Marcia Sewall is a canny illustrator with a knack for personifying the inanimate--as per The Porcelain Man--but what she has made of Lear's revolt of the Nutcrackers and the Sugar-Tongs is a work of unappealing art. In the flattish, broadly painted style that one associates with Alex Katz, in washed-out colors that approach grisaille (the figures are all in shades of gray), the nonsense takes on a somber, leaden cast that even the marvelous visages and the vitality of the movement can't overcome. When Tongs and Crackers are descending the stairs---fleeing the stuffy dining table for a horseback-ride to freedom--they have the glee, the amusing near-ghoulishness, of dancing skeletons. And the Spoons peering out of the lattice in envy, as well as much else, is reminiscent of Randolph Caldecott. With a lighter touch and a little sparkle this might have been an everyday pleasure and not a future collector's item.