Bill Grossman, illus. by Kevin Hawkes. HarperCollins/Geringer, $14.95 (32p) ISBN 0-06-028010-7

Grossman and Hawkes, the team behind My Little Sister Ate One Hare, serve up a collection of short verses about characters with silly names who meet equally silly fates, including the titular Timothy; Hannibal, who encounters a cannibal; and Harold B. Bound, whose eyeballs-well, never mind. Grossman's creations have the infectious jump-rope rhythm and tongue-in-cheek humor of classic nursery rhymes ("You're walking, old Ned/ With a horse on your head/ Why? That can't be much fun./ 'I'm walking,' says Ned,/ 'With my horse on my head/ Because I'm too tired to run'"). Many of the poems trade on anomalies like multiple noses and ballooning waistlines for their laughs. "Walter Lackwards/ Head on backwards/ Tripped on things he passed" starts one; others star characters skinny enough to slide down drains, or flattened by passing trucks into Frisbee-sized discs. Hawkes's full-bleed acrylics playfully exploit these oddball characters. His illustrations, peopled with pop-eyed, slack-jawed innocents who never know what is going to hit them next, provide satisfying visual counterparts for Grossman's topsy-turvy world. Kevin T. Moses, the man with all the noses, stumbles in pinstripes through a field of tulips, reaching for his Kleenex; John Paul Mullers, the victim of a paint explosion, floats crazily inside a carved wooden frame on a museum wall, as two bespectacled visitors peer at him. The happy combination of wildly exaggerated illustrations and cracked humor make this a promising read-aloud choice. Ages 3-7. (Mar.)