Older covers more than just the specifics of telling time. He discusses the broad concept of time and tires to get children thinking in terms of "when things happen" and "how long things take." In a lively, upbeat tone, he explains why we need to be able to tell time, introduce calendars, and talks about units of time--from seconds to millennia. Pastel-colored illustrations (including many easy-to-read clock faces with large numbers) and lots of white space lend themselves to an uncluttered design. The book can be used with children of various ages because it includes a lot of information, even how to read Roman numerals. The author ends with a rhyming poem to help kids remember what they've learned: "Seven days make one whole wee,/ 10,080 minutes--eek!/ A month is four weeks, sometimes more,/ I'd like to spend it at the shore." The rest of the poem is followed by a page of intriguing Web sites for children and adults.
Beginning with a robust "TICK" and ending with an equally bold "TOCK," Older acts as both an encouraging coach and cheerleader for youngsters learning about time. He defines the concept clearly, citing two meanings--when things happen and how long things take. After delving into how time can be broken down (from a second to a century), the author gets down to the nitty-gritty of telling time. He begins with the easier digital-clock face. Once that is thoroughly explained, he ponders the more difficult analog clock. Readers are taken through the process of reading it, and little tests are thrown in to keep students on track. Answers are given in the text, along with rewarding smiley faces. ("Yes! It's seven-thirty. You deserve another smiley face!") The cartoon illustrations, showing children and many, many types of clocks are colorful, plentiful, and inviting. A rather silly poem is appended to help readers remember how long things take: "Sixty seconds make a minute,/ that's a lot of seconds, innit?" Although a.m. and p.m. are discussed ("...breakfast is at six A.M., but supper is at six P.M.") they are never really defined. Beyond these minuscule qualms, this jovial look at time and time telling is as handy as they come.
School Library Journal