One Wintry Night

One Wintry Night

Book - 1994
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Retells the Christmas story in a contemporary setting, beginning with creation and closing with Christ's resurrection.
Publisher: Grand Rapids, Mich. : Baker Books, c1994.
ISBN: 9780801038488
0801038480
Branch Call Number: CHR/JENF/232.921/GRAH
Characteristics: 1 v. (unpaged) 29 cm.
Additional Contributors: Watson, Richard Jesse - Illustrator

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FindingJane May 26, 2015

This is a marvelous picture book and one I thoroughly enjoyed, in spite of my own agnosticism. As an old woman weaves the tale of the Bible from Genesis to the birth, death and re-birth of Christ to a spellbound boy, we the readers are also taken on this incredible journey.

But what lifts this book from merely rote rendering of a familiar story are the illustrations. They are simply gorgeous; there’s no other word that does them justice. The color spectrum is beautifully spread out in scenes of bucolic landscapes, animals and people, flora and fauna (the pages featuring the frog plague on Egypt have not one amphibian but many different types; it looks like something out of a National Geographic magazine). But black and white is impressively used as well—witness the two-page spread that shows the creation of light in the universe. It’s a stunner, one that ably captures the awesome majesty of this moment.

Sometimes, excess is avoided and the reader must fill in the gaps, as in the story of two floods. In one, we get not just the ark and the water but many of the marine creatures that must have been present—a detail that many people probably don’t consider but is a brilliant inclusion by the artist. In the other, we are limited simply to a splash of spray in one of the most realistic and artful renditions of water that I’ve ever seen. The naturalism of the liquid medium is rendered so well you almost expect the paper to be wet when you touch it.

As picture books go, this is one of the best. You can well believe the illustrator spent four years on its pictorial content.

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