cover image Around the Clock

Around the Clock

Roz Chast. S&S/Atheneum, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4169-8476-4

There are only so many hours in a day, but Chast (Marco Goes to School) rules them all as she checks in on 23 geeky kids who each put a highly idiosyncratic stamp on a single, 60-minute interval. Much of the behavior she chronicles hour by hour is transgressive—or at least not on an adult agenda. “From 7 to 8, Billy’s muse/ tells him to paint the room chartreuse,” she writes, showing a young man enthusiastically spreading paint on every available surface in his bedroom. But an hour is also time enough to perform a good deed (“From 5 to 6, Steve is able/ to help his mother set the table”) or to come closer to fulfilling one’s dream (“From 11 to 12, though no one can see him/ David is planning a sock museum”). As in Chast’s brilliant work for the New Yorker, anxiety and happiness are never far from one another in these pages—the kid whose hour features a rendezvous with a frozen treat truck doesn’t look too different from the kid whose hour is marred by toothpaste that tastes “icky.” Ages 4–8. Agent: Jin Auh, Wylie Agency. (Jan.)