Newsom has taken the most famous of Lear's nonsense alphabets, ""A was once an apple-pie""--which ordinarily comes with his own quick, witty drawings-and given it an elaborate, naturalistic-cartoon treatment. On every page, there's a mouse doing something that has more-or-less to do with the rhyme. ""B was once a little bear,/ Beary,/ Wary,/ Hairy,/ Beary,/ Taky cary,/ Little Bear,"" is illustrated by a painting of a bear spreading honey on a piece of bread, while a bee lands on his nose. . . which the mouse is about to swat. ""G was once a little goose,/ Goosy, Moosy,/ Boosey,/ Goosey,/ Waddly-woosy,/ Little goose!"" comes with an even more contrived, far-fetched scene: the mouse, garbed like a fisherman (with tackle box, creel, etc.) is riding on the back of a swimming goose--who's wearing a baseball cap (and flashing a wicked look). None of this broad, Looney-Tunes farce (the mouse even has buck-teeth) reflects Lear's sense of fun, his delight in incongruities; and it certainly swamps his rhyme.