PreS-- A variety of parents interact with their offspring and instruct them from daybreak to day's end in this gentle bedtime story. `` `Paddle,' said the swan in the pond by the sea. . . . `Sleep,' said the mother . . . and baby did.'' The soothing verse is accompanied by subtle, realistic watercolor paintings that suffer from unfortunate inconsistencies. While most animals appear in their natural surroundings, the dog family is pictured against a stark white background which has been cropped to eliminate the top of the mother's head. Dark outlines appear on the smaller animals, lending a cartoon-like quality which is out of character with the rest of the presentation. A wide band of solid color stretches across the bottom of each double-page spread which weighs down the activity in the text and illustrations. Despite these design flaws, this is a worthwhile selection to share with babies and toddlers, both individually and in small groups. --Starr LaTronica, North Berkeley Library, Calif.