March 15, 2013

The In Just Spring Contest!!!


The In Just Spring Contest!


Hurray!  It's here!!  The In Just Spring Contest!!!  And so timely, because I'm really ready for spring and it doesn't seem to be obliging just yet :)

The Contest:  Write a children's story, in poetry or prosemaximum 350 words.

The story must be about something that really says "SPRING" to you - something that really makes you feel that spring is here!  It can be nature oriented - the robins or geese returning, eggs hatching, flowers blooming, baby animals being born, bears waking up, sunshine or rain, etc.  It can be holiday oriented - St. Patrick's Day, Easter, April Fools' Day etc.  It can be school oriented - the spring pageant, spring vacation, the spring talent show.  It can be activity oriented - picnics, bike riding, baseball - anything at all that makes you think spring.

The only other requirement is that the last line must be "[Character Name] knew Spring was really here!" or "[Character Name] knew Spring was here at last!"  (You can also write in first person if you want - e.g. I knew Spring was really here.... and present tense is fine too.)  I've given the rhymers amongst you a choice... but if you can't make either option work with your rhyme scheme you have permission to tweak it slightly as long as the essential meaning stays the same.

Post:  Your entry should be posted on your blog between Friday March 15 at 12:01 AM EDT and Monday March 18 at 11:59 PM EDT, and your post-specific link should be added to the link list on this post which will remain up through Tuesday March 19 (no new post on Monday March 18).  If you don't have a blog but would like to enter, please copy and paste your entry into the comments here.  (If anyone has trouble commenting, which unfortunately happens, please email me and I'll post your entry for you!)

The Judge:  My lovely assistant and I will narrow down the entrants to five finalists (or possibly a couple more if we get a lot of entries :)) which will be posted here on Wednesday March 20 (no WYRI that day) for you to vote on for a winner.  The vote will be closed at midnight March 23 and the winner will be announced on Monday March 25.

The Prizes!:
The First Place Winner will get the chance to put one of his/her picture book manuscripts in the hands of editor Laura Galvin of KidsBooks for a read and comments! (and who knows? she might love it! :))

If we get more than 20 entries, prizes will be give through 3rd place.  2nd Place will receive a $25 Amazon gift certificate, and 3rd place will receive his/her choice of the craft books listed below.

Should the winner happen not to be a picture book writer or for some reason not want to show his/her work to an actual real live editor at an actual real live publishing house, he/she will receive a $25 gift certificate to Amazon and a choice of Writing Picture Books: A Hands On Guide From Story Creation To Publication by Ann Whitford Paul, Writing With Pictures: How To Write And Illustrate Children's Books by Uri Shulevitz, How To Write A Children's Book And Get It Published by Barbara Seuling, The Writer's Guide To Crafting Stories For Children by Nancy Lamb, or 2013 Children's Writers And Illustrators Market by Chuck Sambuchino, and the editor prize will go to the highest placed finisher who wants it.

Here is my sample, squeezing in just under the wire at 348 words:


That's Better

     As soon as the hockey rink opened in November, Charlie shot out the door with Dad to go skating.

     “Hold it, mister!” said Mom.

     Charlie skidded to a stop.

     Mom pulled a hat down over his ears.  She wound a scarf around his neck.  She slid mittens on his hands.  “That’s better.”

     Charlie didn’t think so.  “I itch,” he complained.

     Mom shrugged.  “No warm clothes, no skating.”

     That was a no-brainer.  Hat, scarf, and mittens stayed on, and Dad and Charlie went to the rink.

     When the first snow fell in December, Charlie raced outside to build a snowman.

     “Hold it, mister!” said Mom.

     Mom pulled the hat over his ears, wound the scarf around his neck, and slid the mittens on his hands.  Then she zipped him into his winter jacket and stuffed his feet in clunky boots.  “That’s better.”

     Charlie didn’t think so.  “I’m hot,” he complained.

     “You won’t be when you get outside,” said Mom.  “Now scoot.”
     Charlie scooted.
     In January, when the deep cold gave the snow a perfect icy crust, Charlie sped out to sled.
     “Hold it, mister!” said Mom.
     Out came the hat, the scarf, the mittens, and the boots, but this time Mom bundled him into his snowsuit.  “That’s better.”
     “Mo-om,” said Charlie.  “I can’t even walk!”
     “You can stay in and help me fold laundry,” Mom offered.
     “Hmmm,” said Charlie, “maybe I can walk,” and out the door he shuffled.
     All through February and March, for tobogganing, fort-building, and snowball-fighting, Charlie could not get out the door without every inch covered in warm clothes.
     “I’m tired of winter,” he said.
     Then the days got longer.  The sun got warmer.  The snow melted, and one day there were robins on the lawn.
     Charlie opened the door and the air was soft and warm.
     “Hold it, mister!” said Mom.
     “Please, Mom,” begged Charlie.  “I don’t want all those clothes.”
     Mom smiled.  She put his baseball cap on his head and handed him his ball and glove.
     “That’s better!” said Charlie.  He hugged her and laughed.  “Now I know spring is really here!”

Now.  I KNOW you can all do better than THAT - talk about circling the drain! - so take heart and get those stories posted!  I can't wait to read them! :)  Don't forget to add your post-specific link to the list below so that we can all come read your stories and feel like spring is coming!  The list will stay up through midnight Tuesday March 19.

