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on December 14, 1999
This book shows the Bible to be one story...the story of a loving God saving a fallen people. It's a GREAT perspective. The illustrations are beautiful, and the story very well written. I read this to my kids every Christmas, one chapter per night...They're always begging for more! It's wonderful for Christmas, but the story is so much more than just a Christmas story! Highly Recommended!
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Zeb is a young mountain boy who is caught alone in a sudden snowstorm. He ends up taking refuge at a cabin his grandfather had helped to build many years before. The old woman living there shelters Zeb, who has a badly swollen ankle, while they are snowbound. To pass the time she offers to tell him the Christmas story. Such is the simple premise of "One Wintry Night," but Ruth Bell Graham tells about much more than the story of the nativity of Jesus.
I find it meaningful that before the story begins we read the first eleven verses of the gospel according to Luke. These are, of course, essentially the same versus that Linus recites in "A Charlie Brown Christmas," which certainly makes it one of the most recognizable Bible verses for young children. It ends with the declaration of the angel of the birth of a savior, and it is ultimately that aspect which Graham is trying to explain. After all, the whole point of the recitation by Linus was to explain to Charlie Brown what Christmas is all about, and this proves to be Graham's goal as well.
Consequently, the old woman in this story begins the tale with the creation of the universe, and she spends more time talking about the story of Adam and Eve than the story of Jesus, which is told from the perspective of a boy named Aaron and his little sister Anna. Zeb is used to underscore the lesson by asking questions that set up each part of the old woman's narrative.
Richard Jesse Watson provides the illustrations, which are beautiful but sort of unnecessary to the story being told (I actually found myself ignoring them the first time through the book simply because I was caught up in the story Graham was telling; but they are some nice illustrations here). The story has in-text citations for scriptural references, including one from the book of Micah, which is usually a good sign. "One Wintry Night" does a nice job of putting the Christmas story in a larger scriptural context, which should certainly be appealing to some parents looking for something along these lines for their children.
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on March 23, 1999
Everything about this book is lovely -- the story and the artwork. You could spend a long time just studying all the pictures. Ruth Bell Graham writes about a grandmotherly woman who offers a warm place for a child to get in out of a snowstorm. She opens her Bible and tells him a fascinating story that begins with creation and ends with the Resurrection. I purchase this book all the time to give as Baptismal gifts. I'd also highly recommend it for anyone sharing their faith with an adult who grew up Biblically illiterate. It's a fun, easy way to cover the basics in a way anyone can understand.
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on January 5, 2006
This is a great Christmas read that gives an overview of the gospel, from creation to Christ's resurrection. A boy is injured and must seek refuge with an older widow during a snowstorm. As he recuperates and waits for the storm to settle down, she tells him the story of man's fall and redemption through Christ Jesus.

This book does a good job of sticking to the true facts of the Bible without a lot of added fluff. I've read this aloud to my children a couple of times. It takes us a few sittings as it is fairly lengthy but it keeps them engaged.

The best part of the book is the illustrations. They are gorgeous! These are some of the most believable Biblical portrayals I have seen - not the stylized Italian sort or the comical characters which abound in Christian books for children. For instance, Adam and Eve are not lily white but look as if they could truly be the father and mother of us all. The portrait of Goliath is my favorite as he looks like a giant warrior might. His thighs are massive! And David is a young man, not a child, as Scripture would suppport.

I would only take issue with the picture of the angel guarding the garden of Eden. First, according to Genesis, there are angels (plural) placed at the gate. Secondly, although the American Indian woman is lovely, angels are only described as men and never as women in the Bible. Moreover, they always seem to invite dread (first words from angels are typically, "Don't be afraid") so I think a pretty angel lady is somewhat unlikely.

