Thursday, August 28, 2014

August DMC Wrap-Up + Giveaway


http://activerain.trulia.com/blogsview/3454168/hoe-down-at-hawes-ranch--sept--29th-2012


Lori Degman challenged us to wake Farmer McPeeper this month.  

Not an easy task, as it turns out.  


Your hosts





To pass the time while Farmer has been sleeping, Cow and Sheep have been planning a barn party.
   
Guess what?  You're invited!

It'sa hoEdown, y'allll!




Horse appears to have been partying for some time already.








As the submissions ambled in, slowly at first, several people remarked on the difficulty of this challenge. Lori makes it look easy, of course, but to write within a prescribed meter and rhyme scheme is definitely harder than it looks.  Throw in some wordplay and a pun or two for good measure, and it wouldn't be surprising to find your knickers in a twist! 

So here's a hip hip hooray and a big barnyard thanks (clucks, honks, bleats, and moos) to everyone who gave this challenge a try... even if Farmer McPeeper, himself, has shown no appreciation whatsoever.

Illustration of Farmer McPeeper by Deborah Zemke



Let the hoedown begin!

                    "This shouldn't be hard," 
                    said the cat in the yard. 
                    "I'll bet it's as easy as pie." 
                    Her cock-a-doodle purrr 
                    was as fuzzy as fur, 
                    but at least she gave it a try. 

                    – Miranda Barnes (age 11), all rights reserved
  

                                        "I slither and slide
                                        and take immense pride
                                        in being a most helpful snake."
                                        But Snake's forked tongue kiss
                                        and Cock-a-doodle-HISS
                                        did not help Farmer McPeeper wake.

                                        – Bridget Magee, all rights reserved


                                                                "A farmer that's sleepy
                                                                needs someone who's creepy.
                                                                That's me!" said Squirmy the Worm
                                                                "I'll slide up his toes,
                                                                Cock-a-doodle his nose!"
                                                                But a sneeze left Sir Wormy infirm.

                                                                – Buffy Silverman, all rights reserved

Next to come round
was a rock-n-roll hound
descended from Elvis the King.
This hound dog’s to-do:
Cock-a-doodle aaahrrrooooooooooo!
The blues was all he could sing. 

– Michelle Heidenrich Barnes, all rights reserved


                    The owl said, "Wait, I'm already in flight,
                    I'll offer who, whos for the crowd.
                    I know that near chickens, I am not allowed.
                    I'll cock-a-doodle-who (but not too loud).
                    Don't want to give the farmer a fright!

                    – Linda Baie, all rights reserved


                                        "I'm a fast-swimming fish.
                                        Let me give it a swish.
                                        I’ll zip once ‘round the pond to get set.
                                        One, two, three - watch me dash.
                                        Cock-a-doodle-Splish! Splash!"
                                        But it turned out that fish was all wet!
 

                                         – Tamera Will Wissinger, all rights reserved


                                                            "My powerful croak
                                                            will wake that farmer bloke,"
                                                            a baritone bullfrog boasted,
                                                            He filled up his cheeks
                                                            and out came some squeaks,
                                                            that sound won't get him promoted.
 
                                                            – Kathy Mazurowski, all rights reserve


                                                                                I'm a mosquito and tiny,
                                                                                but I am loud and most whiny.
                                                                                I'll fly to his ear, drive him crazy.
                                                                                Listen to my song so fine.
                                                                                It's a cock-a-doodle whi-ii-ine.
                                                                                But that farmer is just too lazy.


                                                                                – Patricia Podlipec, all rights reserved

Cock-A-Doodle Flea

I yelled cock-a-doodle
Atop of his poodle
Who's sleeping right next to his head
But he can't hear my chant
'Cause I'm small as an ant
So maybe I'll bite him instead

– Jan Gars, all rights reserved


                    Cock-A-Doodle Parrot

                    I'll cock-a-doodle doo
                    And scream I love you
                    If only he'll get out of bed
                    The farmer's a slacker
                    And I want a cracker
                    Or Polly will poop on his head

                    – Jan Gars, all rights reserved

                                                  ... and a few more stanzas:

                                                  The cock-a-doodle honk
                                                  From a grey goose named Zonk
                                                  Did not stir the farmer from bed
                                                  His old wife heard the sound
                                                  And she took to the ground
                                                  To catch and lock him in the shed

                                                   A sweet little pony
                                                   They called Macaroni
                                                   Saw Farmer McPeeper asleep
                                                   She tried cock-a-doodle
                                                   No sound could she oodle
                                                   A little hoarse, she could not peep

                                                  The old cow named Noodle
                                                  Then cried cock-a-doodle
                                                  The farmer she still did not wake
                                                  So she kicked a bucket
                                                  From here to Nantucket
                                                  But never his snoring did break

                                                  – Jan Gars, all rights reserved


                                                                       "Let me try," said the mare.
                                                                       "We've got no time to spare!"
                                                                       Now she was the mane attraction.
                                                                       But cock-a-doodle-neigh
                                                                       was all she could say,
                                                                       prompting much dissatisfaction.

