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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
by Helga Renneisen
Age Range: Under_5
Everybody in the big block of flats liked Dora, from Grandma Miller on the ground floor, to Peter Hind right at the top. But Dora’s mother knew that she was not always a lovable little girl. When Dora did not want her parents to go out in the evening she cried non-stop and then she became mean and horrid. But one night, even though Dora was screaming, her parents did go out. Dora thought she was alone in the flat there was someone there to keep her company and to teach her a lesson.
Mr Clockman takes Dora from her apartment on a night-time flight over the big city. They meet the old town hall clock, the railway station clock, the factory clock and finally the school clock. To all these clocks Mr Clockman and Dora ask the same question: At what time should small children be in bed?
Although perhaps not very politically correct by today’s standards in terms of parents leaving a crying child alone at home, the adventure with Mr Clockman becomes voyage of discovery and awakening that serves to teach the little rascal a big lesson. This journey from reality to fantasy is well explored in this lovely picture book by German writer Helga Renneisen with sumptuous illustrations by Eberhard Binder.
The book was originally published in Germany in 1964 and first appeared in the UK in 1967. Mr Clockman is number 51 on the list of 100 Great Children’s Picture Books by Martin Salisbury and it certainly deserves a place there as an example of the best art in children’s book illustration. As Salisbury explains: “Binder’s fabulous use of colour and scale …brings the journey to life”.