Corky's Brother"" is a great story in a great group of stories, most of which are about some youngsters full of spunk and seltz in the schoolyards or on the sandlots of Brooklyn, though occasionally the scene shifts uptown and there are older, sadder people. Howie who introduces his friend Corky's brother (one Mel, a local hero who dies very young) reappears in several of these and also presents his friend Izzie, one of ingenious enterprise who doesn't make it; neither does the hunchbacked colored ""Luther,"" a known troublemaker who never straightens out. There's the very funny ""A Family Trip"" in which a just-deceased grandmother is propped into the backseat of a car for her final return to Kentucky while a father, a very intransigent guy on the end of any argument, refuses to pay the passenger fee for her at the toll booth. On the sadder side, the one-day ""Pass"" from a mental hospital in which a youngster listens to his mother's ""we certainly are glad to give up this little bit, this part of our time for our son"" or ""Finkel""--the adhesive superintendent who intones ""we are old men and we are Jews"" in the reluctant ear of a recently widowed and imminently emeritus Professor. . . . Some of the nicest writing about growing up absurd and askew and appealing in a long, long time.