This phonics reader uses word repetition, consistent vowel sound of the short "o," and a steady rhythm to create a successful reading experience for new readers, and Neubecker's energetic illustrations fill in the details. Children will also enjoy watching the antics of a busy cat throughout. Analog clocks appear on the endpapers but not in the text, making this story more about the reading experience and less about telling time. A solid addition that beginning readers will want to share with Grandma. – School Library Journal

Grandma spends a busy day with her twin granddaughters in a day filled with action, rhythm and rhyme. A tribute to the short "o," this book for very new readers is filled with the "–ock" sound, as in: o'clock, tick tock, knock, smock, block, dock, flock, walk, block, lock and wok. With four to six words per page, in two-word sentences, two girls, dressed in matching red outfits are welcomed by their bespectacled grandmother, who is up for anything. From finger painting to building with blocks to picnicking on the dock, tick tock, the day with Grandma is full of fun. Neubecker's sunny illustrations, in rich reds, yellows and greens, perfectly reflect the spare, very easy-to-read text. Each illustration is set on a white, unframed background and is set apart from the text, making it nicely legible. The repetition of words, particularly "Tick tock," helps beginning readers build confidence. It's strange that with all the references to the clock, there are no clocks in the illustrations, which is an opportunity lost. Children are interested in clocks and time and thus will note their absence; though the endpapers are festooned with them, set to varying times, this will not entirely compensate. Any new reader lucky enough to spend a day with Grandma will want to read this to her. – Kirkus Reviews

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