Good luck! :)
And please remember to check the comment section!  There are already entries there from Linda, Jill, Pat, Marie-Therese, Nancy C, Jenny, Doris, Nancy M, Kimberly, and Lizzie.  (You may have to scroll down aways...)

Reactions:

131 comments:

  1. A sweet story, fun contest and great prizes! What an opportunity to have a manuscript review. You're awesome, Suzanna!

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  2. Thanks, Iza :) I hope lots of people will take advantage. It seems like a great opportunity to me. Too bad I can't compete for my own prize :)


























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    A sweet story, fun contest and great prizes! What an opportunity to have a manuscript review. You're awesome, Suzanna!
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  3. I LOVE that! It's funny! :D I am going to post my entry later :)

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  4. You're far too kind, Erik :) And yay! I can't wait to read your entry! I shall look forward to it eagerly :)

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  5. Susanna, I adore your story! My Mom was one of those who constantly overdressed me and my sister in the winter so I sympathized with Charlie's annoyance. ;)



    I was telling Catherine Johnson how very excited I am to be entering your contest for the first time! So excited that I actually gone it done early...very unlike me. LOL!


    Have a wonderful weekend!

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  6. CONTEST ENTRY POSTED FOR LINDA at www.lindaboyden.com

    Where Is Spring? (73 words)

    By Linda Boyden



    Snow again?

    Big flakes, little flakes,

    swirl and spin.

    I’m done with snow.

    Where is Spring?



    Brrr, again?

    Fat coat, boots and cap.

    Wind that stings.

    I’m done with Brrr!

    Where is Spring?



    Rain again?

    Gray sky, raindrops plop.

    Thunder wins.

    I’m done with rain.

    Where is Spring?



    Sunny day?

    Bluebirds, yellow buds,

    barefoot grass?

    Hurry outside:

    Spring’s here at last!

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  7. Yay! Nothing says Spring like shedding hat, gloves, and itchy scarves for a baseball cap and mitt.

    Quiggle's Search For Spring ends on a happy note too!

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  8. Hurray! Spring! Longer days! Daffodils! Robins! In Just Spring Contest!
    I have to run out right now...can't wait for this afternoon so I can read all of these wonderful entries...thanks, Susanna, for doing this.:)

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  9. Oh Susanna - I love your little story! Esp. because I am gonna have to put on a hat and mittens to go out today! argh!

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  10. Breakfast Time for a Hungry Bear

    When Bear awoke from a long winter’s sleep, he poked his head outside his den; he expected spring to whack him on the nose. But all he saw was white. Snow. Everywhere.
    Bear clambered out of his den. A faded sun hung high in the gloomy sky. “The woods seem to be stuck in winter,” Bear thought.
    “No smell of grasses in the air.
    And it’s breakfast time for a hungry bear.”
    Then Bear saw a rainbow in the distance and he plodded through the snow until he came to the rainbow’s end.
    The bright rainbow colors were flowing into a swirling pool. Bear stuck his paw into the pool and raised it to the sky. He painted the faded sun yellow, and the air grew warm.
    Bear placed his paw into the pool again and painted the sky and the river blue. The ice melted and the river began to flow.
    Fish began jumping and orioles began singing. Bear painted them orange.
    Bear dunked his paw back into the pool and painted the trees and grasses green. A flock of bunting birds flew from the trees and Bear painted them indigo.
    Bear dabbed again and painted a field of red tulips and yellow daffodils.
    With a dainty stroke of his paw, Bear painted yellow and violet patterns on fluttering butterfly wings.
    Bear climbed a pine tree and settled on a thick branch to gaze at his colorful handiwork. A swarm of bees buzzed his nose.
    “Mm, mm, mm.
    I smell honey in the air.
    It’s breakfast time for a hungry bear!”
    A beehive hung above Bear’s head. He stood on the branch and stretched and stretched, but he could not reach the hive. Then Bear slipped. Kerplop! He landed softly on his back among the daffodils.
    Grateful to Bear for melting winter away, the bees dropped a sweet, golden piece of honeycomb into Bear's hungry mouth.
    "Mm, mm, mm.
    Wintertime is in the past.
    Spring," sang bear, "is here at last!"

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  11. This is delightful, Jill! I can feel that warm sun... even though it's currently 18 degrees outside my window :) I love all the colors - so springy :) What an original idea!

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  12. Thanks, Sue! I hope you're entering with a story of your own :) And you and me both on the hat and mittens - it's 18 degrees here this morning!

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  13. Hurray! Hurray! If only it were just a tad warmer here so it felt a little more like spring :) I love having all these wonderful stories to look forward to reading. Yours is so touching :)

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  14. Glad you think so, Nancy! Can't wait to read Quiggle - what a great name! :)

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  15. I'm so glad you're excited and that you entered, Teresa! I can't wait to read your story! I'll be over as soon as I finish wading through my inbox! :)

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  16. Thanks for doing this Susanna! Here's my entry.

    SPRING Word Count: 151
    by Pat Haapaniemi

    Up squirmed the worms from their homes in the ground,
    Inching along never making a sound.

    Down plopped the ducklings in puddles to play,
    Splishing and splashing on this rainy day.

    Under the leaf with its dainty wings dry,
    Butterfly hung looking up at the sky.

