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Clockwork : Or All Wound Up Paperback – October, 1998


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Paperback, October, 1998
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

While Philip Pullman's greatest popularity is as a creator of novel-length magical realism for young adults, such as The Golden Compass, he continues to explore and stretch the limits of other children's and young adult genres. Clockwork is no exception. With its inspiration lying solidly in the German romantic tradition of E.T.A. Hoffmann and the Brothers Grimm, the story begins, as all good fairy tales do, with someone whose human weakness sets events inescapably in motion. As the townspeople of Glockenheim gather in the White Horse Tavern on the eve of the unveiling of a new figure for their great town clock, Karl, the clockmaker's apprentice, reveals to Fritz, a young storyteller, that he has not been able to construct the figure. A new clock figure is expected of all apprentices, and Karl is the first in hundreds of years to fail. Fritz, in his turn, has the beginnings of a new story to tell, and as it rolls off his tongue, its dark antagonist materializes and offers Karl his dearest wish. Not surprisingly, Karl's Faustian pact brings him destruction, but an innocent child is the deus ex machina that saves another child and the spirit of the town from seemingly ineluctable oblivion. With its eerie black-and-white illustrations by Leonid Gore and its happily-ever-after ending to some thrilling suspense, Clockwork is a fine fairy tale for younger children and a thought-provoking twist on the art of narrative for older ones. --Barrie Trinkle --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

"In this tightly wound tale, clockmaking and clockmakers serve as metaphors for fiction and its practitioners," said PW in a starred review. "A tale to return to time after time." Ages 8-12. (Oct.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Paperback: 106 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks; Reprint edition (October 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0590129988
  • ISBN-13: 978-0590129985
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5.3 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,654,997 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

I recommend this book for older kids.
MFS
The story is wound up as Philip Pullman begins his tale of clockwork.
Ryan
Very creepy, with some great suspense.
Zohariel@hotmail.com

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Zohariel@hotmail.com on June 25, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Great book. Very creepy, with some great suspense. The illustrations are beautiful and very appropriate. Some readers have pointed out that the characters are underdeveloped--yes, they are, but that's not at all a fault, as this is a story in the style of folktales, where the characters aren't meant to be fully developed. They don't have to be. All of you who were enchanted by Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy will want to check this out. It's an entertaining quick read, and it will satisfy your hunger for more Philip Pullman books.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By grahamer on January 27, 2002
Format: Paperback
As you would expect from Philip Pullman, 'Clockwork' is a skillfully written book with more depth than might be apparent to the younger reader. The events and characters fit together as neatly as the teeth of the clockwork Pullman describes, and the illustrations and textual 'asides' are delightful, offering complementary and contrasting views of the action as it progresses. It is a book which has an enormous amount to offer readers of all ages and is gripping enough to keep you turning those pages.
A post-modern version of Grimms Fairy Tales, 'Clockwork' has a certain gothic horror element to it, whilst retaining an underlying 'adult amusement' value. Pullman effectively combines the two, eliciting fear one moment and laughter the next. All the characters are well crafted but Dr Kalmenius is clearly the best, scoring 10 out of 10 on the villainy scale.
CLOCKWORK: OR ALL WOUND UP is an example of 'children's' fiction at its very best.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By audrey TOP 500 REVIEWER on October 31, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having read and enjoyed Pullman's 'His Dark Materials' trilogy, I decided to read this tale. It is definitely a fairy story in the tradition of the Brothers Grimm -- not for very young readers, but very entertaining for kids over 10, I'd say. Three interconnected stories revolve around the deeds of the mysterious and ingenious Dr. Kalmenius and his dealings with princes, apprentices and clockwork mechanisms. Though it is 109 pages long, the type is big and there are over 20 full-page illustrations, so this would be a good book for a child who shows an interest in the genre and seems ready to move on to a lengthier and more complex format.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 11, 2000
Format: Hardcover
My nine year old daughter and I stumbled upon this book in a bookstore. Philip Pullman has since become one of our favorite authors, starting with this book. The story is suspenseful, engaging, extremely well written and hard to put down. It's a tiny bit scary (for a nine year old struggling to stay awake so she can savor each line), but perfect to read together with your children. I don't know who enjoyed it more, my daughter or me!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 15, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I am a huge fan of The Golden Compass and The Subtle Knife, the first two in the 'His Dark Materials' trilogy, and am anxiously awaiting The Amber Spyglass, the third. Even though this is a different style of witing it is still very good. It has an amazingly complex plotline for such a short book. Set in a small town in Germany, it's about Karl,a clockmaker's apprentice, who must make a new clockwork figure for the famous clock in town square, Fritz, a novelist, who must finish his oddly spine ting story, Clockwork, before it's to late, and Gretl, a young barmaid, who becomes our brave heroine. It's an intriguing story that I recomend to anyone who enjoys the utterly strange mixed into their fantasy. (Note: The characters aren't very advanced and need imagination)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. Roach on November 16, 2006
Format: Paperback
I just recently discovered Phillip Pullman while doing research on the Whitbread Children's Book Awards. His fantasy novel (for children? young adults? adults?) The Amber Spyglass won the award for both Best Children's Literature and the over all Book of the Year Award in 2001. That novel is the third in the His Dark Materials trilogy.

Clockwork is a much shorter, perhaps less ambitious work, but in many ways just as complex. The story takes place in a German town, "in the old days..." when "...time used to run by clockwork." It is the evening before the unveiling of the next great mechanical figure for the town's famous clock. Everyone in town gathers at the local inn, including the Clock Maker's apprentice (whose clockwork figure will be his "graduation" present to the town), and the local story teller.

Karl, the apprentice clockmaker confesses to Fritz the story teller, that he has failed to complete his clockwork figure, that he indeed has nothing at all to offer for the unveiling the following day. He is despondent and speaks of killing himself before the sun comes up.

So the book begins, or one part of the book, as there are layers here: stories within stories, like the complex workings of a mechanical clock. Fritz the story teller is at the inn that night to read his next great novel aloud, a story which we learn he has not finished but hopes be able to come up with an ending as he goes along.

Along with a somewhat fairytale quality to it, Clockwork has elements of suspense and horror. This was the most "creaped out" I have been with a children's book since first reading Coraline by Neil Gaimon.

Highly recommend this book for children ages 11 to adult (if they are not too easily scared...)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 21, 2000
Format: Hardcover
One of Pullman's shorter works, his dark yet excellent writing is still a joy in this teeny tiny novel.
A strange story is told in a bar at night--about a prince who was so determined to have an heir that he replaces his dead infant son with a mechanical one, then goes to terrifying lengths to keep him alive.
In the tradition of "Count Karlstein", this takes place in a wintery part of Germany and is full of shadowy darkness. Unfortunately, though the writing is excellent, it has none of the wacky dark funniness of "Karlstein." If you are a fan of Pullman, then this book is a must. Even if you are not, this is a nice way to spend 45 minutes on a rainy night!
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