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One Wintry Night

written by Ruth Bell Graham

illustrated by RJ Watson

HarperCollins/Thomas Nelson 2012

(1st Published by Baker Books, 1995)

ISBN-10: 1400321166
ISBN-13:978-1400321162

ISBN:0801038480

One Wintry Night was a labor of love on many levels.

Ruth Bell Graham created this unique version of the Christmas story with a distillation of Bible stories and themes beginning with creation and ending with the resurrection.

Richard Jesse Watson's detailed imagery lovingly illuminates the text. 

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Each illustration in this book has a story of its own. Watson took his family to the Middle East to do research for his illustrations.

Mary's dress, for example, was handmade and cross-stiched in Bethlehem by Palestinian Christian women.

The angel with flaming sword driving Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden was inspired when a forest fire forced the Watsons to evacuate their home in the woods.

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How does one portray the Great Deluge? Watson hints at the human suffering with the octopus holding a human skull. From the sea creatures' point of view it was business as usual.

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The confrontation:  absolute power and unfathomable wealth versus humility and faith. 

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Ruth Graham's living room where Jeb meets "the old woman" who becomes the narrator. 

Ruth and Richard exchanged dozens of letters trying to decode the many puzzles in book making.

Ruth wanted him to repaint a cat, because her cat wasn't so fancy, it was "just a Tomcat". He did so but then hid a cat in every painting in the book, as playful payback. 

Ruth's cat, Chester, (in the photo) admiring his portrait in the book. 

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To get you started, a few close-ups of some of the hidden cats in the book.

Also an example of how R.J. Watson hides his signature.

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Some of the foreign and special editions of this title.

Exquisite calligraphy by Connie Smiley.


Working tirelessly behind the scenes:

Agent, Stephen Griffith

Art Director, Don Aylard

Editor, Ray Seldomridge 

Consulting Designer, Joy Chu