One Wintry Night, by Ruth Bell Graham. Richard Jesse Watson, illustrator. Originally published in 1994. 72 Pages.
This review is late, using our traditional Western calendar, and I am regretful that I forgot to post the review in a more timely manner. However, since Orthodox Christmas has yet to arrive and many people celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas which extend until January 5, this review is not as thoroughly untimely as it appears at first glance.
On Christmas Eve night, our family read this book together and it occurred to me that despite my intentions, I hadn’t offered reviewed this book as a wonderful addition to a family’s Christmas library. Despite the date, I’m offering it now.
One Wintry Night is the Christmas story, from Genesis to the Crucifixion, as told by a woman to a young boy who finds his way to her home after getting lost on his hike through the mountains near his home on a cold, wintry night. She begins the story by telling the boy that if the baby born to Mary was coming to “save His people”, then someone must be in trouble, and needs to be saved. From there, she goes back to Genesis and begins in the Garden of Eden.
Much like Adam and His Kin, which I reviewed some time ago, this book offers a loose dramatization of life in Eden, and in the life of the Biblical people whose narratives Graham touches on as she sets the stage for Christ’s advent into the world. Because it is a dramatization, she takes a few safe liberties. By safe I mean that while not found verbatim in scripture, the narratives she constructs are not in opposition to the tone and message of Scripture. However, her ascription of thoughts, feelings, and motivations of the Biblical protagonists are her own.
The illustrations in this book are striking, to say the least. Richard Jesse Watson’s beautiful work is a highlight of this book, taking it to a higher level of beauty and invoking wonder even for people like me who know the Biblical narrative well.
I highly recommend this book. If not for this Christmas, definitely for next. It is technically a children’s book but is enjoyable for people of all ages.
5 out of 5 stars.