cover image Tick-Tock


Eileen Browne. Candlewick Press (MA), $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-56402-300-1

The author and illustrator of No Problem team up again for this frenetic, captivating story. Skip Squirrel's mother leaves the family treehouse with a firm warning: ``No jumping on the chairs! Something might get broken.'' But Skip can't resist a few playful bounces on the seat-cushions when her gray squirrel friend, Brainy, comes to visit. As Skip flies through the air at precisely 1:15 p.m., she collides with her mother's cherished cuckoo clock and knocks it off the wall; she and Brainy have until mother squirrel's scheduled 4 p.m. return to fix it. Hefting the unwieldly timepiece, the squirrelly duo dashes to enlist the help of, variously, bicycle mechanic Weasel, shoemaker Hedgehog and gadget-repairer Owl. Parkins's expressive, manic illustrations are the main attractions here, lending high anxiety to Browne's rather familiar tale of a race against time and giving budding clock-watchers extra incentive to chart the progress of the hands of the pictured clocks. His goggle-eyed squirrels, drawn in staccato penstrokes, have a nervous energy befitting their breed, and each eventful spread is watercolored in subtle, foresty earth tones. Even the clock bears a carved likeness of a squirrel that registers goofy grins and frowns depending on the nonstop action. A winsome tale. Ages 3-up. (Apr.)