A splendid collection of 34 stories, many of them excerpts from familiar children's books by such favorite contemporaries as Byars and Cleary and from classics like those by Twain and T.H. White. The book starts with an all-time winner that also illustrates a problem: Fudge swallowing the turtle in Blume's Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing is not quite as funny taken out of context, although it is still funny enough to whet appetites (if that's necessary!) for the whole (book, not turtle). The short stories (Kipling, Natalie Babbitt) stand better on their own; some nontraditional inclusions (Saki, Shirley Jackson) are among the best offerings. All are in the comic tradition, though there are more chuckles than belly-laughs here; more important, all have proven appeal, and most are of good literary quality. Though libraries already have most of these selections in other forms, Zelinsky's illustrations make it an essential library purchase--and a winning one for the home. Each of the soft black-and-white drawings, many of them full-page, is an inspired new slant on an old favorite, without intruding on beloved preconceptions. Full of the movement and tension born of masterful design, burgeoning with humor and delightful characterizations, they represent an unusual achievement in illustration. Even Zelinsky's Homer Price is a worthy rendition (though his reverential treatment here uncharacteristically lacks the vitality of the original). Grand for browsing, sharing aloud, or as inspiration for further reading.