Nine of the more familiar fables in gracefully phrased, slightly expanded versions that incorporate the morals in their amusing dialogue. Effectively employing a familiar framing device, McClintock sets the stories on a stage, with the jaunty stock characters in Victorian costume; the fashionably dressed crane, the raffish fox, and some of the others appear in more than one story. A last page reveals that the ""animals"" are children equipped with elaborate masks. In McClintock's skillful pen drawings, the vigorous, delicately delineated figures are vibrant with character; these subtly colored illustrations are a rare blend of drama, comedy, and exquisite detail. Even the format, with its generous white space and classically elegant type, is outstanding. A delight.