The Tick Tock Man Paperback – May 2, 2017
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"Go to School, Little Monster" by Helen Ketteman
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From School Library Journal
"Give this to fans of Suzanne Collins's Gregor the Overlander or Marie Rutkoski's The Cabinet of Wonders."
"VERDICT A fun, fast-paced adventure that will appeal to reluctant middle school readers, especially those interested in engineering and how things work."
-School Library Journal
- Grade level : 4 - 7
- Item Weight : 9.8 ounces
- Paperback : 202 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1944816607
- ISBN-13 : 978-1944816605
- Dimensions : 5 x 0.51 x 8 inches
- Publisher : Month9Books, LLC; None edition (May 2, 2017)
- Reading level : 9 - 12 years
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #8,594,718 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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As someone who knows very little about how analog clocks work, I was surprised by how easy it was to understand and remember all of the timepiece references in this tale. They were all described so clearly that I could picture them as soon as the characters talked about how certain pieces of a clock fit together or what function they serve. This was something I was expecting to possibly struggle with, so it was nice to have it all explained so fully.
There were pacing problems. I especially noticed them in the beginning when CJ was preparing for Thanksgiving dinner by winding up and setting out many different clocks at his house. It was interesting to read about that tradition, but it did slow down the plot because of how much time was spent discussing it without really mentioning why this was so important to him or to his family. I would have liked to have at least one hint early on about what was going on there. Those scenes felt out of place to me without it.
With that being said, the world building in this books was really well done. It only became more complex over time, and that made me eager to see how everything would connect together by the last scene. The author did a nice job of slowly revealing each layer to what was going on in Furtwangen, the clock world, and why some of the things that were shared early on could be interpreted in all kinds of ways depending on how much you knew about them.
The other difficulty I had with the storyline had to do with how many new terms were thrown at CJ. There were terms for the various factions in the clock world who were at war with each other, and there were also terms for people who had certain powers or identities there as well. I found it confusing to keep up with all of these terms because of how quickly the main character was introduced to them. Many of them were introduced at once, and not all of them were explained right away. This made it hard to remember what they all meant.
Fuzee was so brave and kind. I liked the fact that she was the first person CJ met when he travelled to Furtwangen. She balanced out his cautious and sometimes less trustful personality nicely, especially once the plot sped up and both of these characters began to find themselves in dangerous situations. Some of my favorite scenes were the ones where CJ and Fuzee simply showed the audience their unique responses to all of the unexpected things that happened to them. Her personality complemented his perfectly.
The Tick Tock Man was a wild ride. I’d recommend it to anyone who is in the mood for an adventure.
originally posted at long and short YA reviews
I like how everything was based on some type of clock. Be it a part, a piece of the clock, anything. Even the characters within the world were some part of the clock. I found that to be adorable.
I personally do not like CJ’s dad. Grounding him for a month over breaking the clock on accident was a bit extreme. Good thing for the mom. Also, did not enjoy the grandparents I know there are grandparents out there like those I just hope they are few and far between. I would hope the parents would stand up to those kind of rude and condescending grandparents!
I was able to read this book in a few hours even though I needed to break it up into two days. It was rather enjoyable. The book flowed rather well, and kept a steady pace.
When I first heard the title of R.M. Clark’s new YA novel, “The Tick Tock Man,” my initial thought was that the title character was a villain from some incarnation of “Batman.” As I read the book, however, I realized that the inspiration for “The Tick Tock Man” probably comes more from “Alice in Wonderland” than from the pages of a comic book. And if Lewis Carroll did inspire author Clark, that inspiration may have helped the modern day author come up with some entertaining new twists for his fantasy world.
The hero of “The Tick Tock Man” is 13-year-old C.J. Boyce, a boy with an affinity for clocks thanks to his uncle Artie who is a collector. Then, one Thanksgiving, C.J. discovers that all the mechanical clocks in his town have stopped at 2:00, although the digital clocks seem to keep on telling perfect time. C.J. tries to find out if he’s somehow to blame, and he learns that the answer is inside the clock… not just one particular clock, but all the clocks in his town. C.J. discovers that there’s a separate clock world that he can visit, one whose inhabitants seem to be a cross between ordinary humans and a collection of clock parts. And the clocks in C.J.’s hometown have stopped because the mainspring has gone missing. C.J., with the help of a little clockwork girl named Fuzee tries to get the clocks started again and stop a war between two opposing towns in the clock world.
Author Clark has created a very complex alternate world, which he calls Furtwangen (an actual German town with a history of clock making). This world has a surprisingly varied assortment of characters and factions. Further, almost everything in this world revolves around clocks and clock parts. The result is a challenge for the imaginations of young readers, who will enjoy trying to picture in their own minds what the town and its inhabitants really look like.
“The Tick Tock Man” succeeds fairly well as an adventure, especially for its target middle school audience. C.J. and Fuzee encounter some dangerous sorts along the way (it’s hard to know what to call people who are made up to some degree of clock parts), and she helps him get through by engaging in some gymnastics that seem to defy the laws of physics to fight the bad guys. In addition, the book will give kids a bit of an education about clocks and how they work. The author tosses around various terms and names without breaking them down in time consuming detail. As a result, kids may well do some research of their own to find out more.
If there’s a weakness to “The Tick Tock Man,” it’s the scenes set in the “real” world as opposed to the “clock” world. C.J. seems like a normal enough middle schooler, somewhat frustrated with his parents and having a curiosity about clocks (and an understandable fascination with the clock world). But I kept waiting for the author to tie the two worlds together and, although there’s one big surprise towards the end, I never felt the real world scenes to be much more than treading water and occupying valuable pages.
If the real world scenes in “The Tick Tock Man” are a bit bland, the clock world scenes are anything but. The author has obviously spent a good bit of time, both on historical research and on creating a world that proves as complex as the workings of a fine clock. By the book’s end, the seemingly bizarre events that take place and the bits and pieces of the clock world all come together when the author provides a pretty good backstory as to how the clock world came to be in its current form. The result is a quite enjoyable and satisfying read. “The Tick Tock Man” is the type of book that invites young readers to go back for a second reading and to imagine just what the author’s timepiece-based world would actually look like. The author leaves plenty of room for a sequel to this book that might be even better if he continues to expand his clock world into other realms. However, potential readers shouldn’t wait for a possible sequel; instead it’s time for them to read and enjoy “The Tick Tock Man.”