    Over its web stretching fuzzy legs out,
    Spider watched raindrops fall gently about.

    Into their hives for the afternoon showers,
    Bees dreamed of nectar in blossoming flowers.

    Out of the earth waking up from the rain,
    Blades of green grass were appearing again.


    Raindrops and clouds disappeared without trace.
    Sunshine and blue skies smiled down in their place.

    Spreading her wings gently butterfly flew.
    Bees dreamed no more. There was now work to do.

    Spider inspected her web with most care.
    Worms found their homes to have no water there.

    Ducklings fluffed feathers to dry in the sun.
    Another new season of spring had begun.

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  17. Thanks for entering, Pat! This is terrific! I love all the up... down... over.. under... etc, and the change from rain to sunshine - really lovely! I'm feeling spring :)

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  18. Susanna...your story is precious! I love that in the end, the boy 'steals' his mom's expression, "That's better!" I know how my kids hated putting on hats and scarves.:) And I also remember that when I was a child, my mom would always ask me where my gloves were...in my pocket, I would reply. Oh, she would say, I guess the gloves are keeping your pockets warm. :) So I can totally relate!

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  19. I'm ready too!

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  20. My favorite line is 'Spider inspected' - terrific!

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  21. This has the wise touch of a traditional indigenous creation story!

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  22. Hee, hee! -Love the thoughts coming to mind with your story, Susanna. Of one little rascal undressing before I could finish with the other! Thanks for that! And for prompting me with another great contest. I was just telling my friend how safe I feel here; entering your contests helps build up my confidence to submit elsewhere!

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  23. Linda, this is lovely...'wind that stings' makes me really feel it! I'm tired of 'brrrrr' also.:)

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  24. Perfect! Your story transported me back to the WI winters I experienced as a child ... and NOT wanting to wear my boots and carry shoes to school ... then being SO glad I had them for recess. Maybe you knew my teacher and/or mom?? Fun, fun, FUN!!

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  25. What a great way to introduce a lot of prepositions; plus, the poem is really terrific too! It put a smile on my face. :)

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  26. You've written a dreamy and delightful fantasy, Jill, and the line "he expected spring to whack him on the nose" cracked me up!

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  27. This is lovely, Pat! So many great images of spring...I love the 'out of the earth waking up from the rain'...reminds me of walking outside during a sun shower and sticking out my tongue to catch the raindrops.:)

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  28. What a unique story, Jill! I love that Bear is painting spring into his world! And 'the woods seem to be stuck in winter'...oh my goodness...that says it right there...just how we all feel sometimes at the beginning of spring. :)

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  29. I know :) Winter got a whole lot easier when they could dress themselves :) I'm so glad you enjoy the contests - I loved your entry! - and glad if it feels safe and helps give you the courage to submit elsewhere! :)

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  30. I guess I feel a little nostalgic for the days when I had to bundle my littles up to take them out in the snow... although it was a challenge getting them all dressed without someone undressing while I was dressing someone else... and there was always the one who, after 2 minutes outside, had to go to the bathroom :) I have never liked hats and scarves - they make me itch :) - so now that I'm a grown-up I never wear them :)

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  31. I'm glad if the story had the ability to transport :) I certainly had my share of knock-down drag-outs with my mom over clothing, and then with my kids :) The thing I hated most that my mom made me wear was rubbers! Oh how I hated them! Give me rain boots any day over those awful stretchy clunky ugly things :)

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  32. Fat coats, boots an cap. So many great images.

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  33. I just love the 'hold it mister,' line. i can so see you saying this with a smile!

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  34. It's funny you should think that :) When my son read this story he said, "Hmm... this sounds awfully familiar!" :)

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  35. Linda, Wonderful poem. Love your images!

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  36. It's Spring!!! This is on my radar...I am all a twitter and a jitter about March Madness...I think my creativity is taking a beating!


    I do have an idea with notes as of this morning. I am hoping to get it from idea to story. The titles in the links sound adorable and I can't wait to read them, but I am going to read later and work on writing for now!


    I did read yours, Susanna, and, as usual, your example is adorable and creative!

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  37. I know you're crazy with March Madness, but it would be fun if you managed an entry - yours are always a joy to read! :) I was afraid to look and see who won your match - you or Carrie - so unfair that you went up against each other in the first round!

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  38. There's still 2 1/2 hours to go...still neck and neck! Yes...I wish we wouldn't have gone against each other! She's my bud:-)

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  39. I love the image of the butterfly, dry under the leaf, looking up at the sky.

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  40. This would make a beautiful picture book. Lovely imagery all the way through.

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  41. I love the repetition and the slight changes in it as the poem (and spring!) emerge!

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  42. Pat, your poem is full of beautiful images of spring. I love the change from rain to sunshine so the nature creatures can begin.

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  43. Yes, I immediately thought of a a creation story, as I read your entry. Very unique story.

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  44. Like emerging story of spring and the repetition. I especially liked the image of "barefoot grass." Lovely entry.

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  45. Susanna, your story was packed with so many images and memories of winter moving into spring. I remember my mother using "mister or missy." Great repetition line to introduce the next adventure. Great story. The ending was clever.

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  46. I'm glad you liked it, Pat. I loved yours too! And hey - you got your own link up - how did you manage?

