A sometimes rhyming, mildly rhythmic, Christmas cookie--to be read aloud in a tip-toe voice, or not at all. A mouse alone in a house in the woods nibbles cheese and beeswax candles in the dark, wondering about the woods outside and wishing for a friend. Whereupon a cricket presents himself as one, according to a logic that is hard to follow: ""'Hello, cricket.' 'Hello, Mouse. I love to sing.' 'I love to nibble.' 'Good,' said the cricket. 'Then we can be friends.'"" At that, the mouse trembles all over, ""like a tiny tree in the wind in the woods."" By the end, the cricket's song has been answered by Christmas carolers outside. ""And--they all came in. Into the little house in the woods. . . . And she was not alone anymore."" With Stanley's whisper-soft pictures in perfect collusion with the words, a practiced piece of flimflam flummery--which some no doubt will find dear as can be.