These two short sketches don't amount to all that much on their own although their narrators' tone of precocious seriousness is an appealing reminder of Aleksin's Late-Born Child (KR 1971). The first, in diary form, reveals a Soviet schoolgirl's determination to devote her life to the career of her clarinetist brother; of course this ""selfless"" resolve soon twists into a plot to sabotage the brother's interest in an envied older girl but the diarist's self-deception is made continuously amusing. In the more insightful second story, a boy accidentally discovers the existence of his father's first wife and gradually develops a bond of responsibility toward the woman his cold and practical father has ""wisely"" set aside. Given both children's owlishness and the Soviet setting, the tales don't have great immediate appeal, but both make their point effectively and economically. . . still waters floating some modest truths.