ONE WINTRY NIGHT by Ruth Bell Graham


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Handsome packaging wraps this long but readable account of the story and meaning of Christmas, as told by an old woman to a young boy during a snowstorm. She summarizes Old Testament events up to the Babylonian enslavement, explains that God waited to send a savior until the Romans built ""good roads and strong ships"" that would make spreading his message easier, then comes up with the characters of Aaron and Anna, two Bethlehemites who witness Jesus' birth as children and his crucifixion as adults. Readers will find the language easy and the progression of events coherent, though some of Graham's elaborations--such as the Aaron and Anna characters, or the story of Adam and Eve, in which the two eat fruit of the ""Testing Tree"" and become the ""world's first homeless people""--seem patronizing. Printed on smooth, creamy stock, the book has a sumptuous feel. Watson's paintings add plenty of drama; minutely detailed, exactly rendered flora and fauna explode from the margins inward, and extreme closeups--Moses confronting Pharaoh, or the face of one of Daniel's glaring lions--bristle with tension. For some readers, Graham's first children's book will be a gratifying alternative to the plethora of Christmas books that either avoid mentioning Jesus entirely or explain his birth and death in heavily devotional terms.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1995
Page count: 72pp
Publisher: Baker Book House