With fairy-tale fragments, a noticeable feminist presence, and a few dips into humor to lighten its generally somber tone, the third entry in Yolen's fantasy anthology series offers a mixed bag of 34 stories and poems from veteran writers, such as Terri Windling and Tanith Lee, as well as newcomers, such as Michelle Stone and Jeremy Beckett, whose first published work appears here. Some selections skillfully combine the fantastic and the mundane. Nancy Etchemendy sensitively portrays the grim existence of a poor, hardworking woman whose lazy and self-absorbed husband and children make sure her home is no refuge -- not like the one carried on the back of the snail whose rich and peaceful life she experiences in her "Mollusk Dreams." Others retell established stories. For example, Beckett's "A Report Concerning the Predator Population in the Northern Part of the Forest" reruns the story of Little Red Riding Hood for laughs, although it fails to indicate why it does so. Occasionally, pieces settle for the improbable with only a smidgen of the fantastic, as when Susan Palwick imagines that "Jo's Hair," the mane Jo March sold in Little Women, finds its way into "harems and whorehouses, palaces and parades" before being reunited with her just before she dies. With the quantity and variety of its entries, this is more an assortment to sample than to devour whole.