An American folk song about a shepherdess, her young friend, and a flock finds new life in this debut picture book.
The shepherdess and her friend glide through golden fields and gaze over ocean cliffs in their joyful quest for a special family of sheep. While the ram with the ebony horns and the gold-footed ewe roam the land, the two girls collect daisy chains and dance to the music of the shepherdess’s flute. By the end of the day, they realize that what is most valuable is not the sheep but the time they spent together (“And if we / never find them / I shan’t care, / shall you?”). Lush, impressionistic watercolor landscapes illustrate each line of the simple 1916 song by Eleanor Farjeon. Though the colorful paintings clearly complement the idyllic tone of the story, many panels are blurred and distorted as a result of lackluster production. Cobb’s delicate palette at times appears muddled and indistinct. The author includes an expanded narrative inspired by the song (giving names to the characters), but its placement at the end of the book, without illustrations, makes it feel out of place. Still, Cobb’s companion recording, with soaring operatic vocals backed by a gentle flute and piano arrangement, fully evokes the innocence and serenity of this rustic tale.
An earnest, if unpolished, rendition of a folk song with a strong musical accompaniment.