Ah, springtime! Chirping robins. Sunny days. Tender blossoms. AND cue that yearly collective moan: Turn clocks ahead one hour. Sigh. This annual time shift is one of life's unavoidable forces. Painful but for the best. Like having a root canal.
Even proactively nixing caffeine, sipping chamomile tea, and bedding down earlier to make up for the 60-minute loss fail to lessen the impact of sleep deprivation. Eventually, my circadian rhythms adjust, and I pop back to my old self in a few days.
To ease the transition, I turn to three artistic and literary sources that examine time in a positive light. Here are my TIMELY recommendations for young readers and adults, as well as thoughts on this wibbly-wobbly subject from The Doctor himself.
For Middle-Grade Readers
The Invention of Hugo Cabret
by Brian Selznick
About the Book
Orphan, clock keeper, and thief, Hugo lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station, where his survival depends on secrets and anonymity. But when his world suddenly interlocks with an eccentric, bookish girl and a bitter old man who runs a toy booth in the station, Hugo's undercover life, and his most precious secret, are put in jeopardy. A cryptic drawing, a treasured notebook, a stolen key, a mechanical man, and a hidden message from Hugo's dead father form the backbone of this intricate, tender, and spellbinding mystery.
Hugo lovingly tends to the 27 clocks in the great Paris train station each day. He is fascinated by clocks and all things mechanical.
What kids will like
With its air of mystery and train station setting revolving around all things mechanical, boys especially will be drawn to this fast-paced tale that evolves like learning secrets of our iPad.
The book’s 500 pages won’t put off kids. Much of the text is padded with Selznick's drop-dead gorgeous illustrations that earned the book a 2008 Caldecott Medal, making the book more like a graphic novel. That’s a kid magnet right there, especially for reluctant readers, who use drawings to give context to text.
Plus, the movie version, Hugo, will have kids wanting to read the book, or pull it out to enjoy again.
What parents and educators will enjoy
Smart, plucky Hugo is a great role model for perseverance and independence. Although Hugo is an orphan and does not go to school, his puts his curious mind into learning new wonders at every chance instead of slacking off. Yes, there’s that part about stealing from the toy maker’s shop, but it’s resolved in a way that sends a positive message.
Hugo also learns the meaning of friendship from the shop owner’s goddaughter, Isabelle, and the value of honesty from an elderly couple. Adults will also love the illustrations.
What I love about Hugo
Trains, turn of the century Paris, and a plot based on the true story of one of the first motion pictures ever made. What’s not to love?
After audio’ing the book, I later discovered its amazing illustrations by Caldecott Honor-winning author-illustrator Selznick. D’oh. Selznick also turns the clock back metaphorically as a sweet tribute to Georges Méliès. He showcases this pioneer film maker's work in the early days of cinema with A Trip to the Moon. I was hooked long before Hugo and his new friends watch old movies together.
The Time Keeper
by Mitch Albom
Hyperion, 240 pages
About the book
The inventor of the world's first clock is punished for trying to measure God's greatest gift. He is banished to a cave for centuries and forced to listen to the voices of all who come after him seeking more days, more years. Eventually, with his soul nearly broken, Father Time is granted his freedom, along with a magical hourglass and a mission: a chance to redeem himself by teaching two earthly people the true meaning of time.
In this fable, the first man on earth to count the hours becomes Father Time. Magical hour glass in hand, he stops time and travels between centuries in the blink of an eye.
lWhat I love about Time Keeper
I was in the mood for a gentle, short tale, and Time Keeper hits those bases. Having read Tuesdays with Morrie and Five People You Meet in Heaven, I was confident Albom would deliver another feel-good read. And he did.
The audiobook was a perfect stress-relief for listening and walking after long hours writing. The plot unfolds between its three main characters: Father Time, a dying elderly businessman, and a heart-broken teenage girl. Though the author’s non-linear plot shifts dramatically in time (think Tower of Babel to iPhones) and from the multiple perspective of this diverse trio, Albom ties the pieces together while revealing important life lessons along the way. Best, it has a satisfying ending. I just knew Mitch wouldn't let me down!
and those who like a scary tale
Season 3, Episode 10
9 June 2007
About the episode
Blink, with its creepy Weep Angel aliens, is one of my all-time fave Dr. Who episodes. Featuring David Tennant as time-traveling Doctor #10 and a young Carey Milligan as heroine Sally Sparrow, the Doctor moves between decades to save the world from the Angels' evil.
These menacing statues appear harmless and remain rooted in place. BUT they stalk you during the intervals when you blink, attacking and turning you into a stone creature. Super-scary. First time I saw Blink, I covered my eyes with a pillow whenever the Angels menaced. I had trouble falling asleep that night, certain inanimate objects in my house were out to get me. The Weeping Angels remain rated as one of Whodom's top baddies of all times.
In addition to Weeping Angels, Blink contains one of the best-loved passages that explains the Doctor's time travel ability. In a now-classic scene, Sally Sparrow plays a recorded message made for her by the Doctor in the future that has critical importance in Sally's day. He offers Sally this brilliant explanation of time travel, so that she will believe him and take necessary action to ward off Weeping Angels who are endangering her current reality
People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint - it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly... time-y wimey... stuff.
Got it? If you haven’t seen the episode, here’s the 15-second clip:
I'm off to reset my clocks and try for an attitude adjustment about all this timey-wimey stuff. Good luck with your springing ahead!
What's your favorite book or movie that revolves around time? I'd love to hear about it in the comment section below.
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