The First Snowflake
by Max Elliot Anderson
Buford Brown Bear awakened with a stabbing pain in his stomach. Oh, he wasn’t sick. It’s nothing like that. But Buford knew this day would not likely end well, at least not for him. And every year he expected the same thing to happen.
Buford had several friends who lived in the woods near him. Eddie was a bushy-tailed squirrel who happened to be the fastest climber Buford had ever seen. Eddie could race up the side of a tree before most of his other friends even thought about it.
One of his other friends, Chip, bragged about being the fastest runner in the forest. In fact, if that chipmunk were to take off running across a field, none of his friends could ever catch him. Certainly Buford couldn’t. Buford was about the slowest animal in the entire wooded area they called home.
But it was Randy who jumped the highest. Once he told Buford to clamp a twig between his teeth. Randy hopped back a few yards, turned around, and ran like a bullet toward Buford. The poor bear closed his eyes and hoped for the best. His other friends had to tell him that Randy leaped into the air soaring so high, he snatched that twig right out of Buford’s mouth.
So, before Buford bounded off to find his breakfast, he rubbed his tummy. It wasn’t because he was hungry, although he was. No, he felt that sharp pain again. Finally, he knew he couldn’t avoid facing his friends much longer. He threw off his covers, rolled out of his four-post bed, slapped his flat feet on the cold, dirt floor, and stood up to face the day.
Buford lived alone in a small cave formed where three big boulders had come together long before Buford was born. A round one sat on the left, another round one sat to the right, and a flat rock gave Buford his roof. These boulders stuck out of a small hill, which formed the back of his den. Fallen trees and other brush covered the front. In fact, if anyone were out hiking and walked right past Buford’s den, they’d never know it was there. He had the inside fixed up with cupboards, a table, and of course, that large four- post bed, because Buford was a big boy.
Before going outside, he stuck his head out to make sure no one saw where he came from. In the distance he heard Eddie and the others playing. Buford quickly slipped out the door and walked toward those sounds.
“Think you might win today?” a voice asked, followed by a grunt and a snort.
Buford turned to see Henry Hog chewing on something. He just shook his head.
“How come?” the pig asked.
Buford looked down at his feet. “Because I’m just about the slowest animal around.”
“Are not,” the pig answered.
Henry stopped chewing and walked toward him. “Lots of them are slower.”
“Oh, yeah? Name one.”
Henry thought and thought, and he thought some more. Then he said, “I guess you’re right, you are the slowest.”
“See,” Buford said. He walked away with his head hanging down. I’m so slow, I could never win the contest, he thought…
About the Story
In the contest to catch the first snowflake of winter – Buford the big, slow bear faces some stiff competition from the other more nimble woodland creatures.
You can read the full version of “The First Snowflake” and 29 other fantastic read-aloud stories inside Nerissa’s Celebration – Volume 3 in our Story-A-Day Literacy Initiative. The book is a collection of 30 stories (one for each day!) that promotes early childhood literacy through daily reading.
About the Collection
Nerissa’s Celebration is the 3rd volume in our Story-a-Day Initiative: a Literacy Program that drives progress through fun, compelling and affordable stories each and every day of the month. This collection includes stories about roly-poly fat cats and super-duper-staticy cats, dancing bears and piggy princesses, a boy with lead boots and kids who actually want monsters under their beds! And of course, there are dragons and a whole lot of other adventurous and exciting things hiding inside.
About the Story-A-Day Literacy Initiative
Reading to your child every single day from birth is the single-m0st important thing a parent can do to ensure that child’s success in school and in life.
The knowonder! Story-A-Day Literacy initiative supports those parents who have made that commitment by giving them a new story every single day, by making it accessible, and by keeping it affordable.
Click here to learn more.