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Schmuel, a tailor, has been raised in "a little gray town" to value time for the possibilities it gives him to work. Racing alone through his life, ignoring a fantasy inspired by a girl's request to sew her a wedding dress, Schmuel labors for 41 years until a magical clock offers to turn back time for him: "One stitch," the clock tells him, "and you will/ unlock the dreams you've lost!" Despite its promising elements and its author's expertise as a Tony Award-winning lyricist, the story fails to engage: the savor-your-time theme gives it a didactic flavor, even when the message is to enjoy your days, rather than turn them to profit. GrandPré's (Plum) dramatically lit double-page spreads pry whimsical images from the text: clock faces fly, bubbles float loose as Schmuel scrubs a floor, and silhouetted hens form a chorus of scolds. Once the action starts, Schmuel springs to life, stitching away among a lot of digitally altered lace scraps: visual magic. Ages 4-8. (Jan.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.