A disappointing hodge-podge of ""unnatural history"" that is digressive, disorganized and irrepressibly chatty. Mr. Krutch's selection rounds up animals of the imagination but the general characterizations and suggestions for possible sources are neither as authoritative nor as thorough as Georgess McHargue's The Beasts of Never (1968, p. 609, J-241). Unlike the latter, however, this is not limited to all-animal animals, so mermaids and werewolves are included as well as the unicorn, phoenix, dragon, and basilisk. But the salamander also appears--because of its imaginary association with fire--and so do several figures of speech--crocodile tears, swan song, etc. And the dolphin gets a complete chapter because the ancient stories were unjustly discounted when mermaids were shelved. There are better fish in the sea.