Old Washburn is a whittler and an eternal optimist. When his cow (""Blanche Wisconsin"") wanders off, he remarks that ""her milk never did make good cheese"" and fashions a drum from his milk bucket; the departure of his pig and chickens and the raccoons' depradations in his cornfield elicit equally cheerful reactions. Even when the wind blows down his cabin, Washburn sleeps happily beneath the stars and then whittles a fiddle from the pieces. The fiddle music draws his neighbors, who dance, join in on the rollicking tunes, and pitch in to rebuild his house; the animals, too, are lured back by the music. Martin's wry, nicely cadenced narration gives her tale a hearty folk-tale flavor. In her skillful watercolor art, Gaber (The Woman Who Flummoxed the Fairies, 1990) varies closeups that draw the reader right into the action with novel perspectives and, in the joyous dance scene, a sly reference to Matisse's compositions of circling figures. Entertaining, original, and beautifully produced.