12 HOUR CLOCKS IN PICTURE BOOKS
Anyone who has read books to children will already know which of these single-day stories is more popular in children’s books. Some common clocks in picture books:
- The main character wakes up in the morning, goes on an adventure, comes home to safety and sleeps happily in bed. These stories make for good, calming bedtime tales, functioning like a lullaby.
- Some books are about a specific time of day. Perhaps the entire focus is about going to bed, and the story is condensed to the bedtime routine. Or it might equally be about getting up and going to kindergarten.
- Less common is an inversion of the daytime story, in which the child is put to bed and the adventures begin. Maurice Sendak was fond of this form, evident in his book In The Night Kitchen:
- A young boy named Mickey sleeps in his bed when he is disturbed by noise on a lower floor. Suddenly, he begins to float, and all of his clothes disappear as he drifts into a surreal world called the “Night Kitchen”:[Mickey, a little boy] falls into a giant mixing pot that contains the batter for the “morning cake”. While Mickey is buried in the mass, three identical bakers … mix the batter and prepare it for baking, unaware (or unconcerned) that there is a little boy inside. Just before the baking pan is placed into the oven, the boy emerges from the pan, protesting that he is not the batter’s milk.To make up for the baking ingredient deficiency, Mickey (now covered in batter from the neck down) constructs an airplane out of bread dough so he can fly to the mouth of a gigantic milk bottle. Upon reaching the bottle’s opening, he dives in and briefly revels in the liquid. After his covering of batter disintegrates, he pours the needed milk in a cascade down to the bakers who joyfully finish making the morning cake.With dawn breaking, the naked Mickey crows like a rooster and slides down the bottle to magically return to his bed. Everything is back to normal, beyond the happy memory of his experience.- Wikipedia
The advantage to setting a story over the course of a night-time is that the child will likely find the darkness and night-time spooky and mysterious, so the setting of darkness provides inevitable adventure. Also, the night-time is the perfect setting for dreamscapes and imaginings and all sorts of surreal fantasies.
In the morning, he goes out for a walk on the sand. He bathes in cool water. And he waits for the tide to come and bring him the little treasures of the day.
But today, it’s a strange visitor who arrives in his living room. A truly unexpected visitor.
When you come from Nowhere, can you ever really make it anywhere? Author Dusti Bowling (Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus) returns to the desert to create a gripping story about friendship, hope, and finding the power we all have within ourselves.
Welcome to Nowhere, Arizona, the least livable town in the United States. For Gus, a bright 13-year-old with dreams of getting out and going to college, life there is made even worse by Bo Taylor, Nowhere’s biggest, baddest bully. When Bo tries to force Gus to eat a dangerously spiny cactus, Rossi Scott, one of the best racers in Nowhere, comes to his rescue—but in return she has to give Bo her prized dirt bike. Determined to buy it back, Gus agrees to go searching for gold in Dead Frenchman Mine, joined by his old friends Jessie Navarro and Matthew Dufort, and Rossi herself. As they hunt for treasure, narrowly surviving everything from cave-ins to mountain lions, they bond over shared stories of how hard life in Nowhere is—and they realize this adventure just may be their way out.
Header illustration: Times of the day, Alphonse Mucha, 1900