Eve Rice's direct pipeline to the small child's sensibility is as evident as ever here; but this time, more artfully, her hero is the inner child disguised as responsible grownup--Sam the zookeeper, who has the job of feeding the animals every day at three o'clock. Through bracing, uncluttered scenes in flat clear colors, we follow Sam on his rounds--with bananas for the monkeys, red berries for the bear, a fish for the seal ("" 'Deliciously good!' barks Seal""), a wittily stylized stream of them for the hungry crocodiles. . . . There's a worrisome moment when Sam goes off with an empty wagon and leaves the elephant, looking hurt and just a shade reproachful, unfed. But of course it's just that the elephant needs a wagonful of hay all his own. For of course Sam, who's rewarded with a grateful, gratifying trunk hug, ""never, never forgets."" Rice's zoo creatures are at once task and taskmaster, real animals with feelings, and elements in a spiffy visual design. And Sam--Sam is triumphant.