Delphine is a child/earth-mother/superhero who lives atop a precipitous hill. A diminutive postman brings her a letter--Gram has sent a present, now at the post office. Accompanied by her two awe-inspiring beasts (wolf and lioness) plus her little guinea pig, Delphine makes her perilous way down the winding trail via baby carriage and a vine rope over a chasm, using her parasol to fend off lightning. The parcel is a bicycle. Though she is (preposterously, considering her recent exploits) scared about learning to ride it, she soon masters it well enough to get back up her mountain and write a thank you note to Gram. This is an extraordinarily imaginative book, full of exquisite visual detail from the gifted artist of The Grey Lady and the Strawberry Snatcher and The Paper Crane, and will probably provoke at least as much discussion as those earlier books. Delphine and her companions, as well as such carefully selected details as the delphiniums and sunflowers on her mountain, are of a heroic size that is at first disconcerting; but on rereading--and pondering the splendid, bright illustrations--they seem a glorious dramatization of the trepidation and triumph inherent in mastering any difficult task.