It is a long time ago in a village near Germany’s Black Forest, and Erich, a foundling, has been left in the care of the good and charitable Frau Goddhart. Or, at least the publicly good and charitable Frau Goddhart; at home it’s quite another story. Erich’s young life of work and little love changes when old Ula, the town’s most skillful clockmaker, offers him a job as his helper. Ula is a patient and very slow worker, which is why his cuckoo clocks are the best anywhere. Ula teaches Erich about clockmaking, playing the fiddle, and many other useful and wonderful things.
One day as Ula works at his clockmaking and Erich looks on, Baron Balloon storms in demanding a clock. Ula refuses, and decided right then and there to make a clock for himself, a wondrous, beautiful clock that will be his last and best. The clock he makes – with Erich’s help – is wonderful, beautiful, and magical, with a cheerful enchanted cuckoo bird that knows all the thirty-six songs of the birds of the Black Forest. Mary Stolz’s story is alive with the magic of art, and creation and is sure to enchant, as are the warm pencil illustrations by Pamela Johnson.
Stolz’s delicate ironies and precise writing style save her story from sentimentality . . . original, wise, and thoughtful.
—School Library Journal