‘The Cuckoo Clock’ is one of the children’s books I discovered fairly recently, due to a review Kirsty had once written on Goodreads. I didn’t have the opportunity to read it as a child, since it had never been translated into my first language, Greek (at least it hadn’t when I was a kid). However, thanks to a lovely challenge I discovered too late and also thanks to my beloved library that had a copy of this book, I was able to read it despite the delay.
I was really excited to read this book, mainly because of the nice comments I had read about it, but also because I love such tales of fantasy and adventure as this one. From the very beginning of the story, a very familiar and heartwarming feeling engulfed me and even though I hadn’t read the book before, the entire experience felt so nostalgic, like revisiting an old friend you haven’t seen nor spoken to in years. I loved the atmosphere and all the ‘British-ness’ of the story; it made me long to travel inside the pages and locate myself at that very same time and place. Which, again, is a feeling I had as a child when I read those really good books.
The main character of the story, Griselda, was a girl I found myself liking and empathizing with from the beginning (though no apparent reason for empathy existed). Her curiosity and fascination with everything new the cuckoo exposed her to, as well as the moments of boredom and distress she experienced (without being a spoilt little kid that desires things to be done in her own way), very well reminded me of a plethora of my favourite childhood book heroines, and that alone was enough to make me develop a great liking towards her character. The ethic and moral messages were spread throughout the story, and Griselda herself comes to realise certain things by the end, and thus we watch her character develop.
I really enjoyed the descriptions of the places the cuckoo travelled to with Griselda, but I felt that there could perhaps be some more adventure in them. The edition I borrowed from the library was a beautiful 1954 hardback that, apart from the wonderful design of cuckoos and butterflies on the cover, also included some marvelous pictures in between the text. Reading adult novels for more than ten years now, I had forgotten the magic a children’s chapter book with pretty drawings can evoke.
‘The Cuckoo Clock’ is a book I really wish I had read when I was little, since I’m sure I would have thoroughly enjoyed it and it would have added to my childhood experiences and longing for devouring great books. It was such books, full of mythical creatures, adventure and fairies that made me fall in love with fantasy literature in the first place. However, I’m really glad I had the chance to read it now, at least, since it helped me remember this nostalgic feeling of reading good literature as a kid and being fascinated by it.