Thirteen Chinese fables, mostly with animal characters, each with a separately declared moral, even though characters have often reaped a lesson in the course of the tale (e.g., a phoenix scorns his singing teacher until he hears the teacher's farewell song and begs to be taken back as a pupil), and the morals--while related to the stories--don't follow as directly from them as Aesop's do (the moral for ""The Phoenix and the Singing Master"" is ""Learning is a lifetime venture""). Still, though less pungent than the familiar Greek fables, these make a thought-provoking contrast to them. Demi's intricate illustrations are delicate, precise, and highly decorative. On each left-hand page, a repetitive circular design frames a fable. These reiterations of the animal and botanical motifs in the stories are imaginative and quite lovely. Right-hand pages bear round, single illustrations; the reader is instructed to observe these in a mylar mirror provided on the front flap while ""reflecting"" on the stories' meanings; but although kids may be mildly amused at the interesting effects that can be achieved by bending the mylar, there are no surprises like those produced by, say, the anamorphic alphabet in Anno's Magical ABC. An attractive, useful collection.