Time of Wonder

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Time of Wonder
CM time of wonder.jpg
Front cover
Author Robert McCloskey
IllustratorRobert McCloskey
Cover artistMcCloskey
CountryUnited States
Genre Children's picture book
Publisher Viking Press
Publication date
ISBN 0-14-050201-7
OCLC 2968809
LC Class PZ7.M1336 Ti 1977

Time of Wonder is a 1957 children's picture book written and illustrated by Robert McCloskey that won the Caldecott Medal in 1958. [1] The book tells the story of a family's summer on a Maine island overlooking Penobscot Bay, filled with bright images and simple alliteration. Rain, gulls, a foggy morning, the excitement of sailing, the quiet of the night, and the sudden terror of a hurricane are all expressed in this book. This was McCloskey's second Caldecott, the first being Make Way for Ducklings in 1942.


Time of Wonder was also made into an audiobook narrated by Tracy Lord and had been made into a 13-minute iconographic film narrated by Ted Hoskins, released by Weston Woods in 1961. In 2018, the film was re-made by Weston Woods with new narration by James Naughton.


On the cover of the book we can see the girl with her sister sailing on a small boat enjoying the sea and the landscape. This book contains 63 pages with short text and is created for children between ages 3–8. The wonders of childhood are brought to life in this Caldecott Medal award-winning story of a family's summer vacation on an island off the coast of Maine. The cover is colorful and has a layer of plastic to protect it and is very light. The illustrations made by Robert McCloskey allows us to appreciate and understand his memories and experiences of the island. Time of Wonder was also made into an audiobook narrated by Tracy Lord.


This book tells readers about a family vacation in Penobscot Bay, off Maine Island. The girl describes every day as a great adventure, and how amazed she is by the forces of nature. Her time on the island is spent living in the moment, exploring the rocks which magically transform into a castle. The girl continues to explore, going under the sea and finding wonderful worlds and animals that people often do not notice. The girl describes Maine Island as a magical place where the stars at night look like a pair of eyes watching her. The girl plays with her sister and her dog enjoying the fog of the mornings and the smell of grass, as well as the power of the sheer wind brought by a hurricane that destroys everything in its way. But even after the storm, everything returns to calm, and at the end of her time on the island, she is ready to return with her family to the big city and face the routine again. In the illustrations of the book by McCloskey, the girl is always happy, playing and exploring her surrounding on Maine Island.

Critical reception

Goodreads called Time of Wonder a "classic" and praised its art for being "evocative" and "vibrant". [2]

Other book reviewers called McCloskey's work a "masterpiece". [3] kids aboard magazine has praised Time of Wonder, calling it a "classic that belongs on every family's bookshelf.". [4] In a retrospective essay about the Caldecott Medal-winning books from 1956 to 1965, Norma R. Fryatt wrote of Time of Wonder, "We feel a sense of wonder at these expressive pictures and of gratitude to the artist who has printed these scenes indelibly on our minds." [5]

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  1. American Library Association: Caldecott Medal Winners, 1938 - Present. URL accessed 27 May 2009.
  2. "Time of Wonder." Goodreads. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Nov. 2014.
  3. Friel, Maureen. "Sparrow Tree Square | Book Review: Time of Wonder by Robert McCloskey." Sparrow Tree Square | Book Review: Time of Wonder by Robert McCloskey. Sparrow Tree Square, n.d. Web. 17 Nov. 2014.
  4. Tucker, Lupe. "kidsaboard.com magazine | Book Review: Time of Wonder by Robert McCloskey. kidsaboard.com/magazine, n.d. Web. 17 Nov. 2014.
  5. Fryatt, Norma R. (1965). "Picture Books Today". In Kingman, Lee (ed.). Newbery and Caldecott Medal Books: 1956-1965 . Boston: The Horn Book, Incorporated. pp.  273–274. LCCN   65-26759.
Preceded by Caldecott Medal recipient
Succeeded by