Five picture books worth a look; The Little Humpbacked Horse, by Margaret Hodges. New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux. $9.95

In this once-upon-a-time-long-ago Russian fairy tale, Ivan the Fool proves that honesty and goodwill triumph over wickedness and deceit. When his older brothers fail, through laziness, to discover what is trampling their father's wheat field, Ivan is sent to watch. He finds the culprit is a beautiful white mare with a golden mane. She gives Ivan her three colts in return for freedom. He sells two of them but keeps the third, a plain little humpbacked horse who turns out to be very wise. With its help, Ivan the Fool becomes Ivan the Tsar and wins the hand of the beautiful Tsarevna.

Lovely pictures by Chris Conover enhance this simple, yet grac efully told story.

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