DONALD DUCK, by Marcia Blitz (Harmony, $12.95). "Thank heaven for Donald Duck!" exclaimed Trevor Howard in Brief Encounter. And millions of fans have apparently agreed for some 45 years, ever since the irascible duck made his debut in one of Disney's Silly Symphonies -- The Little Wet Hen. Created as an outrageous antithesis to the lovable, but often dull, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck went on to become an institution in his own right, more individualized and more complex than the mouse that made Disney famous. Donald Duck's appeal lies in the contradictions in his character, the humanness of his rage and selfishness, shyness and determination, cunning and innocence. Marcia Blitz's 256-page "authorized biography" (complete with bibliography) has hundreds of pictures, many in color, and may tell more than anyone, except the most rabib Disneyphile, wants to know. But there is some interesting information here, particularly that on the evolution of Donald's character and Carl Banks' art in the Donald Duck comic books. Its effect is to make one long for the way we were, before the Incredible Hulk gave rage a bad name. The magic of disneyland and walt disney WORLD, by Valerie Childs (Mayflower, $8.98). This is primarily a picture book, with three pages of introductory copy preceding the living-color pictures -- they look like publicity stills -- of the two Disney theme parks. As a gift, it has the look of a souvenir and might be appropriate for someone who has just visited or is about to visit either place. Far more interesting would have been the story of how these never-never lands were created and how they are kept running day by day, so smoothly that their imitators seem poor substitutes indeed. Walt disney's snow white and the seven DWARFS (Viking Studio, $29.95). Once labeled "Disney's Folly," Disney's first feature-length animated film was immediately hailed by critics as "a classic" upon its release in 1937 and its then-36-year-old creator praised by Time magazine as "no more a cartoonist than Whistler." Time has done little to change that opinion. Students of the art of animation will be interested in the comprehensive material from the Disney archives, never before seen, which is arranged in the order of the story itself and shows the painstaking development of the film from storyboard sketches to screen. Included is an essay by Steve Hulett on the making of Snow White, a project that involved some 750 artists. The book's illustrations are exquisite but the typeface throughout much of it is annoyingly difficult to read. THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF DISNEY ANIMALS, by William R. Koehler (Howell Book House, $10.95). Children who love animals and such Disney films as The Shaggy Dog and That Darn Cat will enjoy these experiences of the man who served as Disney's chief animal trainer for 21 years. How, for example, does an Irish setter learn to feign unconsciousness or a spitting Siamese cat become friends with a bull terrier? Koehler's tales are simply written for the 9-to-12 set. The illustrations are in black and white. THE ILLUSTRATED DISNEY SONG BOOK, introduction by David E. Tietyen (Hal Leonard Publishing Corporation/Random House, $24.95). The first hit song from a Disney movie was "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf," a song which became a kind of rallying cry for a country reeling from the Depression in 1933. Latest hit song produced by the Disney Studio is debatable: Tietyen says it is "Candle on the Water" from Pete's Dragon, nominated for an Academy Award in 1978, but no Disney songs have enjoyed huge popularity since the several hits from Mary Poppins (1964) and "It's a Small World," written for a Disney exhibit at the New York World's Fair the same year. That may be an indication of some of the problems that have beset the studio since Disney's death in 1966, but the 81 songs presented here in easy-to-play piano arrangements are consistently delightful. Their message is consistent, too -- that dreams really do come true, as the song says -- and being able to play and sing them should bring pleasure to both children who've just seen the films for the first time and parents who remember when the songs were on the Hit Parade. Tietyen's introduction reminds us that it was Disney who was responsible for many of the techniques now used to synchronize music and film and that many of Disney's best scores produced no "hits" -- the 1935 The Band Concert, for example, in which Mickey Mouse conducts an orchestra in Rossini's William Tell overture only to be frequently interrupted by Donald Duck playing "Turkey in the Straw" on an unending supply of fifes. Arturo Toscanini saw the film six times and invited Disney to visit him in Italy. In short, if someone in your family receives The Illustrated Disney Song Book for Christmas, carols will be quickly forgotten.