Skip to content

Stop the Clock

Pippa Goodhart, illus. Maria Christiana
Tiny Owl
Age 3-7

Joe’s mum is in a rush, they are late for school. When he arrives, the teacher is in a rush too and hurries the children to finish their paintings before break. Joe has had enough – he decides he wants more time. He shouts, ‘Stop the clock!’ and time actually stands still. Joe finds he notices so much more, as he relives his journey to school, the people he passes on the way, the miniature natural worlds around him and even the reason his little sister had been crying that morning.

This is a story about the value of taking time out from day to day rushing to notice and appreciate the world around us.

Watch a read aloud of part of the story

Watch an interview with Pippa Goodhart about the book


Share the story

Read aloud
Think about changing your pace as you read this story to your child, for example reading at a fast pace for when Joe’s mum and teacher are rushing him and a slower pace for when Joe stops the clock. There is so much to notice in the illustrations, pause to look at them if your child wants to or return to look more closely after reading the story.

Read the illustrations
When you have read the story once go back through and ‘read’ the illustrations together, talking about the details you both notice.

Join in
When your child is familiar with the story, they may like to join in with phrases such as ‘Stop the Clock,’ ‘Hurry up Joe!’ and ‘Tick, tock!’

Talk about the story
• Talk about why mum is in a rush and share times that you have been in a rush and how you felt.
• Talk about clues to who lives in buildings, or the kinds of shops Joe passes
• Find the page where Poppy loses her teddy
• Talk about Joe’s feelings at different points in the story.
• Talk about times you each feel in a rush and have to hurry, the reasons why and how it makes you both feel.

Things to make and do*

Make time to be careful observers
Ask your child to draw a picture of what they see on the way to school from memory. You could try this too! The next day on your route to school, see what you both missed. If possible, leave a little earlier than usual, or do the same journey at the weekend so you can stop and really look. You could repeat this on different days choosing something in particular to look out for, eg
• Plants or animals
• People and what they are doing
• Traffic
• Shops or buildings.  

Talk about what you both notice.

Become a miniature world spotte
Look really closely at a plant growing in a garden or park, spot drops of dew, insects or seeds and draw what you see in a minibook.

Paint the sky
Notice all the colours and shapes in the sky on different days and take photos or paint a picture.

Learn about clocks and telling the time
• Look around your home for clocks, watches and devices which tell the time. If you can, collect some of these together. Talk about how the time is displayed on each of these. Older children may be interested in learning about the meaning of ‘digital’ and ‘analogue.’ Talk about how they work eg wind up, battery, electric, pendulum.

• Find an old broken clock that can be taken to pieces, maybe from a charity or junk shop. Help your child to use a screwdriver to dismantle it. Look closely and talk about the shapes and names of the different parts.

• You could use the parts to make a model, perhaps a robot, a vehicle or even a time machine – sticking on cogs to a small cardboard box or tubes.

• Make a clock using a paper plate, cardboard hands and a split pin to secure them. Turn the hands and help your child to start learning to tell the time, starting with the hours and half hours.

*With thanks to Joan Thurgar for several of these suggestions.

Find out More

Find out more about author Pippa Goodhart 
Pippa Goodhart – Home Page. Picturebooks include:
Best Test and Fair Shares illus. by Anna Doherty
You Choose series illus. by Nick Sharratt

Watch an interview with the illustrator
Maria Christiana, illustrator of ‘Stop the Clock’ Interviewing Illustrator Maria Christania About Stop the Clock! – Tiny Owl