Walk Shepherdess, Walk: A Sing-Along Book
Barrett Cobb-Illustrator and Performer
Dog Ear Publishing
Barrett Cobb’s childhood was filled with literature and songs. As a young child one tune stayed with her, almost as a lilting lullaby.
Eleanor Farjeon wrote both the words and melody which were first published in Nursery Rhymes of London Town in 1916 and adopted by the American Girl Scouts evolving the little tune into a folk song reflecting to the world a different time, place, and culture for most of the world.
As with most folk songs, throughout the years the song has been modified slightly with the tune and alternative words. This book focuses on the original version. The book is based on a basic three-versed four-lined poem. Some of the vocabulary could be difficult depending on the past experiences of the readers. The story was written with sheep wandering through the nearby hills and uses words, not always commonly spoken in today’s city culture. Some words need to be introduced such as shepherdess, ebony, ram, ewe, fleece, wether, and shan’t. The book explains that a wether is a lead sheep which could be compared to the game Follow-the-Leader. For many of us city people, this is a new word for most of us.
The music is beautifully performed by the author, Barrett Cobb and can be downloaded through the website listed in the book. The melody is an easy tune which quickly can be a haunting selection, staying with you for days. The simplistic tune is sung by Barrett, who has a beautiful, well-trained voice adding accompaniment harmonies, flute and piano into a memorable performance.
Twelve gorgeous watercolor paintings perfectly parallel the story in poem form as the story progressing reinforcing the poetic story. For young children, matching the text to the illustrations is so important with understanding the story and this book exemplifies this relationship.
After a few readings, it is easy for a young prereader or early reader to sing the melody as the pages are turned with the pictures reinforcing the words.
At the conclusion of the tale, a narrative explaining the poem assists in further demonstrating the theme being jealousy and how to appropriately recognize and turn this into a positive life lesson.
Barrett Cobb is a painter, singer, flutist and now a visual storyteller turning a childhood folk song is an enchanting life lesson for everyone.