Amiable Mr. and Mrs. Muddle (horses) love each other dearly, but have one problem: he can't abide cars (""They smell. . .They make noise. They go too fast""), and she loves them (""They smell good. . .They make nice noises. And they go very fast""). Seeking a compromise, they try a canoe in their local puddle and--once they learn that both must paddle lest they go in circles and that they must meet each other halfway if they want to be together after a spill--both are happy. Hoberman's deft use of language extends even to her chapter headings: ""The Riddle,"" ""The Middle,"" and ""The Puddle."" Her dialogue is full of warmth and wry humor, well matched by the wit and charming detail in O'Neill's delicious illustrations. From the first glimpse of the couple sleeping in blissful disarray in a lopsided bed, this strong-minded but affectionate pair and their antics are entrancing Mr. Muddle and a friendly duck share a newspaper (what headlines!--""Bad mouse reforms""; ""Siamese twins reunited"") in a bathtub; Mr. Muddle hugs his wife, saying, ""Nobody is perfect, but it's nice to come close""; and there's a connubial kiss in the canoe, while paddling, that could only happen between two long-nosed horses. Delightful.