Rabbit’s Snow Dance

James Bruchac, Author, Joseph Bruchac, Author, Jeff Newman, Illustrator
James and Joseph Bruchac, illus. by Jeff Newman. Dial, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8037-3270-4
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The father-and-son storytelling team behind Raccoon’s Last Race and Turtle’s Race with Beaver return with their version of a traditional Iroquois tale. While the Bruchacs reach back hundreds of years for the source of their story, Newman’s influences are comparatively modern—think Mary Blair with a touch of Hanna-Barbera. Set back when Rabbit had a “very long, beautiful tail,” the story follows the selfish, impatient animal’s attempts to conjure a massive midsummer snowstorm (rabbit’s big snowshoe-like feet allow him to hop atop the snow and reach “tasty leaves and buds” more easily). His chanting and drumming do the trick, creating so much snow that it covers the treetops and causes difficulties for the small animals; the summer sun that rises the next day, however, brings about rabbit’s comeuppance and costs him his tail. Rabbit and the other animals don’t always look consistent from page to page, as though Newman couldn’t quite settle on a style, but his paintings are nonetheless a welcome departure from the stodgier artwork that can often accompany myths and folk tales. Ages 3–5. (Nov.)
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