The Runaway Clock

Children - Christian
28 Pages
Reviewed on 04/26/2022
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite

“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Matthew 18: 1-3) My mother used to warn us not to be in a hurry to grow up because we’re old for a very long time. That was one of the fears of the three Mathison children; nine-year-old Brendan and his twin seven-year-old sisters, Amy and Alison. The world outside their small, quiet, friendly community was the complete antithesis of the placid, caring, loving home in which they now lived. They didn’t want it to change. So, together, they made a wish to remain children forever and the family’s cherished mantel clock allowed them the opportunity to see what they would miss out on if they never grew up.

L.M. Hayne’s The Runaway Clock is a loving, caring story about childhood and the endless trek time takes us on into adulthood and beyond (if we’re lucky, that is). The plot explores the freedom of being a child, but also the underlying wish of every child to grow up and be allowed to make their own decisions. Paralleling the treasured clock that relentless moves time forward with the childhood wishes to remain forever young, young readers will learn about God’s purpose in everyone’s lives and how, in many ways, we must remain like children, but not in a childish way, in order to find our final place of glory in God’s heavenly home. The language is simple for young readers to easily follow and the illustrations are charming and inviting. This is a wonderful story that will appeal to children of all ages. Beautifully told.

Jamie Michele

The Runaway Clock, written and illustrated by L.M.Haynes, is a Christian children's book that centers around the three young Mathison children who live with their parents in the small village of Trinity. Brendan, Amy, and Allison describe their lives in idyllic terms. They have a home life that is “the type that every child dreams of”, plenty of friends, and parents who give them and their community a remarkable amount of attention. The three children make a wish to stay young and happy forever, only to wake up to the opposite: they have aged 10 years and continue the pattern over the nights to come.

L.M. Haynes delivers a simply written story with a message of childlike wonder and happiness, retaining it, and carrying it through to adulthood in The Runaway Clock. The narrative is quite lengthy for the intended age group, so having an adult reader on hand would be helpful. The illustrations are original artwork and employ a vibrant primary color palette that takes on the appearance of sketches. I liked how the illustrations conveyed the home life of the children and as the family grows, and how it all does take place in the same home. Even as the children become adults they are still in Trinity, and still together. The only theme that felt somewhat off is the portrayal of a blissfully perfect family, which is unrealistic and a bit out of touch, but I think with the aforementioned adult reader, a conversation on this aspect, as well as the Christian foundation, will resolve that. Recommended.

Vincent Dublado

A mystical clock gives an important spiritual and life lesson to three children in The Runaway Clock by L.M. Haynes. You are welcomed into the Mathison home, where a beautiful mantle clock sits atop a fireplace. Ashley and Morgan Mathison are blessed with three children; nine-year-old Brendan and his seven-year-old twin sisters Amy and Alison. The Mathison children have a wonderful life, yet the outside world is filled with hopelessness and despair. They would often talk amongst themselves and wish that time would stand still and they could stay children forever. They do not wish to become part of the adult population that has been making such a mess of the world. The mantle clock grants their wish, but the three siblings wake up in a world where everything has changed and aged. The mantle clock will take them into the different stages of their lives to make them realize that remaining a child is not the answer.

In a way, The Runaway Clock can be described as time travel that operates under some mystical rules. The idea of time travel has always been irresistible, and it has become a common theme in both fantasy and science fiction. It is a device that has been used to rectify a past mistake or caution against a bleak future. L.M. Haynes keeps it simple by illustrating how faith plays an important part in the formation of children growing up. It’s a simple reading pleasure that combines a biblical passage with its premise. The three main characters don’t seem to have too many worries about suddenly dealing with themselves as anachronisms in an environment that has suddenly changed over time - it is as if they are absorbing everything in a dream. If you love children’s stories that hinge on Christian elements, this is the storybook that you will want to read to and talk about with your children.