Hickory Dickory Dog by Alison Murray, published by Orchard Books
As our daughter gets older, she takes an increasing interest in the concept of time: The pattern of the day, the appearance of the moon, ideas of tomorrow and yesterday. Part of her intrigue has been in relation to clocks, asking us what they are for and how they work. Recently, we discovered an effective method for indicating to her that it's time to go upstairs for sleep, asking her "what's the time on the clock", to which, so far at least, her answer has been: "Bedtime!"
The traditional children's verse that starts 'Hickory Dickory Dock' was first recorded in 'Tommy Thumb's Pretty Song-Book', an anthology of English-language nursery rhymes published in 1744. In Alison Murray's playful adaptation, we accompany Zac and his dog Rufus on a sunny Autumn day, first at home then at school.
As well as its two main protagonists, 'time' features throughout the book. Scenes are cleverly announced by a clock, striking the next hour of the day, accompanied by a rhyme to match: "Hickory, lickery, lunch. Some yummy crumbs to munch. The clock strikes noon, Zac's dropped his spoon! Hickory, lickery, lunch."
Their day is packed with activity: Getting dressed and ready to go; dancing, painting and gardening at school; returning home for bathtime and storytime, before snuggling down to sleep.
We love Alison Murray's colourful, warm and charming illustrations, which we first discovered in her excellent 'Apple Pie ABC', depicting the alphabetised antics of a small dog with his eyes on a tasty prize. More recently, we've enjoyed her adjective adventure 'Little Mouse', about a girl who wants her growing independence to be acknowledged. All three of these wonderful books come highly recommended.