An elegant Christmas greeting card of a book, inspired by Hardy's poem ""The Oxen."" In a poetic incantation, men and animals--including several hunters and their prey--hear a midnight message and wonder: ""Can it be tree?"" Even the general in his bed and the toy soldiers on the nursery floor hear the call that brings beasts and men (the ladies are curled up asleep on the endpapers) to the stable to kneel in amity and affirmation. Barrett's richly colored paintings are lovely in their very British detail, making reference to William Blake; in contrast, the stark white surrounding the text seems out of place, blank holes within the illuminated borders. The book does convey mystery and reverence, but is curiously open-ended: this Peaceable Kingdom seems like a mere dream--in the morning, the general will surely go back to his war, and the harpooner (who didn't quite make it to the manger) will resume his pursuit of the whale.