From the Soviet illustrator of Romanova's Once There Was a Tree (1985), a collection of retold stories. ""The Nutcracker"" is adapted from Chappell's 1958 edition. Translators and sources are not given for the other stories--Cervantes' ""The Beautiful Kitchen Maid,"" Andersen's ""The Emperor's New Clothes,"" Pushkin's ""The Princess and the Seven Brothers"" (a Snow White variant)--but as adapted they might all have come from the same pen. George MacDonald's ""Little Daylight"" (which appears as a chapter in At the Back of the North Wind) has been cut by half and substantially retold. As MacDonald himself explained, ""he was somewhat indebted for this one to the old story of The Sleeping Beauty."" His elegant reworking was worth reading; this version is just another story that has been cranked through the same homogenizer. MacDonald understood that though the ""smaller children"" might not understand everything in a story, ""everyone has just to take what he can get."" Before taking up their shears, adapters would do well to remember that. Spirin paints in an elaborate Renaissance or Baroque style, with much skillful detail and decorative framing and borders. His opulent illustrations will doubtless please many; but, like these predigested stories, they have nothing new to say.