Careful What You Wish For! Rabbit's Snow Dance by Joseph and James Bruchac
LONG AGO RABBIT HAD A VERY LONG, BEAUTIFUL TAIL.
BUT EVEN THOUGH HIS TAIL WAS LONG, HIS PATIENCE WAS SHORT.
You see, Rabbit was gifted with great big, showshoe feet, and in winter when the snow was very deep, he could jump up to the spring buds sleeping on all the branches and make a fine meal of them. Rabbit prefers the buds above all other foods. But in summer, when there was no deep snow, he can't quite leap high enough to get all he wants.
All the other animals are quite pleased with summer, but Rabbit is too impatient to wait for the changing of the seasons.
"I WANT IT. I WANT IT. I WANT IT... RIGHT NOW!" HE WOULD SAY.
AS EVERYONE KNOWS, IT'S NOT SUPPOSED TO SNOW IN THE SUMMER.
RABBIT, THOUGH, WAS IMPATIENT.
"I WANT SNOW. I WANT SNOW. I WANT SNOW!"
Now, in addition to his long tail, Rabbit is gifted with a special drum and some magical words, and he is not afraid to use them to get what he wants when he wants it.
I WILL MAKE IT SNOW!
AZIKANAPO! AZIKANAPO! AZIKANAPO!
YO YO YO!"
Although Rabbit knows that what he is doing is wrong for the season, he continues to beat his drum and chant, and sure enough, snow begins to fall on the summer woods. Rabbit keeps it up despite the warnings from Otter, Chipmunk, and Squirrel that bringing snow too soon is going to end badly.
As the snow piles deeper and deeper over the grass, Rabbit is soon gorging himself on the tender leaves and buds, and when the snow reaches the upper branches, he is too full and too tired to keep up his chanting, so he falls asleep in the treetops.
But Rabbit doesn't control the sun, and when the summer day breaks the next day and the sun's heat reaches the snowfall, it begins to melt quickly, so fast that when Rabbit wakes up, he finds the deep snow gone and himself high and dry in the tiny branches at the top of a tree. Now, Rabbit is a great jumper, but he is not a great climber like Squirrel and Chipmunk, and when he tries to get down, his big feet trip him up, and he falls down, down, down, through the branches he has stripped, leaving tufts of his glorious tail behind him. By the time he hits the ground, his tail is tiny and his proud willfulness has shrunk as well.
TO THIS DAY, RABBIT HAS A SHORT TAIL.
In his latest, Rabbit's Snow Dance (Dial Books, 2012), Joseph Bruchac shares his considerable skills in translating Native American folklore into the modern idiom, assisted here by son James and by artist Jeff Newman, whose angular, modernistic cartoon illustrations bring the point of this porquoi (why) story home to roost. As many another cautionary tale from many cultures teaches, "be careful what you wish for" (because you might get it!). Bruchac is the master of the "It's not nice to mess with Mother Nature" tale, as many of his popular folklore stories show.
Modern kids will love chanting Rabbit's toddler tantrum lines along with the book, but will also get the theme behind this seasonal snow story. As the Rolling Stones told us, "You can't always get what you want!"