Eighteen verses (""Once I was a little cow, baby cow, little cow. Once I was a little cow. MOO, I fell asleep""--each verse identical except for mentioning a different animal) provide a vehicle for some of Lobel's loveliest pen and watercolor artwork since On Market Street. Even before the title page, Lobel sets the scene (literally: each page is framed in night-dark curtains studded with stars) with a pair of views of a rustic cottage at sunset and moonrise. Then come her variations on tho verses' limited theme. Each full page includes a small creature comfortably tucked in with a toy version of itself, mother and father watching over from a headboard inset, a family portrait, a heap of cleverly titled books, and a wealth of appropriate decorative detail (the wallpaper is delectable). Last come boy (theme: ships) and girl (theme: Cinderella; but she has a book on motorcycles) and a recapitulation with music, as bland and soporific as the verse. A nostalgic visual paean to the nuclear family, to be pored over and shared.