Who Will Make the Snow? written by Taras Prokhasko, illustrated by Marjana Prokhasko. translated from the Ukrainian by Boris Dralyuk and Jennifer Croft, and published by Elsewhere Editions.
Set in the woods and centered around a family of moles in their diverse community, readers will easily find any one of the woodland creatures delightful and relatable. The friendly and hospitable atmosphere, particularly at The Oak Café, adds to this ideal imaginary world.
Divided into seven chapters, the narrative recounts a year in the life of the mole family starting with the birth of twins, Crawly and Purl — the first female mole pup in the family. Although most of the characters are male, the females are portrayed strong and independent. The main example of this is that of Mama Mole. Without hesitation, she shoos the youngest ones into the care of the older siblings so that she can practice her double bass (or her language lessons, gardening, trampoline jumping, etc.). When the siblings protest with excuses most readers may have heard before themselves, Papa Mole gladly takes the twin pups into his pocket to join him on his daily search of newsworthy stories for The Daily Mole. Thus starts their adventurous life…
As a seemingly gentle story proceeds, significant events and challenges occur that show the animals’ resilience, courage, and camaraderie. When Papa Mole finds an egg and places it into the pocket with the twins, it hatches and pushes Crawly up and out. Consequently, Crawly will encounter birds later in the story with a certain level of reserve and stress. Purl, contrary to most moles, dreams of being a good swimmer. Despite determined practice, doubts arise until one day a mole from another family is spotted in the river. Without a second thought, Purl swims farther than she has ever before and drags the drowning mole to safety. Another incident occurs in winter when two hare siblings rush into The Oak Café to find someone to care for their newborn sister. As mother hares do, she had swiftly abandoned the leveret. Had it been spring, however, the usual time for hares to give birth, other hares would have taken up the duty to nurse it. Papa Mole decides to bring the leveret home to his family, but not before asking his mole children for their opinion. These and other scenes provoke conversations between the characters that could lead interesting discussions among readers.
The question with which the book starts and ends, Who Will Make the Snow?, prompts the greatest tension of the entire narrative. After waiting weeks past the expected first snow fall, the animals are eventually able to gather atop a snowy hill for a joyful day of sledding. Having each been told that it’s the heavenly moles, heavenly owls, heavenly beavers, etc. who turn as white as clouds and make the snow, a disagreement ensues until the oldest and wisest owl interrupts. His wisdom illustrates and underlines that no matter who we are, no matter the species, no matter our personal answer to the question, we are all right. We will all have our opportunity to make the snow.
From the whimsical text to the soft yet vibrant illustrations, this charming chapter book brings to life the Mole family dynamics, the woodland community, and seasonal changes. Who Will Make the Snow? would be a cozy addition to any family or classroom library.
In Who Will Make the Snow, mole pups are named by their most obvious trait at birth. Purl purred a lot. Crawly had crawled away! But the story also points out that their initial characteristic didn't keep them from learning and growing in other ways.
If your family had named you by a trait you showed as soon as you were born, what would your name have been? On a piece of paper, write that name along the top. Then write underneath all the other traits and skills you have grown to have as well. Decorate the paper with drawings or stickers or collaged images from magazines, anything you’d like.
Celebrate who you are by hanging your creation somewhere special to you... and imagine how you will grow and learn in years to come!
Imagine living in the woodland with the mole family and all the creatures…
As a class or with a group of friends, let everyone pick a character to portray, including a narrator. As one person reads the story, the other friends can act it out and repeat the different dialogues.
Imagine voices for each character, how they walk or move, how they interact alone and with others. Imagine putting on this play for other friends or family. What costumes would you need? What scenery or props would add to the telling of the story?
Imagine how much fun that would be!