cover image ONE WINTER'S NIGHT


John Herman, , illus. by Leo and Diane Dillon. . Philomel, $16.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-399-23418-7

In simple, evocative language, Herman (Labyrinth) dovetails two different yet parallel Christmas Eve journeys. A lost, pregnant cow named Martha searches through bitter cold and snow for a place to give birth. Simultaneously, an expectant Mary, with Joseph, also seeks shelter and a potential birthing place. By book's end Mary, Joseph and Martha find haven in a hay-filled shed and comfort one another during a night that brings a miracle and new life. Full-page watercolors awash in nighttime shadow and starlight focus mainly on Martha, while on the opposing pages small sepia-toned watercolor vignettes, resembling somewhat hazy woodcuts, follow Mary and Joseph. The art suggests a Northern farm rather than Bethlehem, but a hushed, solemn mood prevails. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)