Page 45 Review by Stephen
Family entertainment, riddled with mischief, wonder and wit, in a hardbound variety of inventive, unpredictable entertainments for maximum interpretation and so interaction.
Filled with loops - both visual and narrative - this will have wide eyes hungrily scouring the pages, following the paths and bring big, broad grins to both you and your sproglets, as young as you like.
Everything here (bar one double-page spread showing Tim to be a master of many metiers) is emphatically comics, even the double-page spread in which Connie and Mouse activate an enormous, impressive and complex machine full of funnels, pipes and gauges, levers and light bulbs, dials and digital displays.
"What does it do?"
"I thought you knew!"
I saw so many faces in all its intricacies, but then humans will anthropomorphise anything, won't we? Cars, clocks, trains, house fronts...
The loops begin on the very first page introducing our first act, Doug the duck and Mouse. Theirs is one long adventure as they traverse the globe by any and every means imaginable. At one point they navigate a tropical, serpentine river into which the longest snake you've ever seen dips in and out, its coiled body disappearing beneath the water's surface as our heroes progress downstream towards danger. Then, on the very next page, there's a Looney Tunes-like water-jet gag.
You never know what to expect, including the return of that snake under very different yet hilariously similar circumstances for its body is segmented once more, but by something else entirely. Will you be able to spot it?
Each of our other three acts you'll find introduced before they take centre stage, and our second is the titular cat named Tim, who will try his hand at any activity, be it professional, recreational, educational, experimental, artistic or domestic. At one point he paints himself into quite the corner, only to extricate himself with comical cartoon logic. It's so obvious once you've seen it, but I defy you to try that at home!
So we come to my favourite loop, that of Connie's mechanically assisted, twelve-panel day which begins top-left and ends bottom-right, but whose path is far from straight-lined linear. Here her course is subtly suggested by colour and Connie's line of sight.
Finally it's time for Mr. and Mrs. Hamhock to keep us entertained while doing as little as they can, for if Doug and Mouse are continually on the move, then Mr. and Mrs. Hamhock are far more sedentary. Whatever could possibly unseat them? Ah, yes, that perennial anxiety / doubt! They may have left it a little too late.
From the creator of possibly the most poignant comic I've ever read, BURT'S WAY HOME (even more so that Jordan Crane's profoundly moving LAST LONELY SATURDAY) comes page after colourful page of adventure, misadventure and japes, as fresh as fresh can be.
I have never, for example, seen a bird dutifully raking its tree branch in Autumn, while the leaves flutter down to collect unattended on the grass below.