Sunday, March 18, 2007

Spring and a Writer's Fancies

The glitter and excitement of the winter holidays have their place, but give me Spring!

Here in Northern California in mid-March, birds are nesting, my front porch looks like a wedding passed by with the huge plum tree in brilliant white bloom and petals drifted up and down the stairs and every night, countless frogs fill the air with their love songs.

Later in the summer, I'll close the drapes to keep out hot sunlight, but now I pause when I pass a window to absorb soft heat that melts winter cold right out of my bones.

And this spring after way too long between sales, my counting book for the picture book crowd One Frog Sang is on the shelves. Artist Cynthia Jabar enriched the story with vibrant illustrations, may of the double page spreads begging to be framed. In fact, my daughter Cherie created an amazing wall hanging copy of one of those spreads, using applique, embroidery and quilting.

A few days ago, I spoke with several classes at Cherie's daughter Elizabeth's Montessori preschool. It was great fun to talk with the children about frogs and hear them repeat the different frog sounds, then count the frogs aloud on each page. As they returned to the class, the children were invited to come up and explore raised surfaces of the wall hanging with their hands.

On March 10th, my Candlewick editor came from Massachusetts to speak to a 1-day conference of the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators in nearby Davis. She made my book part of her Power Point presentation and said she especially liked the line, "All the frogs sang for love."

Love is what spring is all about, really. Definitely my favorite season. Do you have a favorite? Care to share?

Visit me at:, turn the sound up and release your inner child!


Nancy Morse said...

Spring, definitely, for the smell of all that new green growth. And Fall, for walking through autumn leaves and the beautiful light. Winter you can keep, and summer here in S. FL is like living on the Equator.

JoAnn said...

Hey Shirley, good to "see" you! I clicked on your cover the week it came up on the blog and the book looks darling.

As for seasons, after more than 30 yrs stuck in the AZ desert (having grown up in Oregon, I spent my first year in Phoenix crying), I'm just grateful for anything that's not summer. We used to say you knew the seasons were changing when the license plates changed colors because of all the snowbirds descending on us.

I suppose my favorite season, in the 8 yrs we've lived here in East TN, is fall, which is long and soft and lovely, then spring because the hundreds of bulbs I plant with great hope every November pop up to great this season of renewal with bright and cheery smiles.

Then, I like winter, but I'm still bummed that we didn't have a single snow day this year! Then finally summer, which I could pretty much do without, but it's still nothing like the desert, and since it leads to fall, I put up with it. :)

Sally MacKenzie said...

Shirley, I'm a little late reading your post, but I had to smile. We live across from a "storm water management facility" or pond. The peepers are singing like crazy these nights, though I was a little afraid the brief return of winter sleet and snow would do them in, but apparently not. I'm used to their racket, but I had a friend hesitate to leave our house one night, acting as if she were heading out to the jungle. And yeah, they are definitely singing for love! And then we have lots of tiny little frogs--or maybe they are technically toads--hopping all over our yard.