cover image The Time It Took Tom

The Time It Took Tom

Nick Sharratt. Little Tiger Press, $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-888444-63-6

To the toilsome count of one, two, three, a boy commits an absurd crime and never grasps just how bad he has been. After Tom finds a can of red paint under the kitchen sink, ""It took him three seconds to decide what to do with it. One. Two. Three. `Got it!' "" It takes him three hours to paint the entire living room--furniture and cat included. A trio of computer-enhanced spreads, rendered in thick black lines and uniform colors and patterns, details the smiling boy's calm, step-by-step progress; through a window, his unsuspecting mother can be seen in the yard outside. Once the deed is discovered, Sharratt (Animal Orchestra) and Tucker abruptly shift from simple statements to a flood of words. Repetitive images show Tom's mother in various stages of horror (never mind that she left the boy unattended for three hours). Afterward, Tom describes the three weeks required to undo the mess. The conclusion, three years later, finds Tom under the sink again, admiring a can of blue paint. (His mother apparently hasn't rethought her paint-storage procedure.) Unlike Molly Bang's recent When Sophie Gets Angry--Really, Really Angry , there is no therapeutic message and no satisfying resolution. Tom's unsettling behavior comes out of nowhere and remains unquestioned. Ages 3-7. (Jan.)