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  47. delores @ thefeatherednestMarch 16, 2013 at 4:36 PM

    I have to say that while I couldn't leave a comment on Eriks posting I thought his story of the melting snowmen was fabulous.

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  48. Susanna I love your story. I'm having fun reading some of the stories in between writing for class. By the way, I'm writing about you Susanna in an internship class: People Who Influence Your Creative Spirit. Please don't be angry, Susanna if I can't get a story up by Monday.

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  49. Go Away, Spring!

    Marie-Therese Miller

    Meghan opened the freezer and took out two snowballs that she’d saved from the last snowstorm. She put them in cups and poured cherry juice over hers and lemon juice on Poppy’s.
    “Poppy,” she called, “it’s time for our fruity blizzard balls.”
    Poppy sat and spooned the cold treat past his bristly moustache and into his mouth. “Delumptious,” he puckered.
    Meghan didn’t have time to comment as she shoveled cherry snow onto her tongue.
    A soft breeze lifted the kitchen curtain. “Listen,” Poppy said, “I hear a robin’s song. Spring is here.”
    Meghan marched over to the window and shut it. No spring sounds for her. “’Go away, spring,’ I command you,” she
    said.
    Winter was fun. Meghan didn’t want it to end. “Remember when we dressed in our puffy snow pants and pretended we were emperor penguins sliding down glaciers on our stomachs?” she asked Poppy. “And when we made a snowperson with an asparagus nose and pea mouth?”
    Poppy smiled. “That was cool.”
    Poppy grabbed a paper bag of stale bread. “Let’s go to the duck pond,” he said.
    Meghan disappeared into the mudroom. She reappeared wearing fluffy earmuffs, cold-weather boots, and her ski jacket.
    “You seem a bit overdressed,” Poppy told her. “Might I suggest a lightweight sweater?”
    Meghan switched her jacket for a cardigan, but she kept her earmuffs and boots.
    At the duck pond, Meghan took the bag of bread from Poppy and tiptoed to the water’s edge. “Watch out for goose droppings,” she warned him. “It’s a good thing I wore my boots.”
    Suddenly, ducks and geese surrounded Meghan and Poppy. From the middle of the pond, a white swan raced toward them like Ryan Lochte. Meghan fed each bird a nibble of crust.
    When the last crumb was gone, Meghan said, “I’m sorry. That’s all.” But the crowd crept toward her quacking and honking. “We’ll come back tomorrow,” Meghan promised.
    Poppy held Meghan’s hand. They jogged away to escape the feathered posse.
    Meghan giggled. “I know spring is here at last,” she told Poppy, “and I command it to stay!”

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  50. It was a very original idea, wasn't it? I'll tell him you liked it :)

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  51. What a fun story, Teri! I love how first she wants to hang onto the things she loves about winter, and then her change of heart has her commanding the opposite such a short time later :) "Feathered posse" is a great line :) Thanks for a very entertaining entry!

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  52. My goodness, Pam! I would NEVER be angry! I hope you will get a story up because they are always wonderful and fun to read, but I totally understand how busy you are and know that school must come first. And I am honored to be in your paper :)

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  53. Here is my entry, thank you for this contest.

    Sammy's Spring
    by Nancy Churnin

    nancychurnin@mac.com

    nchurnin@dallasnews.com

    Sammy Squirrel tried to build the biggest pile of nuts, but never could because his mother kept telling him to stop and eat some.

    "You need to build your strength for the fall,” his mother said.

    But Sammy was too busy to eat. He was just born in June! There was so much to do!

    "Later, Mom, I will eat later," he said.

    Then he went off to find more nuts.

    In a few weeks, his dad went to sleep in their burrow for the winter.

    "While I'm sleeping, Sammy, you must eat so you sleep well when your time comes."

    Sammy was sad, but his mother hugged him.

    "This is your first hibernation, Sammy," his mother told him. "Dad needs to rest. In July, I will rest beside him. In September, it will be your turn. We will all wake together in spring."

    What was spring? Sammy wondered. His mother couldn't explain, but spent as much time as she could with him, encouraging
    him to make friends to keep him company.

    "Soon I have to sleep,” she told him. “When there aren't many nuts left, you and your friends should sleep, too."

    Sammy made friends and compared nut piles with them. Then his mother told him goodbye for the winter.

    Sammy kept busy. In September, as the nuts became harder to find, his friends went off one by one to sleep with their parents.

    Sammy went to his burrow. He was very tired and still didn’t understand what spring was. He snuggled up to his mom for a minute. Soon he was fast asleep.

    Months passed and before he knew it, he woke to find his mom and dad smiling beside him.

    "Sleepyhead!" his dad said, scratching Sammy’s well-rested head.

    Sammy smelled the warm air. He scampered to the edge of the burrow and looked outside. He breathed in the blooming flowers
    and ripe nuts ready to be picked. Finally, he realized that this delicious adventure was spring. He couldn't wait to jump right in the middle of it.

    "I'm so glad spring is here at last!"

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  54. My kids have been wearing sundresses since January, so I totally get Charlie's frustration!

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  55. What a fun story, Nancy! So true that a little animal who had never experienced spring before would have no idea what it was or what to expect! I'm glad he discovered it in such a happy way :) Thanks for a great entry!

