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The Clock Without a Face: A Gus Twintig Mystery Board book – April 27, 2010


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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Ready to get your mind blown? Then dig into this enthralling—and oddly shaped—book. It's a mystery, see: gumshoe Roy Dodge and his “confidential assistant” Gus (presumably a kid, though neither of them are pictured) have been called to the top floor of an apartment building, where the owner has been robbed of a priceless clock. Well, not the clock, exactly, but the 12 emerald-studded numbers. Every other floor was robbed, too, as the thief made his (or her? or their?) way upward. So Roy and Gus interview each successive owner, from the mad scientist to the hoarder to the time traveler. The right-hand side of each spread offers a maddeningly detailed three-quarter overhead slice of each floor. Twintig (a pseudonym for Scott Teplin, Mac Barnett, and Eli Horowitz) has an absurd, dry wit (“You should have seen my emotive facial expressions!” insists the mime). And those names! General Klobberduck. Jigsy Squonk. Sigfried Plumpjack. Rarely has a game of Clue been this fun. Oh, and those 12 bejeweled numbers? They're real and buried in 12 holes across the country. This is not a joke. The codes to unlock their locations are hidden within each drawing. So grab a shovel because the real mystery is just beginning. Grades 4-8. --Daniel Kraus

Review

"Ready to get your mind blown? Then dig into this enthralling—and oddly shaped—book.... Twintig (a pseudonym for Scott Teplin, Mac Barnett, and Eli Horowitz) has an absurd, dry wit (“You should have seen my emotive facial expressions!” insists the mime). And those names! General Klobberduck. Jigsy Squonk. Sigfried Plumpjack. Rarely has a game of Clue been this fun. Oh, and those 12 bejeweled numbers? They’re real and buried in 12 holes across the country. This is not a joke. The codes to unlock their locations are hidden within each drawing. So insert your Holmes pipe and grab a shovel, because the real mystery is just beginning."
—Daniel Kraus, Booklist (starred review)

"A marvel.… Clock is a house-shaped board book chock full of mystery, humor and stunning artwork. Oh, and there are also clues that point to 12 emerald-encrusted numbers buried across the country, just in case the visuals don't hook you (which is unlikely)."
—Aidin Vaziri, San Francisco Chronicle

"Enter the world's weirdest book. I'm sure there are other words for it, but the term 'weird' sticks out prominently in my mind. So too do the words 'wacky,' 'hypnotic,' 'awe-inspiring,' and 'potentially hazardous to your health.' I do not kid. I kid a tiny bit. But the fact of the matter is that if you or a child or you AND a child ever wanted to be a part of a real world treasure hunt, the time is now. For my part, all that I care is that there’s a new book out there with teeny tiny pictures for me to stare glazed-eye at for long periods of time. To stare and stare and stare.... what I really came to like and respect about The Clock Without a Face is that it has no difficulty defining its own audience. The writing and the pictures are hugely kid-friendly. Maybe a child wouldn’t have the wherewithal to solve the puzzles, but there’s always a chance. And where there’s a chance there will be kid fans. I know I’ll be handing my copy to the kids in the bookclub I run with the hope that they find a way to solve it themselves. Because even if they don't solve it, they're going to have a heckuva great time obsessing over its wackiness. Fun fun fun."
—Elizabeth Bird, School Library Journal

"Clock seamlessly blends the playfulness of the kids’ books we wished we had and the sophistication of [McSweeney's] trademark design."
—Jonathan Messinger, TimeOut Chicago

“Part The Westing Game, part Masquerade, this board book mystery lures readers in with its pentagonal shape, dry humor, and pages of intricate details. But the chief draw is the promise of—very real—buried treasure, with the clues to its locations hidden within the book.… Given the potential of discovering clues to where the actual bejeweled numbers (created by jewelry designer Anna Sheffield) have been hidden, kids should be plenty motivated to pore over each scene."
Publishers Weekly

"Fun shape, fun story, fun pictures! If I had a kid who asked a million questions all the time, I would give them this, because it would shut them up for awhile. (Would probably also work on adults who need to be shut up.)"
Large Hearted Boy

"The Clock Without a Face is the realization of every (inner) child's wildest dreams: a full color, illustrated mystery book packed full of clues that lead to real treasure."
—Bonnie Chan, Flavorpill

"This is a very cool book for the tween set (think 9-12). And really, any teens or adults that have browsed the book in my living room seem to love it just as much."
DesignMom

