The Noisy Clock Shop by Jean Horton Berg and Art Seiden

Mr. Winky loves all the different sounds made by the clocks in his cheerful little shop — that is, until Mr Glum enters the shop one day and summarily dismisses them as “awful noise” through which he can’t hear himself think.

Contrary to that old children’s rhyme, words CAN cause as much pain as sticks and stones — if not physically then most definitely psychologically — especially when they are directed at something held close to the recipient’s heart, like Mr Winky’s beloved clock shop. 

Thus, unable to take Miss Swift’s advice to just “shake it off”, he decides to get away from the shop for a while and go someplace more quiet. Alas, no matter where he goes, it seems like it’s as noisy or even noisier than his shop ever was. After all, what’s noise to one person can be music to another’s ears, and vice versa (say, like a child’s off-key rendition of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, ha!).

The richly saturated vintage illustrations in The Noisy Clock Shop are completely charming, and I like how the vivid characterisation by the author and illustrator helped to personify the clocks and make them seem almost alive.

First published in 1950 under Penguin’s Wonder Books line, this classic title, along with others from the ’40s-’60s, has been revived in the new G+D Vintage series as a beautiful hardback edition that is a faithful reproduction of the original and evokes classic Little Golden Books — no surprise, really, since they were from the same era. In fact, the striking classic illustrations of Art Seiden have also graced a few of the Little Golden Book titles.

p.s. I love how so many publishers are cottoning on to the appeal of vintage kidlit!

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