Hidden Treasure: The Clock Without a Face


This is for real. Somewhere around the country, twelve emeralds are hidden, and the clues to their location are in the pages of The Clock Without a Face, by Scott Teplin, Mac Barnett, and Eli Horowitz.

I’ve been an admirer of McSweeney’s writing/reading/tutoring community for a while, and even hope to emulate some of their methods here in the Rabbit Room one of these days. They run several inner-city tutoring centers around the country, with the idea that if you can teach a child to write you greatly increase their chance of succeeding in the world. I think that’s true. We’ve long kicked around the idea of opening up Rabbit Room tutoring programs for the purpose of exposing children to great writers, particularly great writers who were/are Christians, and encouraging those children to hone their craft and to treat it as Kingdom work. I geek out just thinking about it.

Back to the treasure. McSweeney’s just published this book, and as far as I can tell the emeralds have yet to be discovered. I just read the book today and laughed out loud exactly three times while reading it. It’s funny, well-written, and really cool to look at. If you remember Graeme Base’s The Eleventh Hour, a picture book mystery you’re invited to solve before you turn the last page, you’ll see its influence on this book. But The Clock Without a Face takes it a step further and ends with a challenge to unearth bona fide, handcrafted emeralds. How cool is that?

Very cool, I say. And I plan to sic my smarter-than-I-am kids on the mystery in the hopes of paying for their college. We have a few copies in the Rabbit Room store, if you’re looking for some adventure.

Andrew Peterson is a singer-songwriter and author. Andrew has released more than ten records over the past twenty years, earning him a reputation for songs that connect with his listeners in ways equally powerful, poetic, and intimate. As an author, Andrew’s books include the four volumes of the award-winning Wingfeather Saga, released in collectible hardcover editions through Random House in 2020, and his creative memoir, Adorning the Dark, released in 2019 through B&H Publishing.


  1. JacobT

    This is really cool. I can’t wait to read it sometime. It also reminds me of another great book for kids (of all ages)-The Invention of Hugo Cabret. I hear that Martin Scorcese is supposed to make a 3D movie from it.

    I also love the idea of Rabbit Room tutoring. How about a Rabbit Room music camp for kids?

  2. Amy @ My Friend Amy

    oh this looks like fun! 🙂 I loved the Eleventh Hour.

    And yes to the tutoring, though I’d start with kids being able to read greatly improves their lives. There are so many kids that lack the necessary home support to make it happen. And I think a lot of readers (though not all) are writers. So anyway if you’re interested in opening a Southern California branch of this tutoring thing, I’d be happy to talk. But be forewarned I have strong opinions on the subject.

  3. JenT

    If you ever get your writing program for kids started in the Nashville area, please let me know! I might be interested in helping.

  4. redhead.kate

    I was talking to one of my friends about something similar this weekend. She is an art/music teacher. I encouraged her to have the children write music as an outlet. I wrote poetry as a child but nobody supported me. As I rediscovered it in my 30s, I wish I could have those years back. Our children need to be taught and encouraged. A tutoring program would be amazing.

  5. Jaclyn

    Oh goodness! I would love to be a part of a writing/reading tutoring program, especially one infused with Rabbit Room magic! Not that it’s magic really… Jesus makes everything sweeter, better quality, eternal.

    There’s a social justice agency in my area where I worked with at risk 5th/6th graders a couple summers during college as a councellor/tutor/big sister/mother hen hybrid. As stressful as the work was (I was a huge pushover in those days) I miss those kids and I miss geeking out over reading and art. At least from the 5th graders I’d get a good reaction–eye rolls and sighs galore!

    In this current office situation of mine, curiosity is usually rewarded, but most often with superficial explanations. I know that people read and are curious… after all, I read, and I’m curious. Yet somehow we can put up with giving and receiving the runaround. That’s what I feel many kids have to put up with when it comes to learning how to read and write. They sit down and go through flash cards, worksheets, (aka, busy work) and are told that it’s all supposed to make sense eventially, that they’re supposed to love this eventially. But nobody -shows- them why they should love this. I was blessed to have parents who read to me and made it a special time. I ended up passing my passion on to my brother.

    All that to say… I need to get off my rear and do something.

  6. Alison

    A Rabbit room tutoring center! Awesome!

    I’ve always had this pipe dream of starting a school that offers free, high-quality private education for underpriveledged kids. But a tutoring center might be more reasonable.

    Where do I sign up?

  7. Chris

    Sent the post to my wife (i.e., School Librarian), who then sent the post from the Rabbit Room around to all the teachers in her school. Then she went and purchased the book to use with the students. Great post!

  8. Jaclyn

    “I’ve always had this pipe dream of starting a school that offers free, high-quality private education for underpriveledged kids. But a tutoring center might be more reasonable.”

    Yes please, Alison. And there would need to be lots of recess. and art. and music. and laughing. and math that wouldn’t make you cry. and a beautiful oak staircase perfect for sliding down and running up again.

    I’d sell my Lia Sophia peices and pay off my student loans over the next 50 years for such an oasis. I think. What’s up with doubt, man?

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