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David Macaulay. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $15.95 (64pp) ISBN 978-0-395-52436-7

In nine brief ``chapters'' energetically telegraphing seemingly disparate adventures, Macaulay comments wryly and wittily on happiness, happenstance and storytelling itself. Albert and his horse, June, travel to the weekly market to sell melons-their trip seems unremarkable enough, yet their simple acts, such as tossing a coin over a bridge for luck or untying a rope that blocks the road, set Macaulay's tiny clockwork universe into motion. Only the vibrant, hilariously detailed illustrations connect Albert and June's trip to the vignettes related in subsequent chapters. The rope that Albert removes, for example, unmoors Professor Tweet's hot air balloon; as Tweet drops ballast to avoid crashing into a town, he capsizes Bob's rowboat below; what Bob discovers as he splashes to the bottom of the river brings the tale back full circle to Albert's tossed coin. As in the author/artist's most recent books, he plays with nonlinear storytelling, looping the chapters in and out of sequence and overlapping the tales in unexpected ways. His illustrations, alternately recalling the vertiginous views of Cathedral and the inspired silliness of Baaa, make a perfect marriage of comedy and chaos. All ages. (Sept.)