By People Staff
December 19, 1977 12:00 PM

By Wil Huygen

The most charming picture book of the season is a “documentary portrayal” by Dutch artist Rein Poortvliet of the world of gnomes. At 275 years of age a forest gnome, for example, stands 15 centimeters tall (without his peaked red hat) and is in his prime. According to the book’s map, gnome territories are scattered all across the U.S. (two witnesses are required for an official sighting). Gnomes wear shoes of birch bark and rub noses as a greeting. Their sex organs are similar to humans’, and the male remains potent for about 350 years. Gnomes make ceramics, blow glass and give first aid to animals. Their children play with the winged seeds of the maple and pretend they are dragonflies. A gnome toilet looks like a jeweled throne. Only a black-hearted villain could look through these pages without falling in love with the tiny folks. (Abrams, $17.50)