                                                                       – Kristi Veitenheimer, all rights reserved


Then elephant shouted,
"I'm not to be doubted.
I can wake up that farmer, I swear."
Though his "Cock-a-doodle-A-ROO!"
woke up all Timbuktu,
Farmer slept through the elephant’s blare.
 

– Katie Gast, all rights reserved


                    "I can do it for sure,
                    I have done it before,"
                    said monarch of beasts, the King Lion.
                    But his Cockadoo-ROAR
                    made the farmer snore more.
                    Trending: "Thank you Lord #Lyin' for tryin'."

                    – Violet Nesdoly, all rights reserved


                                        "Cover your ears," the woodpecker boasts;
                                        I'll show you how easy it is.
                                        I'll rat-a-tat-tat on the metal downspout!
                                        He'll jump awake, head first, then toes.
 
                                        – Martha O'Quinn, all rights reserved


                                                            Though some dogs are furriah,
                                                            A Bahston terriah
                                                            Can bahk awake any old fahmah
                                                            Except Farmer Peepah,
                                                            A real heavy sleepah.
                                                            To wake him just isn't good kahmah.

                                                            – Bonnie T. Ogle, all rights reserved


A somnolent bear fast asleep in his lair
Dreamt of growling awake Squire McPeeper.
Bear stirred in his slumber and yet he stayed under;
None could tell who was sleeping the deeper.

– Peter Barnes, all rights reserved


There are some unusual animals on this farm, to be sure.  But at least they all know how to have a good time!

Honk! Honk! Coming through!

Better hurry if you want to get in on the fun!   

You have until Sunday, August 31st, to send your cock-a-doodle stanza to TodaysLittleDitty (at) gmail (dot) com or use the contact form in the sidebar to the right. 


Everyone who participates in this month's challenge will automatically be entered to win a personalized copy of Lori's new picture book, Cock-a-Doodle Oops! (One entry per participant, not per poem.) Alternatively, you may earn an entry into the giveaway by commenting below.  If you contribute a poem and comment below you will earn two entries in total.  Comments must be received no later Tuesday, September 2, 2014.

The winner will be determined by Random.org and announced next Friday, September 5th, when we feature our new Spotlight ON interview and ditty challenge.  

"That'll do, Pig. That'll do."
~ Farmer Hoggett, BABE

Jone MacCulloch is hosting today's Poetry Friday celebration over at Check It Out.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

DMC: "Cockadoo-ROAR" by Violet Nesdoly




"I can do it for sure, 
I have done it before,"
said monarch of beasts, the King Lion.
But his Cockadoo-ROAR 

made the farmer snore more.
Trending: "Thank you Lord #Lyin' for tryin'."


– Violet Nesdoly, all rights reserved.



So many noble attempts to wake Farmer McPeeper this month, and still he snores!  Only five more days to join in the animal antics.  Write a stanza in the same style as COCK-A-DOODLE OOPS! (click HERE for details) and send to TodaysLittleDitty (at) gmail (dot) com or use the contact form in the sidebar to the right.

All participants will be included in an end-of-month hoedown and wrap-up this Friday, August 29th, and entered to win a personalized copy of Lori Degman's delightful new picture book:




Tuesday, August 26, 2014

DMC: "Cock-a-doodle-A-ROO" by Katie Gast




Then elephant shouted,
"I'm not to be doubted.
I can wake up that farmer, I swear."
Though his "Cock-a-doodle-A-ROO!"
woke up all Timbuktu,
Farmer slept through the elephant’s blare.


– Katie Gast, all rights reserved.


Lori Degman has challenged us to wake Farmer McPeeper.  If you would like to join in the animal antics, write a stanza in the same style as COCK-A-DOODLE OOPS! (click HERE for details) and send to TodaysLittleDitty (at) gmail (dot) com or use the contact form in the sidebar to the right.

All participants will be rounded up for an end-of-month hoedown on August 29th and entered to win a personalized copy of Lori's delightful new picture book:



Thursday, August 21, 2014

Last Call for the Trampoline



This is our trampoline. 

Sad, I know. 

Tattered and tired, its grey tarp sagging like skin that no longer fits... let's face it, the poor thing has fallen and can't get up.  These days, our trampoline functions as a makeshift shelter for lizards and weeds more than anything else.  The good news is that, after reading this post, my kids will probably unveil their old friend for one last hurrah before being permanently retired from use. 

The trampoline was purchased at a Toys R Us in Sydney, Australia.  To this day, I question the logic of moving the trampoline with us overseas, but it didn't sell with the bicycles and baby stroller, and we couldn't bear to throw it out with the rubbish.  No one seemed to have need for an old-style trampoline that wasn't safe. The new ones were round with netting on all sides to prevent overly-exuberant children from toppling willy-nilly off the sides. We lived dangerously.

But in all likelihood, the decision to keep our trampoline probably had more to do with this:

Surfing the Wobble

And this:
The perfect spot to share an icy pole with friends after school.

