I haven’t lived in Russian for twenty years, but I still remember how cold Russian winters were. Below is an excerpt from my children’s book SNOWDROPS where two siblings, Alex and Katie, are looking for a little girl named Masha in a snowy forest.
I hope you enjoy it!
“Let’s run,” Alex said. “We’ll catch up with Masha quicker. And warm up, too.”
They followed the footprints into the forest. The wind was picking up, whistling through the tree branches, creating white flurries on the ground and erasing the footprints. Alex wondered if they would be able to find Masha before the wind completely hid her footprints.
“Alex, look, there she is!” Katie said. In the distance, Alex saw a person walking between the trees wearing a white sparkling coat and a silver hat. Alex and Katie ran as fast as they could. “Masha!” Alex shouted. The person turned around. It was not Masha. In front of them stood a tall elderly man with a long white beard. In his right hand, he held a staff. In his left, he carried a large sack adorned with white sparkling fur. His brows were furrowed, and his eyes looked cold and unfriendly.
“It’s Father Frost,” Katie said. “I know exactly what to do.”
“How do you know?” Alex said.
“I’ll tell you later,” Katie said. “It was in Aunt Karina’s book. We don’t want to make Father Frost angry, okay?”
“Who goes here?” Father Frost bellowed. “Why are you in my forest? Who invited you here?”
Father Frost opened his mouth and started blowing cold air at the kids and at the path, sweeping away their footprints. It felt like the worst blizzard.
“Could you please stop blowing?” Alex said. He was very cold and worried that Masha’s footprints would completely disappear if Father Frost kept blowing snow around.
“Are you warm?” Father Frost asked.
“No, we’re freezing,” Alex said.
“We’re warm, Father Frost,” Katie said. Then, she whispered to Alex, “Please be quiet. I’ll explain later.”
“And now?” Father Frost blew even colder air, his expression stern.
Again, Alex was about to say, “No, I’m freezing,” but Katie was faster. “Yes, Father Frost, we are very warm.” She grabbed Alex’s hand and squeezed it hard.
Alex shivered but did not say anything. He hoped that Katie knew what she was doing. And most of all, he wished Father Frost would stop freezing them.
Father Frost turned to Alex. “And you?” he asked. “Are you warm?”
“Very warm,” Alex said.
Suddenly, Father Frost smiled. “I see you’re brave kids who don’t like to complain. But I know that my forest is cold for you.” He reached into his sack, pulled out two coats, and handed them to Alex and Katie. “Put these on.”
“Thank you,” Katie said. “They look very warm. And beautiful.”
Alex did not care about clothes that much, but even he had to admit that the coats were amazing. They were light and white, as if made of delicate snowflakes. They sparkled like icicles in the sun. When Alex put on his coat, he immediately felt toasty warm, like he was sitting in front of a warm fire.
But there was more. Father Frost reached into his bag again and pulled out two fur hats and two sets of thick mittens. The hats were white and furry, with earflaps that could be tied below the chin. Mittens were bright blue, with snowflakes embroidered on them in silvery thread.