Is a mundane, one-note rendering of this delicately poised story--half tragicomic bravery, half wistful longing--of any use at all? Whereas Marcia Brown's telling is artfully paced and meticulously worded (""Each soldier was exactly like his neighbor; there was only one who was a little different. He had one leg""), Galdone's--or who's ever it is--is absolutely flat. (""All the soldiers were alike except one. He had only one leg"") and thus both undramatic and insensitive. And whereas Brown's illustrations break down the action in order to convey the emotional content, Galdone gives us in each instance a scene--from the same perspective and in the same near-bright spectrum of colors. It's true that the Brown Steadfast Tin Soldier demands more imagination of the child, but Galdone's literalness is hardly the ticket here--especially when, at the close, he has the little dancer blown topsy-turvy into the stove. . . while Brown has her flying ""like a sylph"" as, looking into her eyes, the tin soldier feels himself melting.