Mr. Minnikin, the candlemaker, allowed a mouse, a dog, a cat, a pig, a squirrel and a gull to live in the shed behind his house. The old man was gruff and off, but the six animals knew he would enjoy a birthday party. In order to obtain a candle each to go on his surprise birthday cake, they offer to tell him a story a night. The stories have to be in verse and the "animal decameron" begins with the gull -- "Once upon a long and winter wave/And me so done I would have shaved a stone for food". Each animal speaks out in a different form of verse that emphasizes the sense of character established for him in the prose portions. The at, whose every remark is a light spray of supercilious malice, tells her story and leaves the impression of a latter-day Mehitabel. The mouse tells of an adventure that was both brave and sly, and the dog has a marvelously funny incident re-ited deadpan. As the cat remarks "Not very pure poetry, but entertaining," and considerably above much that is being done for children. The author's way with words was established in Macaroon and this will enhance her deserved reputation for excellence, just as the illustrator's superbly decorative work here enhances ers.