Written by David Walters
Illustrated by Elena Yalcin
Ellen and Wire Dog live in a part of the world where snow falls from the sky in winter. The first time Wire Dog saw snow falling he got pretty excited. Wire Dog barked at the big fluffy flakes that drifted down through the air and landed on the ground. He tried to bite at them in the air as they fell and Ellen tried to catch them on her tongue.
After a few days there was a thick layer of snow on the lawn in front of Ellen’s house. But this was the first snowfall of the season so it wasn’t expected to last all winter. On Saturday the sun came out and warmed the snow up just enough to make it sticky.
Ellen invited a friend over to play in the snow. At first they grabbed up handfuls of snow to playfully throw at each other. Wire Dog barked with excitement as the little balls of snow flew back and forth through the air, but then when they realized that the temperature and snow conditions were just right for making snowballs they decided to make a really big one.
They started by making one small snowball in their hands then they set it on the ground and packed more snow around it to make the ball just a little bigger. Then they had to roll it over to pack more snow on the other sides to keep it kind of round. Wire Dog watched as they rolled the ball this way and that, packing snow here and there to keep the ball shape somewhat even. Wire Dog could see that the ball was getting too big to throw but he didn’t know what they were going to do with it.
Soon the ball was big enough and heavy enough that when it was rolled along, the snow under the ball was pressed down and stuck to the ball making it bigger and bigger all the time. The girls soon learned that if they rolled just straight in one direction their snow ball started to look more like a wheel, flat on two sides. They had to roll it every which way in all directions to make it round. Wire Dog liked it better when it was round like a ball.
Soon the ball was so big that Ellen and her friend could both push it at the same time, side by side. And before long it was so big and heavy that the two girls couldn’t push it any farther, no matter how hard they tried or how much Wire Dog barked. So, then the girls started another snowball the same way.
Wire Dog thought he understood what the girls were doing. He thought they were just going to roll big snowballs until they were so big they couldn’t roll them anymore but the girls stopped rolling the second ball when it was smaller than the first. Then the girls got on both sides of the snowball and tried to lift it. Even Wire Dog could see that the snow ball was much too big and heavy for them to throw. What could they be trying to do?
The girls were not trying to throw the big snow ball but Wire Dog was right about one thing – the ball of snow was too heavy for them to lift. Ellen went in the house to find where her brother and his friend were playing together. Wire Dog knew that something important was happening when the boys came outside and all four kids surrounded the snowball. Ellen’s brother tried to take charge by counting to three and then telling everyone to lift at the same time. The big snowball went up a little way but then someone’s hands slipped and the whole thing fell back down hard on the ground.
Then Ellen took charge saying, “We almost had it. Let’s try it again.” Everyone bent down and got in a better position to lift than before and when Ellen counted “One, two, three,” they all lifted at the same time and up it came. Wire Dog barked three times to cheer the kids on.
“Now carry it over and set it down on the big one.” Ellen managed to utter between her clenched teeth.
With Wire Dog’s encouragement, somehow the four kids were able to wrestle the snowball over and set it on top of the larger one. Then the kids brushed the snow from their mitts with the satisfaction of a hard job well done. The boys asked if they could help with the next snowball, but the girls said they could do it by themselves. The boys watched the girls start the third ball the same way they had started the others but this time they stopped rolling before it got too big, and this time they were able to lift it without any help, all the way up on top of the other two balls. The girls clapped their hands when they set the ball in place and Wire Dog barked his approval even though he still wasn’t sure what the girls were making.
The boys who were still watching from the front steps couldn’t resist running back to help with the final details. Someone found a couple of sticks for arms. Someone else kicked up two small stones from under the snow for eyes. They found a bottle cap for a nose and a curved piece of wood for a smiling mouth. Ellen wrapped a scarf around the snowman’s neck and her brother put his gloves on the end of each arm for hands. All four kids then stood back with their hands on their hips and studied their creation. Wire Dog looked at it too tilting his head first one way then the other.
“It’s a snowman you silly dog. Haven’t you ever seen a snowman before?” said Ellen to her dog. Wire Dog still looked a little unsure.
“He’s missing something,” Ellen’s brother said. And they all looked again. Then Ellen said, “I know what it is.” She then knelt down beside the snowman and in just a little while she had made a little snow dog. Everyone laughed and clapped with approval and Wire Dog barked with happiness.