From the distinguished Italian scholar and novelist (The Name of the Rose), two fables concerning war, peace, and coexistence. In The Bomb and the General, the atoms in stockpiled bombs realize their role--to destroy the world--and rebel against it. After all, all things--moms, milk, air, fire--are composed of atoms. So the atoms escape and hide in the cellar; and when the war-monger general who has command over the bombs does declare war (necessary to his career), the populace is so surprised and grateful not to have the world blown up that they decide to give up war forever; the general (so as not to waste his uniform) becomes a doorman. The Three Astronauts--American, Russian, Chinese--arrive on Mars feuding bitterly, but realize their common humanity when confronted by a Martian. Then even the Martian is recognized as a fellow creature when he nurtures a bird. Carmi's illustrations, in mixed media and collage, are imaginative and striking, sometimes more suggestive than representational: the astronauts, for example, are shown as scraps of paper--yellow with a Chinese character, a bit of a Soviet newspaper in red, a gum wrapper. In spite of their heavy-handed didacticism, these are beautifully designed books that should provide valuable discussion.