ea. vol: illus. by author. unpaged. (Three Little Friends Series). (Margaret K. McElderry Bks.). Atheneum. Sept. 1985. pap. $3.95. Gr 1-3 Charlie Rooster, Johnny Mouse and fat Percy, a pig, who were so endearing in Friends (Atheneum, 1982; o.p.), are back in not-so-top form as they share some mild adventures. In The Alarm Clock , they borrow a clock so that they can stay up until midnight. They cavort around the farm until midnight, then set the clock for sunrise. Charlie is kept awake by the ticking, so he muffles the sound and oversleeps. The other two wake him; he decides that friends are more reliable than mechanical devices. In The Racing Cart, Johnny Mouse finds an old cart and insists on trying it first. The cart crashes, and he realizes that everything is better when friends do things together. Johnny and Charlie become jealous when Percy pays a lot of attention to The Visitor, a lamb, but they get to know her and seem to decide that she is their friend too. The books are attractive, with appealing watercolors, but they lack excitement. The vocabulary is too difficult for the younger children who might read them alone, but the stories are too boring to read aloud. The books are didactic and condescending; the lessons about the value of friendship are too obviously stated. Lobel's ``Frog and Toad'' series (Harper) and James Marshall's ``George and Martha'' books (Houghton) have more wit and less preachiness. Jean Hammond Zimmerman, Willett School Library, South River, N.J.