Martin is by himself after school because his mother has gone to work at the hospital--and though in the pictures he's rather young (six, at most) to be carrying a key and taking care of himself, his very youthfulness may serve to make the situation moro engaging (and less threatening) to the somewhat older child who's usually involved. What happens is that Martin, lonely, lurches from one consoling impulse to another--from, for instance, a peanut butter and banana sandwich (instead of the cookies his mother left for him) to peanut butter pictures all over the refrigerator--and winds up making a holy mess. Most responsible is the neighbor's dog that he drags in--and finally lures out by feeding him the meat loaf meant for dinner that night. But there's a wistful undercurrent right through (manifest, tangibly, in Martin's one-sided ""conversation"" with the telephone voice that gives the time) which surfaces at his mother's return, when her dismay at the havoc he's wrought turns to comprehension and a solution: something important (walking the dog) to keep him busy in the future till she gets home. Meanwhile, Martin murmurs, why not hot dogs instead of meat loaf tonight? Amusing and woebegone in equal delicious, lifelike measure.