Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Sweet Smell of Spring

Photo by S.R. Mack

Just for fun, I decided to enter author Susanna Leonard Hill's In Just Spring Contest.
In case you don't know, Susanna's blog is a great place to hang out if you write picture books (or if you write any kind of children's books). She has really useful features like Would You Read It on Wednesdays, where writers can get reactions and critiques of their short pitches and Perfect Picture Book Fridays, where you can learn about great picture books for read alouds. Susanna is a writer that really gives back to the writing community and I'm so glad to have found her blog.

For the In Just Spring Contest, here's challenge:

Write a children's story, in poetry or prose, maximum 350 words.

The story must be about something that really says "SPRING" to you - something that really makes you feel that spring is here!

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!"

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.


by Andrea L. Mack

Everyone was talking about SPRING, but Roxy had no idea what that meant.
She trotted to the treat cupboard. No one paid any attention. SPRING couldn’t be about food.
She dropped her rubber bone in a lap. It fell to the floor. SPRING wasn’t about fetch.
She flopped on her bed and sighed. SPRING obviously wasn’t for dogs.
Her leash jingled.
“Come, Roxy. Let’s go on a Spring walk,” said her girl.
Roxy danced through squishy grass. She barked at a bright-chested bird. And she stared longingly at a ball slapping into a boy’s gloved hand.
Which one was SPRING?
“Mmmm,” said her girl. “It smells like Spring.”
SPRING was a smell? Roxy absolutely loved smells. But there were so many.
The leftover people smell of a soggy mitten.
The earthiness of a wriggly worm.
Puddles. Leaf shoots. New grass. Rubber boots.
Which one was SPRING?
Roxy caught a whiff of something fresh. Something different. That had to be it!
She lunged for the smell. Her leash slipped free.
“Roxy, wait!”
But Roxy had to find SPRING.
She splashed through trickling water.
A fat bird snapped. A whole line of little ones peep, peep, peeped.
Roxy sniffed, but they were not SPRING.
She scrambled up a muddy bank.
A small, spotty lump hop, hop hopped.
Roxy sniffed, but it was not SPRING.
The fresh, sweet smell of SPRING filled her nose. She was close.
Her girl called, “Roxy, stop!”
But Roxy couldn’t. SPRING smelled too delicious.
Her nails clicked on the sidewalk.
Ding-a-ling! Ding-a-ling! Wheels gritted to a stop.
Roxy’s nose twitched. She drooled. She shook off the mud, ready to sniff up SPRING.
“Euw!” someone said.
“Get that muddy dog away from the ice cream!” cried someone else.
At last! SPRING! Roxy licked as fast as she could.
Her girl snapped on her leash. “Roxy, you found the ice cream truck! Now I know Spring is really here.”



  1. This great! I like the idea of searching for spring through smell. Soggy mittens, earthy worms, and rubber boots! People don't often think to talk about those things. Well done!

    1. Thanks, Heather. One of my MG novels is about a girl who loves to cook, and ever since I wrote it, I've been more conscious of using smells and tastes in my writing.

  2. This is delightful, Andrea! I love it! I love that it's from the dog's POV, and how spring is revealed as a smell - a perfect one that certainly does signify spring. Oh how I wish the ice cream truck was here - even though it's still only 20-something degrees :) Thanks fo a great entry!

  3. Thanks, Susanna! Another week or two and we'll probably be hearing the ice cream trucks around here (or perhaps I'm just being overly optimistic).

    1. Nothing wring with optimism, especially in spring :)

  4. Love that this is from a dog's perspective. Ice cream! Very clever.

    1. Thanks, Patricia. It was fun imagining the world with a nose-centric perspective!

  5. what a cute and fun story! love that it is from a dogs POV :)
    Good luck with your entry.

  6. I wondered what this spring would bring
    the dog likes more than anything -
    in winter once, or yet twice, dream
    of when we come to get ice cream!

  7. The dog POV is great and I love that it is ice cream that heralds spring.

    1. Yes, in our neighborhood those ice cream trucks get out there as soon as they can.

  8. I agree...the ice cream truck was so creative. Nice job.

    1. Thanks, Penny. That's an example of how ideas come when you're writing, because I didn't set out for the story to end that way, originally.

  9. Ditto what everyone else said about the cute dog POV! I also wrote about smell but not because my MC is a dog, but because that really is what tells me it's spring. :)

    1. Me, too. The air smells so different in springtime! But then I got to thinking about how much dogs must love spring, when the snow melts and there's all that slimy junk underneath.

  10. What a unique and delightful story. You totally nailed it with ice cream being a symbol for spring. The fact that a dog lead us to this realization makes it more brilliant. Love it and I'm so glad I stopped by.

  11. Adorable! You can't go wrong with an excited pup in the springtime. :0)

  12. Oh how delightful from the dog's p.o.v. I love this!

  13. Your writing is as jaunty as an excited pooch! Loved the POV and the scents of spring :)

  14. I see the "Kibbles and Bits" dog with frenetic tail waving and wagging. :D

  15. This is a really original and fun idea. Good work!

  16. lol this was so cute! Awesome job, Andrea :) Loved it from the dog's pov lol

  17. Nice to connect vis Susanna's spring contest, Andrea! I love the story...what a curious pup (just like a little kid).:) I'm so glad he got the ice cream treat in the end...for me, ice cream is an EVERY DAY treat...I could NEVER wait until spring to have some.:)

  18. Great take on spring Ms. Mack!

  19. Loved all the smells of spring in your terrific story. Good luck with competition.


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