It's a rare book whose uniqueness works against it. Better known for her comic explorations of adult manners, Lebowitz (Social Studies, 1981, etc.) introduces us to the two very clever heroes of the title. Unfortunately, while narrator Mr. Chas is the type of child that adults suffer for the sake of his precociousness, children rarely do. The seven-year-old's verbosity is believable; it's just not likable, and readers older than he may put him down as a smartypants. Chas's propensity to teach dictionary definitions doesn't make him superior; it only makes him nerdy. (""I started to feel very slightly nervous, which means discombobulated in a more private and lonely way."") The plot, which seems incidental, revolves around two pandas discovered in the apartment of Chas's friend and neighbor, Lisa Sue, and the children's attempt to raise enough money to send the bears to Paris disguised as dogs. That and Graves's witty drawings serve as the basis for a decent picture book, if only the characters would talk less and say more. The best thing you can do with this book is read it to an adult; children are far too sophisticated to be taken in.