Nancy Winslow Parker (The Man With the Take-Apart Head, 1974) gets it together in one of those sly but simple put-ons where the pictures poke fun at the brief, obvious text. ""I know you are going to love Elfreda,"" begins Uncle Clyde's letter, as Charlie uncrates his birthday gift from Africa to discover that those purple protuberances are the extremities of a hippopotamus. ""She loves children"" Uncle Clyde writes (and we see a pile of kids climbing all over her) ""and the water""--whereupon Parker's wiggy streak comes through with a close-up of a docile Elfreda floating along with a tug and a sailboat on her back and Charlie's smiling head in her mouth. Then come instructions for hex care, with the promise that ""she will reward you with hours of enjoyment""--as envisioned, playing backgammon on Charlie's bed and then, after the bed collapses from her weight, serving as a mattress herself while he watches TV. This might be less original than Parker's previous efforts but it's far more of a piece--with a clean, fresh look and immediate appeal.