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  56. Me, too! It's still only 19 degrees here this morning! I'm about to take my dogs running and I DON'T WANT TO WEAR MITTENS! :) Loved your worm story - so delightfully disgusting :)

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  57. I didn't want to read anyone's story before I posted my own. Now, starting with yours Susanna, I am LOVING this!

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  58. Sammy Squirrel's Spring
    Word Count: 345
    by Nancy Churnin

    Sammy Squirrel tried to build the biggest pile of nuts, but his mother kept telling him to stop and eat some.

    "You need to build your strength for the fall,” his mother said.

    But Sammy was too busy to eat. He was just born in June! There was so much to do!

    "Later, Mom, I will eat later," he said.

    Then he went off to find more nuts.

    In a few weeks, his dad went to sleep in their burrow for the winter.

    "While I'm sleeping, Sammy, you must eat so you sleep well, too."

    Sammy’s mother hugged him.

    "This is your first hibernation, Sammy," his mother told him.
    "Dad needs to rest. In July, I will rest beside him. In September, it will be your turn. We will wake together in spring."

    What was spring? Sammy wondered. His mother didn’t explain, but encouraged him to make friends to keep him company.

    "Soon I have to sleep,” she told him. “When there aren't many nuts left, you and your friends should sleep, too."

    Sammy made friends and compared nut piles with them. His was the biggest! Then his mother told him goodbye for the winter.

    In September, as the nuts became harder to find, he sadly said goodbye to his friends as they went off to sleep with their parents. Sammy slowly ate the nuts in his pile and went to his burrow.

    He was very tired and still didn’t understand what spring was. He snuggled up to his mom for a minute. Soon he was fast asleep.

    Months passed and before he knew it, he woke to find his mom and dad smiling beside him.

    "Sleepytail!" his dad said, scratching Sammy’s well-rested head.

    Sammy smelled the warm air. He scampered to the edge of the burrow and looked outside. He breathed in the blooming flowers and thought of the ripe nuts ready to be piled up. Finally, he realized that this delicious adventure was spring. He couldn't wait to jump right in the middle of it.

    "I'm so glad spring is here at last!"

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  59. I know! It's so much fun, isn't it? To read everyone's great stories? There are some really original ones, and some that have quite a twist :) I loved yours, Wendy!

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  60. We must be related to Sammy - Dad always falls asleep first, then Mom, then the littlest rascal - and he still doesn't 'get it'!

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  61. I like Meghan's spunk! I'd almost forgotten what a pond feeding frenzy is like - thanks!

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  62. The light touch makes me think of a good animation, with a Pooh-type bear in the lead role.

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  63. I love this one dealing with the hibernation miracle. Pity life isn't like that. 'Don't like this bit much, so I'll just skip it!'

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  64. I love the dialogue in yours, and the little touches like the laundry. Also the repeat scenes with slight changes kids love so much, and a sudden switch at the end.

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  65. Thanks so much, Colonialist (I'm sorry I don't know your real name!) I'm glad you enjoyed it - you're very kind :) I thought yours was terrific :)

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  66. This is so cute, Nancy! What a special way to look at spring...through the eyes of an animal that hibernates...and you picked a squirrel...I don't think there are that many squirrel stories out there. Great job!!!!

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  67. This is so much fun! You did a wonderful job showing us how two friends can have such opposing views on something, Marie. And I agree with Susanna...'escape the feathered posse' is PERFECT!
    When my children were small, we always made sure to bring in some clean snow and pack it away in the freezer. On a hot summer day, we would pull it out and have a snowball fight with some of it and then make delicious snow cones with the rest.:)

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  68. Susanna, I'm doing it, it's out there, eeeeek... Here is my entry. Crossing my fingers and going to get a piece of chocolate!


    Goldie at the Garden

    Water rushed by Goldie. She was terrified.

    Mama answers, I’ll meet you in the other pond. Stay with wise one.

    The water stops, Goldie is in a large bucket with wise one being bumped along.

    Woosh, she slides into a shallower pond.

    What was that?

    Change, Goldie, says wise one, your mother is here soon. Gardeners move us into the shallow pond every spring. Then, we watch the seasons change into summer, fall and winter, then spring.

    People come to see us. If you listen , you will hear their stories. Wonderful things happen in the garden.

    Like what?

    There are weddings. If you’re lucky, you will catch a glimpse.

    There are tea ceremonies. If you’re lucky you may hear tranquility.

    Artists create. If you’re lucky, you may be captured in a painting or portrait.

    People do yoga or thai chi. If you’re lucky, you may feel their energy.

    Docents teach. If you’re lucky, you will hear them clap, and then they will feed you.



    Diplomats are visiting. If you’re lucky, you will make one of them smile.

    Writers are writing. If you’re lucky, you will be in one of the stories.

    Gardeners prune. If you’re lucky, they will trim the trees so that you’re guarded from the sun and predators equally.

    Couples become engaged. If you’re lucky, you will see their love grow as they return to the garden again and again throughout the years.

    Families are visiting the garden together. If you’re lucky, the Daddy will give each of the children food to feed to you.



    Oh, Hi Mama, Mama! Mama, do you know what happens in the garden?

    Yes, we get to enjoy the spring and summer in the sunshine. In the fall, it gets colder, and the gardeners move us back into the deeper water to stay warm and protected for the winter. Wonderful things happen in the garden. Love happens in the garden.

    Goldie says, “I love you, Mama.” and Mama answers, “I love you, more, Goldie.”

