"As a cautionary tale, the point seems belabored, though McCurdy's sprightly verse is imaginatively phrased; best are his lively illustrations with their angular human and animal characters, the dramatic black of the engraving tinted with softer color. (Picture book. 4-8)"
An accomplished wood engraver adopts the form and scenario of ``The Arkansas Traveler,'' writing a mostly new ballad with a more complicated plot: not only does the man's roof leak, but ``His house was a shambles, the porch almost gone,/The yard was a sight, but the man fiddled on.'' Several neighbors, amusingly depicted in McCurdy's vigorous art, protest and try to help, but in the end it takes a flood to tidy up—a flood that takes the old man with it but fails to quench his spirit: on the last page, he's glimpsed fiddling from ``beyond the next hill'' (apparently the next life).
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