This is the sort of waggish, allusive children's story that you might expect from a CUNY English teacher, but that is not to deny the somewhat rarefied fun for its limited audience. The robbery--really a series of related offenses--occurs in the 18th century town of Jipswich, where the letter J is stolen from the town's name during a long rain storm and soon, as the _ipswitch _ournal notes, J's begin disappearing right and left until there's not one left to order bread and _am. But as every mystery story must have a sleuth hero, the noted lexicographer Dr. Johnson arrives with more J's up his sleeve than the townspeople have heard of (juxtaposition, jongleur, jubilation. . .) though he wakes up next morning as Dr. _ohnson. All he has to do is leave his J's lying round as a lure, and, by _ove--the culprit is unmasked as Uriah, the local umbrella maker, badly in need of handles because of the extended wet spell. With Dr. J. refuting the rain as he steps from the coach and his assistant Boswell writing down his every word, Moses is obviously playing to adult recognition, but we all know children who will pick up on the word and letter play. Levine's freakish caricatures, consisting of hasty lines and scribbly cross hatching, seem oddly static and peripheral to the narrative, though they are as literate as the text and wilder than either his N. Y. Review ones or Moses' more buttoned-up humor. Special.