Bruchac, James; Bruchac, Joseph. Rabbit’s Snow Dance. Illustrated by Jeff Newman. New York: Dial Books for Young Readers, 2012. ISBN 9780803732704
Rabbit’s Snow Dance is a colorful and fun retelling of the traditional Iroquois story, “Why the Hare has a Short Tail.” Rabbit always wants things right now. At the moment, he wants snow because he can leap on the snow drifts to get the leaves at the top of the trees. Even though it is summer, Rabbit sings his song and does his snow dance. Rabbit’s snow song (EE-OOO! Thump! Thump!) is repetitive and invites the children to follow along. However, Rabbit soon learns that not even a snow dance can change summer.
Newman’s watercolor images are just plain fun. While all of the animals look like cartoons, Rabbit’s design stands out. He looks more like traditional Japanese images of rabbits both in overall appearance and in a few very distinct poses.
While the book itself presents no backstory for the tale, on the blog American Indians in Children’s Literature (AICL), Debbie Reese has a long quote from Joseph Bruchac that will be printed in subsequent printings explaining where he learned the story. In it he reminds the reader that with oral tradition it is hard to pinpoint the origin of the tale and as people move to different regions, the stories may change some. (Bruchac via AICL, 2012)
This would be a great place to start a research project for myths that cross various tribes and how they change.
Booklist—“ An impatient fellow (with a long, luxurious tail), Rabbit wants things when he wants them. And right now he wants snow the fact that it’s summer notwithstanding…The telling is sprightly, and Newman’s ink-and-watercolor artwork, which has the feel of Asian brushwork, makes an ideal companion.”
Kirkus—“ 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.)”
Bruchac, Joseph. Debbie Reese’s American Indians in Children’s Literature. December 11, 2012. Accessed at http://americanindiansinchildrensliterature.blogspot.com/2012/12/james-and-joseph-bruchacs-rabbits-snow.html
Cooper, Ilene. Booklist. Dec 2012. (Vol. 109, No. 7). Accessed via CLCD at http://ezproxy.twu.edu:4529/index.php/jbookdetail/jqbookdetail?page=1&pos=0&isbn=9780803732704
Kirkus. Kirkus Reviews. October 2012. (Vol. 80, No. 19). Accessed via CLCD at http://ezproxy.twu.edu:4529/index.php/jbookdetail/jqbookdetail?page=1&pos=0&isbn=9780803732704