The Snow Bunny
By Susan Bruck
Once upon a time, out in the forest, there lived a family of bunnies. There was Mama and Papa Bunny and four little ones. Josie was the oldest, then Paullie and Rickie and the littlest one, who was just called Baby. They had a fine home in the roots of an old oak tree. There was plenty of room for the growing bunny family, although mostly they all liked to be close together, especially when it was cold outside.
It was winter and when Josie, Paullie, Rickie and Baby woke up, the world was covered with white fluffy snow. Josie was the only one who remembered snow from last year, but she thought it was just as magical as the littler ones did. The sun sparkled on the white coldness as though the ground was covered with crystals.
“Mama, Papa, can we go out and play?” All the bunny children hopped around their parents, talking all at once.
“Yes, of course,” said Papa.
“But first you must eat some breakfast,” said Mama. “I made some carrot porridge.”
After they ate, the bunnies all ran, helter-skelter, out the door. Since they were bunnies, they already had on their nice warm winter coats. They did wear the scarves that Mama and Papa had knitted for them—a red one for Josie, a green one for Paullie, a blue one for Rickie and a stripey one for Baby. All of their favorite colors, except for Baby who was too little to have a favorite yet.
Baby stopped as soon as his feet touched the snow.
“It’s cold on my toes,” he said.
“You’ll get used to it. Come on, let’s play.”
The bunnies hopped all around as fast as they could until the snow all around their tree was covered with little paw prints.
Then they made snowballs and threw them at each other. That was fun! The snow was perfect for packing.
“Let’s build a snow bunny,” said Josie.
“What’s that?” asked Paullie and Rickie together.
“A bunny made of snow.”
They didn’t understand, but they helped Josie roll up big balls of snow and she showed them how to make a snow bunny. Mama even gave them two carrots for ears and Baby dug some stones out of the snow for eyes.
“Come play with us, Snow Buddy,” said Baby.
“It can’t play with us. It’s made of snow,” said Rickie.
“But that’s a good name,” said Paullie.
Then it was time for supper. Baby kissed Snow Buddy good night and they all went inside. They had carrot soup for supper and they all slept well after playing in the snow all day.
Josie, Paullie, Rickie and Baby woke up the next morning ready to play in the snow again.
Baby wanted to bring Snow Buddy some carrot porridge, but there was none left. Papa said that snow bunnies liked to eat snow ice cream, which you made by putting snow in a bowl and mixing it with a spoon. They took a wooden bowl and spoon outside because Baby insisted, “Snow Buddy’s hungry.”
But when they got outside, it looked like snow buddy had already eaten, because he was ten times as big as he had been the day before. The children danced around Snow Buddy. Josie, Paullie and Rickie slid down Snow Buddy’s back while Baby made snow porridge.
“Here, Snow Buddy, eat up. Yum, yum!” said baby. “That’s a good bunny.”
Then the most amazing thing happened.
“Thank you,” said Snow Buddy. “That’s the best snow ice cream I ever ate.”
Then he started to stretch. Josie, Paullie and Rickie all tumbled to the ground. But they weren’t hurt because the soft snow broke their fall.
“Come on, guys,” said Snow Buddy. “I’ll take you for a ride.”
The little bunnies scrambled onto his back and helped Baby get on, too. But they kept sliding off.
“I know what we can do,” said Josie. “Everyone give me your scarves.”
She tied all the scarves together and wrapped them around Snow Buddy’s carrot ears, which were now humongous, and it was long enough so they could all hold on.
Snow Buddy could run really fast, and as he careened here and there and everywhere, the children flew from side to side, holding onto the scarf and screaming with joy. Snow Buddy went up the big hill. They could see the frozen brook from there. Snow Buddy took them down there and they all got off and held on to the scarf. Snow Buddy pulled them like a horse and they slid along. It was the most fun ever. They could see the little fishes frozen in the water and the rocks on the bottom. They flew like the wind.
But days are short in the winter, and all too soon, it grew dark.
“I’m hungry,” said Paullie.
“I’m tired,” said Rickie.
“I want to go home,” said Josie.
“What’s home?” asked Snow Buddy.
“It’s where we live. In the big tree,” explained Baby.
“Oh, I remember,” said Snow Buddy. “Where is it?”
But no one knew how to get back. The little bunnies had never been so far from home before. Even with their warm winter coats, they were getting cold.
Paullie started to cry and Rickie joined in.
“Don’t cry,” said Josie. “We’ll be ok.”
But she wasn’t so sure. They watched the moon rise. It was just a sliver. The stars came out, too. The sky was covered with a blanket of sparkling white just like the ground. The world felt very big. They huddled together, except Snow Buddy, for warmth.
Then they heard something. Could it be? It was!
The sound grew louder. “Josie, Paullie, Rickie, Baby, where are you?”
It was Mama and Papa.
“We’re here, we’re here, we’re here, we’re here!” the little ones shouted.
Soon they saw Mama and Papa. They were pulling a sled. Hurray!
They all hugged each other.
“We thought you might have gone for a ride on the Snow Bunny,” said Papa.
“Snow Bunnies are a lot of fun,” said Mama, “But they’re not very good with directions.”
“Good thing they have big footprints that are easy to follow,” said Papa, scratching Snow Buddy behind his very large carrot ears.
Mama and Papa bunny settled their children on the sled and tucked them in with lots of blankets. They gave them some carrot cookies and hot carrot cider. Snow Buddy offered to pull the sled, so Mama and Papa tied the scarf rope from Snow Buddy to the front of the sled.
Then Mama and Papa climbed onto Snow Buddy’s back. Mama held onto his carrot ears and Papa held onto Mama. It didn’t take that long for them to get back home, but Josie, Paullie, Rickie and Baby were sound asleep well before they arrived.
Mama and Papa tucked them into their nice warm beds and put the sled away. Then they went back out into the starlit night and Snow Buddy took them for a ride.
There’s something magical about new fallen snow, especially in the woods. Even the city looks like a magical place with a new coat of snow. This hasn’t been a very snowy winter here in Chicago, at least not yet. But I still love the snow. I remember the wonder of waking up to a world transformed to sparkly white and not being able to wait to got outside and play. I still love waking up to a pristine white day. And the world seems so quiet just after (and during) a snow.
I hope you enjoyed this story.
Thanks for stopping by!