    Goldie knew spring was really here!

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  69. Jill, great work! I can just picture you telling this to your wee bears.

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  70. Wendy, I was the same way! Great job!

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  71. Jenny, you are very brave! I know how hard it is to put your work out for everyone to see, but you did it! Good for you :) And I'm so glad you did. Your description of the garden is so beautiful and tranquil - all the little touches about couples becoming engaged, getting married, and coming back year after year, about families visiting, and artists of all kinds creating make it sound so lovely - truly a place to enjoy. I feel like I'm there. Thanks for sharing your sweet story. Now, enjoy your chocolate and have fun reading all the other stories :)

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  72. CONTEST ENTRY POSTED FOR DORIS

    THE TALE OF THREE LONELY CHILDREN
    by Doris Stone

    There once was a girl, whose name I do not know. Her hair was black, her eyes were black and her skin was black. She felt lonely, like winter, because she did not have a friend. She went to the playground to swing.

    There once was a girl, whose name I do not know. Her hair was brown,her eyes were brown and her skin was brown. She felt lonely, like winter, because she did not have a friend. She went to the playground to swing.

    There once was a girl, whose name I do not know. Her hair was blond, her eyes were blue and her skin was white. She felt lonely, like winter, because she did not have a friend. She too went to the
    playground to swing.

    The first little girl climbed onto a swing and started to chant, “Kick
    your feet forward and pull your arms back.”

    The second little girl climbed onto a swing and started to chant,
    “Kick your feet forward and pull you arms back.”

    The third little girl climbed onto a swing and started to chant, “Kick
    your feet forward and pull your arms back.”

    All three girls started to giggle. They giggled and giggled and giggled.

    They giggled until it was time to say good bye.

    The first girl waved and ran home.

    The second girl waved and ran home

    The third girl waved and ran home.

    That day, happiness filled three hearts, like spring had arrived at last.

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  73. What a sweet story, Doris! How nice that three little girls who needed friends could find them, based on something they all enjoyed doing and without regard to appearances. And there's nothing like a swing to make you feel like spring! Thank you for entering your lovely story :)

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  74. CONTEST ENTRY POSTED FOR NANCY MOLLER

    Noisy Spring
    by Nancy Moller

    342 words

    "Hooray," Owen yelled. "the rain has stopped! I want to take Yappy for a run by the pond!"

    "Yap!"

    Owen's mother smiled. "That's a good idea, Owen. It has been a long winter and now you and Yappy can take some of that happy noise outside. First, put his leash on, then go have fun."

    "Hooray!"

    "Yap!"

    Near the pond, Yappy's ears perked up before Owen heard the noise.

    "Peck! Peck!"

    Yappy tugged at his leash. "Yap!"

    "Quiet Yappy. I hear where it's coming from. Follow me."

    But Yappy bolted toward the noise, dragging Owen behind him.

    "Yap! Yap!"

    "Stop Yappy, I'm the leader."

    Yappy skidded to a stop in front of two noisy ducklings.

    "Squeak! Squeak!"

    "Yap!"

    Next to the ducklings was an egg, cracking from the inside out. A beak appeared.

    "Peck! Crack!"

    A tiny duckling tumbled out of the shell and joined in the squeaking.

    "Yappy, aren't they cute? I wonder where there mother is."

    Owen heard a noise above his head.

    "Quack!" It was the mother duck.

    She landed with her wings flapping wildly. Owen jumped back and Yappy squirmed out of his collar.

    Owen was certain he could run faster than a duck. However, he could not fly. Anyway, he would not leave Yappy behind. Where was Yappy?

    Playful noises drifted in on the wind.

    "Squeak! Squeak!"

    "Yap! Yap!"

    Owen turned toward the noise. Yappy was sitting in the grass watching the ducklings who were watching Yappy. Mother duck flew to her ducklings and nestled them under her wing. Owen grabbed Yappy and headed for home.

    The next week, it rained and rained. Finally, the sun came out and Owen and Yappy rushed to the pond. The mother duck and her ducklings greeted them with loud squeaks and quacks. From a safe distance, Owen and Yappy greeted them back.

    "Squeak!" "Quack!" "Yap!" "Hoorah!"

    With all this hearty outdoor noise, Owen knew that Spring was here at last!

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  75. What a fun story, Nancy! I love that they can finally take their noise outdoors, and that they find some other noisy friends to play with :) And I'm glad Yappy didn't chase the ducklings :) Thanks so much for a delightful entry!

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  76. This is such a cute story. You've managed to develop two very different personalities in such a small number of words!

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  77. So many images of spring here! Now I'm wishing it would get here a little faster!

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  78. I love the colours and the painting! The rhyme at the end is very cute.

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  79. I really like this poem and the way it builds to the best signs of Spring!

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  80. Oh, such a lovely idea! I can see all the seasons here.

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  81. Spring always does seem noisier than winter! I like the hatching ducklings.

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  82. Andrea, in the book draft that I have for my kids to read, the pictures featured are through all of the seasons. They are photos that we have taken on our visits to the garden where my husband is a gardener.

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  83. CONTEST ENTRY POSTED FOR KIMBERLY

    DETECTIVE FAIRWEATHER REPORTING FOR DUTY

    By Kimberly Linton (350 words)

    Mortimer Fairweather was a detective from the day he was born.

