McFarland's free adaptations are determinedly colloquial, and they shun the set-apart italicized morals that children sometimes resist. At times, though, these stories seem amorphous or lame, and at others the neat justice of the original situation is made slack by a bit of dialogue more grating than a moral-as-such. So the mouse boasts to the lion, ""See these teeth? They're useful for biting more than cheese""; and the tortoise taunts the hare, ""Well now, my slug, I think I'm ready to accept your congratulations and my newly won money."" It's true that the trimmer, classic manner that better suits the fables wouldn't suit Marshall's wiggy sketches--but McFarland hasn't Marshall's goofy humor either. Of course, his telling is sufficiently simple and down-to-earth to be assimilated by Marshall's very young audience; and the pitures imbue the poor dumb animals with a very human and intrinsically funny perplexity. But this is not the indelible first encounter the fables deserve.