Grandpa's Clock


"Slow and steady," that's how you make a grandfather clock.

Grandpa should know. He and Cayley have made nineteen clocks together. Now they are making Cayley's very own, a Lord Nelson. Then, one night, Cayley awakes to the sound of a siren. Grandpa is gone. Cayley is scared by what she sees when she is allowed to visit him in the hospital. But scared or not, she knows what Grandpa needs, and she tells him, "Slow and steady" as he heals. The Lord Nelson clock waits, patiently, to...

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"Slow and steady," that's how you make a grandfather clock.

Grandpa should know. He and Cayley have made nineteen clocks together. Now they are making Cayley's very own, a Lord Nelson. Then, one night, Cayley awakes to the sound of a siren. Grandpa is gone. Cayley is scared by what she sees when she is allowed to visit him in the hospital. But scared or not, she knows what Grandpa needs, and she tells him, "Slow and steady" as he heals. The Lord Nelson clock waits, patiently, to be finished.

Teachers guide available here.

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Editorial Reviews

CM Magazine
4**** out of 4

Warm and endearing. Highly recommended.
— Helen Norrie

Quill & Quire
"The ticking of a clock, the ticking of a heart. Rachna Gilmore's new story is a richly textured tale of family relationships."
The United Church Observer
"Warm, detailed art and text."
CM Magazine - Helen Norrie
4**** out of 4

"Warm and endearing. Highly recommended."

CM Magazine
4**** out of 4

"...warm and endearing..." Highly recommended
— Helen Norrie

Children's Literature
What a wonderful world it would be if every child could be blessed with a grandfather like Cayley's Grandpa. The opening line sets the tone for this story of generational respect and affection. "Grandpa's saw sings me awake." Immediately the reader is aware that this is a good sound, a welcome beginning to the day. Since Grandpa moved in with Cayley's family, he has made nineteen clocks and Cayley has helped him. He made a little table clock for her to chase away nightmares. He told Cayley to listen to the ticking. "Grandpa's here, tock /All is well, tock./Grandpa's here, tock,/All is well, tock." Now he and Cayley are making a bigger clock for her, a Lord Nelson with glass panels so she can see the pendulum and the chimes. When Grandpa must be taken to the hospital, Cayley puts her little table clock next to his bed with its refrain of "All is well, tock." Grandpa returns home although it is apparent he is not entirely well, but they finish the clock and Cayley's dad plans to help as they make a clock for Cayley's little brother, Aaron. The appealing watercolor illustrations are done with a true attention to detail. 2006, Orca Book Publishers, Ages 6 to 9.
—Carolyn Mott Ford
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-A gentle, touching picture book about the relationship between a grandfather and grandchild. When Cayley was having nightmares, her grandpa made her a special clock that would tick comfortingly and help her get to sleep. Now he has promised to make her a Lord Nelson clock, and she is waiting patiently for it to be finished. But before he can complete it, he suffers a heart attack. Children will readily grasp the metaphor of clock and heart and draw the connection between the ticking of Grandpa's timepieces and the beating of his ailing heart. Just as it takes time and patience to make Cayley's clock, it will also take time and patience for Grandfather to heal. Gilmore has created a caring family with credible characters and provides Cayley with a realistic voice to express her concerns and feelings. The soft, realistic watercolor illustrations are warm and inviting. The concern of the whole family for their aging relative is palpable, particularly in the hospital scene where they wait anxiously at his bedside. Gilmore tackles a sad reality, but also gives hope and illuminates the value of intergenerational relationships and their ability to enrich the lives of both young and old. This well-crafted story would strengthen any collection.-Carol L. MacKay, Forestburg School Library, Alberta, Canada Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781551433332
  • Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/1/2006
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.75 (w) x 10.50 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Amy Meissner currently lives and works in Anchorage, Alaska. Her two, bad orange cats keep her company in the studio all day long where she paints, draws, writes, cuts fabric, and moves cats off the things they aren't supposed to sleep on. Creating art for children's books is Amy's favorite job, but she also illustrates for posters and articles. She recently completed an MFA in Creative Writing and has undergraduate degrees in both Art and Textiles.

Rachna Gilmore is the critically acclaimed Governor General's Award winning author of numerous books with multiple honours and awards. Her publications include picture books, early readers, middle grade and young adult novels, as well as adult fiction. Her books are sold internationally with translations in French, Danish, German, Korean, Dutch, Spanish, Urdu, Bengali, Chinese as well as several other languages.

Rachna's fantasy novel, The Sower of Tales, won the National Chapter IODE Violet Downey Book Award, and was nominated for the Red Maple Award and the Manitoba Young Readers' Choice Award. Her YA novel, A Group of One, (published by Henry Holt, and now available in paperback in Canada, published by Fitzhenry & Whiteside) received a Jane Addams Children's Book Award Honor citation and was included in the New York Public Library's Best Books for the Teen Age list.

A student of life, Rachna loves to explore the ideas that spark and seize her imagination, as well as to play with words. She calls the process of creating books plarking - work, she says, is too tedious and grinding a word to describe the delight of the creative process, and play doesn't quite convey the real time and effort that goes into completing a book, whereas plarking covers it all, especially as it also reflects the joy and song of larking about.

Born in India, Rachna has lived in London, England, Prince Edward Island, and now lives in Ottawa. A skilled and experienced presenter, Rachna loves to share her enthusiasm for reading and writing; she has given readings and workshops in schools, libraries and conferences across the country as well as internationally.


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Read an Excerpt

Grandpa’s saw sings me awake. I tumble out of bed and hurry downstairs, rubbing sleep from my eyes.

Grandpa’s white hair glistens as he bends over the table-saw, feeding in an oakboard. He turns the saw off and pushes the safety goggles onto his forehead.

“You started without me,” I wail.

“Calm your nerves, Cayley,” Grandpa chuckles. “Your clock won’t be done in a day.”

I grin. Mine. This one’s all mine. When Grandpa finished the grandfather clock for Josie’s wedding, he said it was my turn.

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