One Winter's Night

by John Herman, Leo Dillon, and Diane Dillon

Martha, a pregnant Holstein cow, struggles through a nighttime blizzard searching... read more

Martha, a pregnant Holstein cow, struggles through a nighttime blizzard searching for a protected site to give birth. “The snow hissed like sand across the frozen fields. It beat against Martha’s sides. It blew in squalls out of the darkened air.” A deserted and padlocked barn offers no refuge, and Martha plods onward until she reaches a small shed. Inside she finds warmth, hay, and two humans. Just like Martha, the human couple found shelter in the shed, and the young woman is also about to give birth. The familiar Nativity story and the addition of Martha’s journey are related in a lyrical text and masterful art. On each double-page spread, the parallel Nativity story unfolds with Martha’s tale is shown on the right-hand page in a luminous watercolor and pastel illustration, while the story of the human birth is depicted in a smaller sepia-toned vignette on the left-hand page. Fine writing and distinctive illustrations distinguish this new Christmas offering. (Ages 5–8)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2004

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