FAERIES, described and illustrated by Brian Fourd and Alan Lee, edited and designed by David Larkin (Abrams, $14.95). This fey catalogue glides through the fairy population (the creatures and their legends), and finishes up, appropriately enough, with the haunting ballad of "Tam Lin," which tells of a mortal damsel courted and won by the Queen of Fairies' "bonniest knight." The ethereal portraiture by two popular British fantasy artists guarantees that Faeries will be as great a success as the same publisher's runaway hit of last Christmas, Gnomes. Froud and Lee's stylistic debts are, of course, enormous: to Rackham, Richard Dade, Willy Pogany, the pre-Raphaelites Waterhouse, Millais, and Burne-Jones. And it's quite possible that many people's own concepts of fairies are unlike any of these (for example, those who have read Arthur Machen's sublimely ominous tale of fairy malevolence, "The Novel of the Black Seal"). Fairy followers of simpler taste will want to look for Nancy Arrowsmith's and George Moorse's A Field Guide to the Little People (Pocket Books, $3.95), which has black-and-white sketches by Heinz Edelmann (of Yellow Submarine fame) that are less cloying and leave more to the reader's imagination.