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RABBIT'S SNOW DANCE by James Bruchac


retold by James Bruchac ; Joseph Bruchac & illustrated by Jeff Newman

Age Range: 3 - 7

Pub Date: Nov. 8th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-8037-3270-4
Publisher: Dial

A long-tailed rabbit who wants a nibble of the highest, tastiest leaves uses his special snow song in the summertime, despite the protests of the other animals.

The Bruchacs’ Iroquois pourquoi tale tells how selfish Rabbit, who is short on patience, simply cannot wait for natural snow, no matter that the other forest denizens are not yet ready for winter. Drum in hand, he sings as he dances in a circle: “I will make it snow, AZIKANAPO!” (It won’t take much coaching before listeners join in with this and other infectious refrains.) Like the Energizer Bunny, Rabbit just keeps going; by the time he ceases his drumming, only the top of the tallest tree is left sticking above the snow. Exhausted, Rabbit curls up on this branch and sleeps through the night and the hot sunshine of the next day, which melts all the snow. Stepping from his treetop, Rabbit gets a terrible surprise when he falls to the ground, his long bushy tail catching on each branch he passes and making the first pussy willows. And that is why rabbits now have short tails. Newman’s watercolor, gouache and ink illustrations are an interesting mix of styles. Some foregrounds appear to be painted in a pointillist manner, and some of the animals are almost manga-esque, lacking any shading in their sharp outlines and flat colors.

Kids who are looking forward to a snow day may give Rabbit’s chant a try, but hopefully, they will know when to stop. (Picture book. 3-7)