Rural scenes at day’s end provide idyllic settings for a short classic poem.
De la Mare’s verse, running to just eight lines, is stretched over a series of views both broad and intimate of livestock, gently rolling fields, and distant hills—all depicted in warm golden tones and expanses of green beneath a red setting sun. Rabei extends the couplet “Old Rover in his moss-greened house / Mumbles a bone, and barks at a mouse” into a prolonged amble through the farmyard that gathers up dog, cat, a pair of young children, a piglet, and a flock of geese before the rodent quarry at last vanishes beneath a haystack. Later the children join their parents (the whole family presents white) in feeding the animals, and then all bed down cozily beneath a crescent moon that presides over an orange sky. Thinly applied colors give the tranquil scenes the look of rustic woodcuts, and if the poem itself seems a bit truncated for bedtime reading, its sonorous language harmonizes with the peaceful visuals to create an overall soporific effect.
Evocative, if only briefly. (Picture book. 3-5)