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by Robin Muller, illustrated by Suzanne Duranceau

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-590-47278-X
Publisher: Scholastic

 Despite a pretitle vignette of a landscape draped in droopy clocks, the surreal nonsense here is more dada than Dali. In verses modeled on the nursery rhyme (``Margery, bargery, bow,/The monkey stubbed his toe./The clock struck three,/He spilled the tea...''), the hours advance to midnight (``Hickory, dickory, date''); meanwhile, in a room crowded with ornate objects (clocks are everywhere, their faces adorning wallpaper and glimmering atop hats), several animals (an elegant cat, a debonair masked mouse, a cow falling out of a picture that falls from the wall) engage in slapstick that's tenuously related to preparing for a celebration. The illustrations are rendered with artistry and precision, and children may enjoy trying to decode the goings on and checking out the synchronized clocks. But nonsense requires its own logic; ultimately, this effort is simply too incoherent to work. There are too many miscellaneous details, the verse isn't especially clever, and the absurdities are neither funny enough nor intriguing enough to be worth puzzling over. (Picture book. 4-8)