Twenty mischievous, eccentric, devlishly independent females--ranging from Laura E. Richards' ""Harriet Hutch"" (""Harriet Hutch,/ Her conduct was such,/ Her uncle remarked it would conquer the Dutch;/ She boiled her new bonnet,/ And breakfasted on it,/ And rode to the moon on her grandmother's crutch"") to the anonymously celebrated ""Queen Nefertiti"" (""Her voice is thin/ As the ghost of bees;/ She will crumble your bones,/ She will make your blood freeze""). All are depicted with style and roguish assurance in Evaline Ness' clay colored woodcuts. The few disappointments--Myra Cohn Livingston's lame ""Pandora"" and Gertrude Stein's ""I Am Rose,"" where the too literal illustration is the let down--only remind you of the aptness with which Ness pegs Ogden Nash's ""Isabel,"" who eats a bear and drinks a witch with pug-nosed dispatch. . . . Hilaire Belloc's naughty Victorian ""Rebecca Who Slammed Doors for Fun and Perished Wickedly"". . . Nikki Giovanni's ""Flora,"" touchingly imperious in her fantasy. . . or Ivy O. Eastwick's dustcapped housemaid ""Mary,"" found sitting on the garden bench grooving on the sound of a bird. Zippy.