Stiffly and stagily drawn and told, this tale of how middle-child Fred finds a comfortable place in nursery school is the very opposite of the sly, limber Cohen/ Hoban collaborations. But not only are there children who respond to Cummings' kind of strong, stylized visual statement, and Warren's kind of simplified, primerish prose; the unreality of the execution makes Fred almost a cartoon character, hyper-real and a hero. Big brother Sam is too much for him; he's too much for Baby Bob. But after some misses he makes a nice adjustment to nursery school--finally putting a band-aid meant for his own bruises on another boy's skinned knee. Where a direct, bilboard message is wanted, this could do nicely too.