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Illustrated by Dorothy Donohue

Frozen noses
Tingly toeses
Sniffle, snuffle
Winter's cold!

Better bundle!
Booted, buckled

Three children -- and their dog! -- play outside, enjoying a winter's day. They have a snowball fight, build a snowman, go sledding and ice skating, and at the end of the day, head home to a crackling fire. And to cups of cocoa, of course!


Illustrated by Dorothy Donohue

There's a crocus!
Plucky petals
Brave the chill
Frilly, silly
Down the hill

Three friends (and their pup!) head out to explore spring. They dig for worms, fly kites, and get a little wet in the inevitable spring showers. But they don't care -- spring's a-sprout! A young book, told in rhyme.


Illustrated by Dorothy Donohue

Flutter, flitter
Gold as glitter
Colors crackle
Round the tree

Rake a heap up
Run and leap up
Fall is frisky --
So are we!

Three friends and their frisky pup explore the pleasures of fall. They jump in leaves, pick apples, carve pumpkins, and go trick-or-treating. Fall is fun!


Frozen Noses, Splish Splash Spring, and Dappled Apples are the books in my seasons trilogy. Trilogy, you say? Why are there only 3 books? There are 4 seasons! True, but these books have been enjoyed in a lot of schools, and schools aren't in session in summer. So the books ended up being about winter, spring and fall.

I got the idea for the books because I wanted to write about the seasons. I love the seasons! Also, I wanted the texts to be simple, like haikus. Interestingly, haikus often use the seasons as their subject, too.

Also, I didn't want the books to be just rhymes. I thought of them more as word play than rhyme. I use a lot of alliteration, which is when the sounds of the consonants are repeated. For example, in Frozen Noses, the T sounds in "Tingly toeses" or the S and F sounds in "Sniffle, snuffle," or the B sounds in "Booted, buckled/Buttonholed."


In Splish Splash Spring, listen for the S sounds in "Spring is sloppy," the P sounds in "Plucky petals," the B sounds in "Boughs are bloomy," or the consonant blend Th sounds in "Thunder threatens."


And in Dappled Apples, listen for the C sounds in "Colors Crackle," the T sounds in "Tug a tall one," or the P sounds in "Patched-up pirate."

Sometimes, when I read the books in kindergarten or first-grade classes, I ask the kids if they can hear the sounds and tell me what they are. The kids are just learning the sounds of letters, and love to shout them out.

But the books don't just play with consonant sounds. There are also a lot of vowel sounds. In Frozen Noses, did you catch the Long O sounds in "Frozen noses," or the Long I sounds in "Slide, collide/Get good at gliding?"


In Splish Splash Spring, the Long A sounds in "Days are playful," or the Long O sounds in "Hocus-pocus/There's a crocus?"


And in Dappled Apples, did you catch the Short A sounds in the title itself, "Dappled Apples," or the Double O sounds in "Scoop the goop?" When an author uses vowel sounds that way, it's called "assonance."

A lot of fancy words for pure, clean fun! The books are meant as a kind of tickle to the ear.

Brrr! Better bundle!


Did you notice the art? Can you tell how it was made? It's collage, of course! Because the pictures are made out of cut-out pieces of paper, which are they layered, they almost look 3-D. Tale a look at how the illustrator created the small details -- for instance, in Frozen Noses, the shoelaces and the tassels on the rope. Imagine how much patience that took!

Illustration by Dorothy Donohue

And in Dappled Apples, look how illustrator cut out every blade of grass, every little leaf. And how about those thin little strips that make up the eyeglasses? Imagine how much patience those took!

Art by Dorothy Donohue

The illustrator, Dorothy Donohue, gave me this piece of art from Splish Splash Spring, and it hangs on the wall right above my desk. Thank you, Dorothy! It's fun for me to look at it and notice how she cut out every blade of grass. Imagine how much patience that took!