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Anthony Browne. Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-679-81029-2

``On Thursday morning at a quarter past ten, Joseph Kaye noticed something strange about the kettle,'' reads the intriguing first line of this imaginative picture book. Joseph's father tells his son that ``things were going to change,'' and Joseph watches as the teakettleok turns into a striped cat, the spout of the sink becomes a nose, a soccer ball loses its spots and hatches a bird. Without alarming the reader, Browne ( Willy the Wimp ; Gorilla ) continues the ominous--and humorous--panorama of changes until Joseph's parents return and introduce him to the change his father meant in the first place: his new baby sister. In less skilled hands, the simple device of the transformation of ordinary objects might grow tiresome, but youngsters have learned to expect the unexpected from Browne, and will not be disappointed as Joseph's anxieties are resolved satisfyingly. Browne's illustrations are witty and distinctive, and observant readers will especially enjoy Browne's sly allusions to popular culture and famous works of art. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)