    By two years old, he was inspecting noses for boogies. Other people’s noses. Gross!

    And by four, Mortimer was investigating “The Case of the Missing Cookie,” quickly identifying Rover as the lead suspect.

    The winters were busy for Detective Fairweather, especially around Christmas. He found many of Mommy’s secret hiding spots and even sniffed out a treat for Rover.

    Business was slow until March, when Mortimer noticed strange happenings in the garden.

    The ribbons tied to his treehouse were missing.

    Near the bushes he smelled something more horrible than Baby Lilly’s stinkiest diapers.

    Finally, there was a near-constant drumming noise. Ta da da. Ta da da.

    He opened a new case, “The Garden Files,” and began to gather clues.

    He packed his binoculars, pad and pen and marched into the garden.

    There was his red ribbon up in a nest. Clue Number 1! The thief can climb high.

    As he trailblazed further into the backyard, he smelled the same stink from earlier. Kind of like an onion, but kind of like glue. Definitely disgusting! Clue Number 2! The thief is not afraid of the woods.

    On his way back he saw small holes chiseled into treetrunks. Clue Number 3! The thief is hiding treasure in the trees.

    He shared his discoveries at dinner. Mommy chuckled and said “But that’s just Spring, honey. She must be coming out early!”

    Spring?! Who was this Spring girl? Messing up his treehouse, smelling up the garden, and making a lot of noise. He would set a trap to catch her.

    Mortimer left out a plate of cheese with superglue on it. Spring would get cheese stuck to her fingers and he would catch her!

    Mortimer checked the trap every morning. When she still hadn’t taken the bait after two weeks, he decided to swap to peanut butter.

    Then he looked around. He saw a bird building his nest, a skunk hiding near the bushes, and a woodpecker hunting for food.

    It all made sense. Mortimer knew Spring was here at last.

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  84. This is delightful, Kimberly! I love that Mortimer is a detective of long-standing, and I love all the clues. It was also a surprise twist at the end that the clues didn't lead to one culprit as you would expect, but to three - although in a way it was one because it was Spring. Very clever. Thanks so much for joining in the contest fun! I love a good mystery :)

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  85. CONTEST ENTRY POSTED FOR LIZZIE

    A FLY NAMED FLEA
    By Elizabeth Harris
    190 words


    I’M JUST A FLY NAMED FLEA

    HAPPY AS CAN BE

    WINTER’S END HAS COME AT LAST

    AND NOW IT’S TIME TO HAVE A BLAST

    SPRING IS HERE I WANT TO SHOUT

    THIS IS WHAT MY LIFE’S ABOUT

    BIRDS CHIRPING WITH GLEE

    IS WHAT MATTERS TO ME

    PICNICS, RECESS, OUTDOOR CAFES

    BARBECUES, THE CIRCUS, A BIG BALE OF HAY

    I HAVE THE RIGHT ATTITUDE

    WHEN LOOKING FOR FOOD

    I’M A BIG SMARTY

    IN FINDING A PARTY

    KIDS ON SPRING BREAK

    HANG AT THE LAKE

    TEENAGE TRASH MAKE MY TASTE BUDS ACHE

    PIZZA, CANDY, BUBBLEGUM, DORITOS

    ICE CREAM, BROWNIES, LOLLIPOPS, AND CHEETOS

    MY FAVORITE FOOD IS A HOT DOG BUN

    LANDING ON IT IS SO MUCH FUN

    DON’T ASK ME WHY, I REALLY DON’T KNOW

    FOR ME IT TASTES LIKE COOKIE DOUGH

    I STOP TO SIP SOME WATER

    WHEN SUDDENLY COMES A FLY SWATTER

    YOU MISSED! NAH NAH NAH NAH NAH!

    I’M JUST A FLY NAMED FLEA

    THAT’S WHAT MY MOM NAMED ME

    I BUZZ AROUND THE WORLD SO FAST

    HAPPY THAT SPRING IS HERE AT LAST!

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  86. I think you've captured spring from a fly's POV perfectly, Lizzie! All that food! And I like his jaunty attitude :) Thanks for sharing this fun story with us - I'm so glad you found the contest! :)

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  87. So much character development here. Wow! And I love all that activity at the duck pond!

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  88. Jill, I am so glad that Bear got a honey reward at the end.

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  89. Very cute! I love the snowperson with an asparagus nose and pea mouth! How fun.

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  90. My favorite is the bee...dreamed no more! I can just see the busy guy buzzing to work. Nice job!

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  91. Very creative! Love your imagery as Bear paints.

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  92. I'm done with Brrr is a perfect line. Very nice entry!

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  93. What a beautiful way to describe a garden and its wonderful happenings. Nice job!

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  94. A hibernation story...what a fun direction to take your story. I love it.

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  95. I'll bet flies are happy when spring arrives. Fun poem!

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  96. I love detective stories. Mortimer made a good one. Cute entry!

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  97. Ducklings get me every time, and this is no exception. Quack! Quack! Hoorah!

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  98. A very sweet friendship story! Good job!

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  99. I have tinkered with my one a bit - mainly punctuation. Oh, and adding one more graphic. Hope that isn't contrary to the rules in any way!

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  100. That comment about tinkering was supposed to be from Colonialist!

