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Caldecott Hopefuls: Rabbit's Snow Dance

A traditional Iroquois story retold by James and Joseph Bruchac and illustrated by Jeff Newman, Rabbit's Snow Dance (Dial, 2012) has a spot on the cover that seems ready-made for a Caldecott award sticker (one hopes): right there on Rabbit's drum. Newman's illustrations, rendered in watercolor, gouache, and ink, also have a sort of mid-century modern style that's maybe a little unexpected here (the PW review calls it "a welcome departure from the stodgier artwork that can often accompany myths and folk tales"): that's what I love about this one.

That and the Bruchacs' text [not among the Caldecott criteria, of course], which will have you and any little readers among you chanting "I will make it snow, AZIKANAPO!" right along with Rabbit: it's really a great read-aloud.

[For more on the story's sources, see this letter from Joe Bruchac at Debbie Reese's blog American Indians in Children's Literature; it will appear in subsequent printings. For more on Newman's illustrations, including storyboards, sketches, and finished art, see this post at 7-Imp (where else?). For more from me, I do think there is some inconsistency in the way Rabbit is depicted: sometimes more stylized, sometimes cartoonish, sometimes (as seen on the title page, and at right, falling from the tree) adorable. "AAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHEEEEEE!"]

Reader Comments (8)

I am a big fan of Joseph Bruchac and his family and I hope he gets a Caldecott. His work is so important in keeping Native American stories alive and vibrantly accessible to kids. This comment challenge by Mother Reader is great, by the way! It's nice to meet you!

January 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPragmaticmom

The art for this looks so fun! Definitely a fresh approach to the myth/folk tale genre. Adding it to my TBR list. :)

January 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMary

I love Bruchac's work! I hadn't heard of this book before, so now I'm going to have to check it out! I was introduced to both his work and Reese's blog through Rethinking Schools publications. What a great book for this time of year. I'm not teaching in the classroom anymore, but I'm going to have to pass this title along to my friends who still are.

January 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKatrina

Even though the Caldecott is an award for illustrations, the recognition would be great for the Bruchacs and for the book itself. Thanks, everyone--I hope you enjoy it!

January 16, 2013 | Registered CommenterAnamaria

I have not heard of this book at all, and it looks great. It's always amazing to me how much wonderful stuff is out there that I'm missing.

Though, to be fair, working in the public library, I'll see these books cross our shelves in another six months or so...

January 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMohterReader

A proud Mum recognizes this work of art!

January 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJudith Newman

It's gorgeous work, Judith! I especially love those watercolor washes. Thanks for commenting!

January 21, 2013 | Registered CommenterAnamaria

I think you would like it, Pam! It's a great read-aloud for the little ones who actually want there to be snow. [I'm sorry, your comment got trapped in my spam filter, or I would have replied earlier!]

January 23, 2013 | Registered CommenterAnamaria

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