Rabbit's Snow Dance

Joseph Bruchac, James Bruchac
A hip and hilarious fable perfect for wintertimeRabbit loves the winter. He knows a dance, using a traditional Iroquois drum and song, to make it snow--even in springtime! The other animals of the forest don't want early snow, but Rabbit doesn't listen to them. Instead, he sings and dances until more and more snow falls. But how much snow is too much, and will Rabbit know when to stop?This stylish and oh-so-funny story is a modern take on a traditional Native American fable from master storytellers Joseph and James Bruchac.


Reviewed: 2019-02-16

Rabbit's Snow DanceĀ  is pour quoi tale. It explains the origins of pussy willows. The protagonist, Rabbit, is selfish. It is his narcissistic attitude that causes him to lose his tail in the end. Rabbit's story tells readers and listeners that something is to be lost if we put too much focus upon ourselves. The plot is easy to follow for preschool and up, though preschoolers might have trouble understanding anything beyond the surface story. They will enjoy the motif of magical animals as seen in the rabbit who can make it snow, and the use of repeated language will grab young one's attention. This story could easily be read aloud with or without the book, if the presenter is comfortable with the story. I could see children gaining familiarity with the snow song over time and sing/yelling "EE-OOO! EE-OOO! YO YO YO! YO YO YO!" with the presenter as the story goes on.

The illustrations aid in the storytelling, but they don't all follow the same style. The first couple of images of Rabbit looks very stylized, as if mirroring a particular format and does not fit with the rest of the art in the book. Though, the art is intriguing and flows nicely with the written words, I cannot help but feel as if the art was made in at least three distinct sets. It is a shame because I feel that if the artist had stuck with one style, it would have really been perfect. A great aspect of the printed page is the type font that was used for Rabbit's singing. Not only does it successfully draw attention to an important part of the story, the lettering itself adds to the action and screams, "Look at me! I'm fun!"

The cultural specificity is hard to pinpoint, there are several Iroquois nations from which this story could originate. After reading some about Joseph Bruchac, I learned that in his other books of traditional literature he includes a page about the origins of the stories and gives information on how he learned it. Rabbit's Snow Dance does not include a page like that. I would have loved to learn more about this tale and been able to share that information from the book itself.

A great thing to note though is that he did write to Dr. Debbie Reese about the origins of the story, and the complete entry from American Indians in Children's Literature can be found (here).

Personally, I love this story, it's fun and silly. However, more than that, I love that it gives me an opportunity to share some American Indian traditional literature with young children outside of a history class.

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@rikikikitaco completed #rabbitssnowdance... on 2019-02-13
@rikikikitaco began #rabbitssnowdance... on 2019-02-13