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  101. Thanks for explaining! I was feeling panicky that I'd totally missed someone's entry somehow! :)

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  102. Ducks and spring :) loved this, Marie... and loved Delumptious!

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  103. oh so much I loved here :) awesome job, Pat :)

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  104. awww! this was cute. My Rilla would love this with the rainbow in it :)

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  105. what a cute idea from an outdoor goldfish :) loved it :)

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  106. this is cute, Nancy :) I didn't know squirrels hibernated at different times than each other. Rilla just saw a squirrel today and was so happy. But a storm is about to hit us again lol Spring will hit PEI someday!

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  107. I DID IT!! I think and soooooooooooooooo hope I commented on every single entry :) Yay me!! Good Luck, Everyone!!

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  108. That was so kind of you, Denise! I'm sure everyone really appreciates that - I certainly do! I've been through these stories over and over along with my assistant judge and we are having such a hard time that I've called in another assistant judge! There is so much to like about so many of these! Choosing finalists is proving to be super super tough!

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  109. Looks like I just missed out on this one. ;( However, I will post mine for your enjoyment. It will be published to Amazon and Barnes &Noble soon as I get the illustrations completed. You can see my other books at woolyswagon.com


    HOCUS CROCUS

    Heavy coats, muddy boots
    Winter all about
    Howling winds
    Rain and snow
    Umbrellas inside out!

    Izzy stepped off the bus
    Walked up the lane
    How she wished
    Winter would go
    And Spring come again!

    Then she saw in the snow
    Just up ahead
    A bit of color
    Yes! Some purple!
    Poking up it's head.

    Hocus pocus, there's a crocus
    Searching for the sun
    Nothing better
    Will tell you
    Winter's time is done.

    Looking around for more signs
    Then did Izzy see
    One bluebird
    Then one robin
    Sitting in a tree.

    Her feet felt so much lighter
    Skipping along so fast
    Birds tweeting
    Flowers blooming
    Spring's here at last!

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  110. This is delightful, Robin! Thank you for sharing it with us even though the contest deadline passed. I think "hocus pocus there's a crocus" is my favorite line... because I'm longing to see one :)

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  111. Hello Jenny! How wonderful...we are getting to meet so many new (for me) people with this wonderful spring contest. I love your story...so unique and I really appreciate all of the reasons mama gives little Goldie for loving spring at the goldfish pond in the garden. When my husband and I were dating, there was a goldfish pond on campus...it was our FAVORITE spot. We would meet there often between classes or when we had a free period to just sit and hold hands and talk.

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  112. Oh Robin...just love your title...Hocus Crocus...too perfect! So many great images of spring in your poem.:)

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  113. What fun, Lizzie! Spring is a wonderful time for flies, that's for sure.:) You've given him a wonderful personality...devil may care...and I love the 'nahnahnahnahnah'...just what I think flies must be saying when they dive-bomb me at a picnic or BBQ.:)

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  114. Kimberly...this is so clever...just like Mortimer, the little detective.:) This is a really unique look at spring...love that he wondered who this 'spring girl' was.:)

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  115. Hi Nancy...nice to meet you via Susanna's spring contest. :)
    I'm glad that momma duck didn't get too angry. What a beautiful way to portray spring!

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  116. Doris...this is beautiful. And so authentic...three little girls who don't know each other and meet at the playground might just sit and swing and giggle and then, wave goodbye.:) And equating spring with happiness filling three hearts is beautiful imagery.:)

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  117. I have to say that I'm glad and sad that the deadline has passed, Susanna. Glad because every time I thought I was finished reading, I would return here and there was half a dozen more entries.:) Sad because it has been a blast to read everyone's Spring Story. :) I'm just happy I don't have to pick.:)

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  118. I know, Vivian! So many wonderful stories! And it's been fun to have new ones popping up all the time. The picking is the hard part for me - not the reading! And oh my goodness this one is a real challenge!!!! Stay tuned for the finalists tomorrow... assuming I can choose :)

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  119. Nata ArtistaDonnaMarch 19, 2013 at 9:35 PM

    Sweet! Love happens in the garden! my fav

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  120. Nata ArtistaDonnaMarch 19, 2013 at 9:38 PM

    Fun story! loved “it’s time for our fruity blizzard balls.”

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  121. Nata ArtistaDonnaMarch 19, 2013 at 9:39 PM

    Fabulous Job!

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  122. Nata ArtistaDonnaMarch 19, 2013 at 9:40 PM

    brilliant! The bright rainbow colors were flowing into a swirling pool.

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  123. Nata ArtistaDonnaMarch 19, 2013 at 9:40 PM

    loved the poem!

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  124. Nata ArtistaDonnaMarch 19, 2013 at 9:41 PM

    funny! Near the bushes he smelled something more horrible than Baby Lilly’s stinkiest diapers. loved your story!

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  125. I didn't enter the competition, but was inspired to make an effort to pen a few lines and they posted today at http://www.grannymar.com/blog/2013/03/20/lucas-and-rufus/

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  126. Oh, that's wonderful! Can't wait to come over and read :) And maybe you'll want to try for the next contest :)

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  127. Love this story with all its busy insects and animals. It had a really earthy feel to it and I could picture lots of beautiful illustrations to accompany your wonderful story.

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  128. Great story. I loved the way bear used the rainbow colours from the pool to paint the landscape. I too like the sing song at the end of the story.

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