"Leave it to McSweeney's to publish a book whose heist mystery extends past the confines of the book itself and into the actual real world.… The book is sincerely funny, has great illustrations and is shaped like a house.… Make no mistake, this book is delightfully silly above all things."
—Adam Lustick, Jewcy
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Grade Level: 2 and up
  • Board book: 30 pages
  • Publisher: McSweeney's (April 27, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1934781711
  • ISBN-13: 978-1934781715
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 12.5 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #328,647 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
5 star
91%
4 star
0%
3 star
0%
2 star
0%
1 star
9%
See all 11 customer reviews
This is an amazing book for kids and adults.
Robin Sumner
It was a great concept, very well executed, with exquisitely detailed drawings.
Matt Beatty
It's a book that you can look at one day and re-discover new things the next.
L. Khmelevsky

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on April 27, 2010
Format: Board book
Treasure hunts. Wouldn't it be marvelous to be a part of one? I think the popularity of books like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or The 39 Clues or even The Gollywhopper Games really has a lot to do with our own private wish fulfillment. Wouldn't you love to be a part of a real world treasure hunt? One where you could follow clues and end up with a marvelous prize of your very own? Enter the world's weirdest book. I'm sure there are other words for it, but the term "weird" sticks out prominently in my mind. So too do the words "wacky", "hypnotic", "awe-inspiring", and "potentially hazardous to your health". I do not kid. I kid a tiny bit. But the fact of the matter is that if you or a child or you AND a child ever wanted to be a part of a real world treasure hunt, the time is now. For my part, all that I care is that there's a new book out there with teeny tiny pictures for me to stare glazed-eye at for long periods of time. To stare and stare and stare.

Meet Gus Twintig. Gus is just your average everyday detective sidekick. So when the great Roy Dodge says that there's a mystery to be solved, Gus is more than eager to tag along. They find themselves at 23 Glyph Street where a Mr. Bevel Ternky has been robbed. His marvelous Emerald Khroniker, a clock containing twelve emerald studded numbers, has been stolen. Or rather, the numbers have been stolen. The clock itself is hunky dory.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By L. Khmelevsky on April 24, 2010
Format: Board book Verified Purchase
What a creative book! It's been great to read and study the pictures with my kids. Went out to get magnifying glasses so we can examine all the details and try and find clues for the buried treasures! It's a book that you can look at one day and re-discover new things the next. I've recommended this book to everyone I know with kids or grandkids. A great gift for birthdays too!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By LE on April 22, 2010
Format: Board book Verified Purchase
What an exciting adventure book that kids and adults can partake in. The clues to solving the mystery lie in the AMAZING artwork by Scott Teplin. My son is dying to go out and find the REAL buried jewel clock numbers and who am I to stop him. We just bope to find them before anyone else. Truly a MUST read, it leaves you wanting more and more and more......
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Sara Hathaway on May 9, 2010
Format: Board book
After looking over my notes, and after a message on the official website alluding to the lengthy hunt yet to come, I believe that there are layers of clues beyond the initial hunt for numbers. It's a great relief to think that the elegant mix of clues I was seeing was not a colossal set of red herrings. The next rounds of solutions apparently do require more intellectual digging.

Although there has been a mini "gold rush" (or 'emerald rush," as it were) in which a number of the acknowledged treasures have been found, I expect there are still plenty of puzzles left to solve and rewards yet to discover. You can catch up with background discussion and learn what has already been discovered at websites "Tweleve" or "HitContests" or the official "Gus Twintig" site.

Original review:
I think I know why Amazon is reviewing the description of this product. This is a fun, extremely clever "armchair treasure hunt" book, but 9-12 year-olds (currently cited by Amazon as the target audience) would quickly be overwhelmed by the magnitude of effort involved in solving the clues.

(Tiny, partial spoiler alert) For instance, I am pursuing one set of clues on the 7th floor. I recognized a Barcelona Chair, designed by Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe, because I studied modern architecture when I was in college. When using an anagram website, one phrase from the book mentioned the word amaranth. When I looked that up, I realized that a plant near the chair might be an amaranth. I believe the clue is directing the reader to find something related to "ABC" (Amaranth Barcelona Chair = ABC). This example shows why, in my opinion, the larger hunt would be much too difficult for most kids to put together.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Robin Sumner on May 8, 2010
Format: Board book
This is an amazing book for kids and adults. My son and I have spent hours studying it's detailed pages and mysteries. For anyone intrigued by treasure hunts, this book will delight you. I do not understand why it is no longer available! Perhaps it is because of an intentional illustration prank that appears as a printing error? Please make it available for purchase again.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By rol1134 on May 19, 2010
Format: Board book Verified Purchase
A fun hunt for you and your family. The drawings are very "Where's Waldo"-y. If you are familiar with MASQUERADE by Kit Williams, then it is hard not to compare/contrast these two books. If you are not in it for the hunt, then perhaps you will appreciate its unconventional aesthetic. It is childishly amusing, but not much more than that. Middle props yo!
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