The latest of Yolen's remote, complacent fables concerns a sultan who decrees perfection everywhere. When a real tree isn't perfect he has a symmetrical, unblemished one painted on his window. But this of course must be redone for every season, and when in summer the artist can't make one that will "bend and sway with the weight of its ripe fruit," a servant girl bares the window to reveal the imperfect but beautiful real tree. Thus the sultan learns what Yolen has yet to realize--that living and growing and changing is better than being perfect. Like the painted tree, the moral is unassailable but sterile. And though the flat, static formality of Garrison's Eastern-gingerbread decorations is intentional, that doesn't make them any more interesting.