I highly recommend this book as a lavish picture book to be read at Christmas, or any time of the year. It helps children understand why the birth of Christ matters to them.
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on April 5, 1999
I was first drawn to One Wintry Night by the illustrations, which are amazing. Realistic pictures give a younger child a lot to look at while you are reading the story. Once I started reading the story I was in awe. Mrs. Graham retells the story of the bible in a simple but captivating way. It is easy to see the paralells that occur in the bible - the way God looked for someone to save His people repeatedly - ending with our saviour. The book intertwines the importance of not only the birth of Christ, but his crucifiction and resurrection. Mrs. Graham also writes wonderful cliffhangers from one chapter to the next which had my five year old begging to read more. This is definitely a book I will read over and over again and will recommend to my friends (or buy it for them!) This is a great way to help introduce a young child to God's character, the bible, and christianity.
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on November 3, 2006
I found my way to this book by accident in the form of a box of Christmas cards. I was shopping one Christmas season in a Christian bookstore I believe and came upon the most beautiful Christmas card I had ever seen in my life. The illustration was done by Richard Jesse Watson, and it happened to be of a shepherd boy bathed in the moonlight gazing at the sky. (entitled "O Holy Night") The detail was so realistic that it seemed as if I could reach out feel the roughness of his woven garments or pet the little lambs gathered around his bare feet. I felt as if I was there with him and all I had to do was look over my shoulder to actually see what he was looking at. It to this day takes my breath away. I bought the box with the intention of giving them to only the most special people in my life and saving a couple just to look at every Christmas.

After purchasing the cards and getting ready to send them out I noticed the caption on it saying that it was an illustration from this very book. I immediately headed back out the door to find it. I'm not sure what I expected the storyline to be of (not that it made a difference) because the cover art was so different from the card I'd bought, but once I saw it was written by Ruth Graham I knew I couldn't pass it up. The story about a boy who ended up having to stay at an elderly lady's home after getting stranded by a blizzard was sweet and endearing and I read most of it there in the store. The book, which depicts stories from the bible, meshes with the lush illustrations to turn out this highly acclaimed, award winning book.

I ended up purchasing at least 4 of them to give as Christmas gifts with strict orders to open immediately once the house is decorated for the season. All of the nativity (along with the other) illustrations make this book a pure slice of heaven. The richness and striking mood of every single picture is wondrous and fills me with more Christmas spirit than my heart can hold sometimes. I guess that's why I bought so many copies of it so I can share it with everyone I care about. Almost every Christmas I scan some of the illustrations to create my own Christmas cards for my friends making sure I tell them where the artwork comes from so they can pass this Christmas treasure on as well to their loved ones.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon December 16, 2014
If you are looking for a book to share with your family that shows how Jesus' birth ties in with creation and beyond then this is for you! I disagree that this book is just suitable for ages 4-7. This story is not only ageless, it is timeless and has become a staple here in our family during the Christmas season. In fact I think it is better for older children and adults as although there is some absolutely amazing artwork in this book which is also in the Kindle version, it is not a picture book as such. Way more writing than pictures.

Ruth Bell Graham managed to weave a story of sharing the Bible in a nutshell with the story of a young boy named Zeb, who gets injured and stranded at the old cabin his grandfather helped build way back when. With his sprained ankle and the fact that they are snowed in, Zeb cannot get back home and so listens willingly as the woman of the house tells him the "Christmas story".

You will read about creation. Noah, Abraham, Moses, Samson and more all the way through to the birth and resurrection of Jesus. Don't miss out on this one folks, it's a good one! The only thing I do not like is that it ends kind of abruptly without the boy getting home but the "real" story is completed.
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on July 22, 2014
I give this book to many families at Christmas time. Classic. Our family's favorite. The pictures in this book are so stunning, so beautiful, you can frame them and place on the walls around the house.
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on March 19, 1998
Ruth does a wonderful job telling the whole story.She has taken you back to the reason for Christmas . Yes Christmas is the birth of the Christ Child , But Ruth has gone to the root of it all!
Had there been no Creation, no sin ,no fall there would not have been a need for the Christ Child!
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on December 12, 2012
One of my biggest pet peeves about a traditional Christmas celebration is that Jesus gets left in the manger. In my opinion, the greatest gift of all is not a baby in a manager but that the baby grew up and shed His own blood on our behalf that we might be reconciled to God through Him. So I am absolutely in love with Ruth Graham Bell's Christmas book, One Wintry Night, as it tells the Christmas story beginning with Creation and ending with the Resurrection!
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