Any old-fashioned european village worth its weight in tourists requires a large, elaborate clock with intricate figurines to keep track of the time. Villette's Great Clock even had a special warning device that mysteriously appeared whenever an attempt was made on the village. With two exceptions, nobody knew how the clock worked. There was Maria, a little girl who always asked questions and who spent hours sneaking into the clock-works to watch the cog wheels, and there was a spy from the enemy, who checked out a book from the library. The story is nicely silly, with a convincing Old World aura, and children should appreciate the moral -- that adults should always answer questions. The text is excellently complemented by Margot Zemach's drawings of one of her typical quaint, lopsided towns full of quaint, lopsided buildings, people, animals, and hardware.