At the very earliest easy-reading level, these four short, simple stories feature a cast standard to the genre: two animal friends who behave so foolishly that any four-year-old can feel superior. But the examples of the folly of Big Hoot and Little Hoot, two owls who fly in the daytime, are so rudimentary and one-dimensional as to be little more than extended one-liners, without even a punch. (Instead, all are appended with babyish, rib-poking commentary.) Going out, telescope in hand, for a mouse to eat, Little Hoot returns by mistake with a stone (""But he can't eat a stone! He'll see!""); seeing a red kite land in a tree, he and Big Hoot mistake it for a dangerous big bird (""But . . . you know what it is, don't you?""). The two follow a gull to sea but return to the woods when they learn that the food there is fish, not mice (""You knew that all along, didn't you?""); and, observing children playing hide and seek, Little Hoot hides on the other owls--but, as ""They did not know Little Hoot was playing hide-and-seek, he was playing. . . all by himself."" ""Little Hoot is silly,"" each volume repeats, and Blanc's monotonous, comix-style drawings of blobby, egg-shaped owls in funny hats adds nothing to that characterization. From a first-rate writer for older children, a misdirected effort.