How could we possibly leave those memories behind? 

In 1926, George Nissen was just eleven years old, my daughter's age now, when he decided that the safety net he saw at the circus would make an ideal backyard toy for him and his friends. 

I wrote a poem about the invention of the trampoline which appeared in the February 2014 issue of Boys' Quest:

George Nissen, Boy Inventor
by Michelle Heidenrich Barnes
 
A day at the circus launched a boy’s dreams
To sail through the air… but not as it seems.
His name was George Nissen, eleven years young,
When he watched the performers above as they swung.
Leaping and flipping and spinning, and yet
What thrilled the boy most was the bounce of the net. 
The net was for safety but seemed like such fun,
George figured that he and his friends should have one.
Later, in high school, at last he was able
To work on constructing his own “bouncing table.” 
For years he kept at it until it was right—
Portable, safe, and superior flight.
With hope and persistence his dreams set aloft
When sales of his Trampoline finally took off.
George Nissen, the dreamer, inventor, and boy,
Bounced into success with a high-flying toy.

George Nissen with a friend on his high-flying toy


Here is the version from the magazine, reprinted with permission and special thanks to Neal Levin, whose illustration truly captures the excitement of living dangerously.  (He writes hilarious children's poetry too, by the way! I'm looking forward to featuring him on the blog some time next year.)



Now speaking of living dangerously, if you haven't yet sent in your stanza for this month's ditty challenge, you only have ONE WEEK LEFT to do so and be entered into a random drawing for Lori Degman's picture book, Cock-a-Doodle Oops!  At last check, Farmer McPeeper was still sawing logs despite this week's wake-up attempts by a hound dog, a flea, and a fish.  Next week we'll need to get serious, though, so I've got a couple of heavy-duty reinforcements lined up!  Join me next Friday for an end-of-month wrap-up and hoedown.

Irene Latham is collecting reinforcements of another kind.  Visit her at Live Your Poem for this week's Poetry Friday roundup.





DMC: "Cock-A-Doodle Splish! Splash!" by Tamera Will Wissinger




"I'm a fast-swimming fish.
Let me give it a swish.
I’ll zip once ‘round the pond to get set.

One, two, three - watch me dash.
Cock-a-doodle-Splish! Splash!"
But it turned out that fish was all wet!


– Tamera Will Wissinger, all rights reserved


Lori Degman has challenged us to wake Farmer McPeeper.  If you would like to join in the animal antics, write a stanza in the same style as COCK-A-DOODLE OOPS! (click HERE for details) and send to TodaysLittleDitty (at) gmail (dot) com or use the contact form in the sidebar to the right.

All participants will be rounded up for an end-of-month hoedown on August 29th and entered to win a personalized copy of Lori's delightful new picture book:



Wednesday, August 20, 2014

DMC: "Cock-a-doodle Flea" by Jan Gars




Cock-A-Doodle Flea

I yelled cock-a-doodle
Atop of his poodle
Who's sleeping right next to his head
But he can't hear my chant
'Cause I'm small as an ant
So maybe I'll bite him instead

– Jan Gars, all rights reserved


Lori Degman has challenged us to wake Farmer McPeeper.  If you would like to join in the animal antics, write a stanza in the same style as COCK-A-DOODLE OOPS! (click HERE for details) and send to TodaysLittleDitty (at) gmail (dot) com or use the contact form in the sidebar to the right.

All participants will be rounded up for an end-of-month hoedown on August 29th and entered to win a personalized copy of Lori's delightful new picture book:



Tuesday, August 19, 2014

DMC: "Cock-a-doodle aahroo" by M. H. Barnes




Next to come round
was a rock-n-roll hound
descended from Elvis the King.
This hound dog’s to-do:
Cock-a-doodle aaahrrrooooooooooo!
The blues was all he could sing.

– Michelle Heidenrich Barnes, all rights reserved


Lori Degman has challenged us to wake Farmer McPeeper.  If you would like to join in the animal antics, write a stanza in the same style as COCK-A-DOODLE OOPS! (click HERE for details) and send to TodaysLittleDitty (at) gmail (dot) com or use the contact form in the sidebar to the right.

All participants will be rounded up for an end-of-month hoedown on August 29th and entered to win a personalized copy of Lori's delightful new picture book:



Thursday, August 14, 2014

Renée M. LaTulippe: Sound Bites–Making Writing Musical


Dear TLD:

I suffer from weak prose, writer's fatigue, restless adverb syndrome, and imagination constipation.  Is there a doctor in the house?!!

Sincerely,
Depressed Writer

Well yes, DW, you're in luck!  It's my pleasure to introduce lyrical language doctor and TLD contributor:

Renée M. LaTulippe

Renée has co-authored nine early readers and a collection of poetry titled Lizard Lou: a collection of rhymes old and new (Moonbeam Children’s Book Award) for All About Learning Press, where she is also the editor, and has poems in The Poetry Friday Anthology, Middle School and Science editions. She developed and teaches the online course The Lyrical Language Lab: Punching Up Prose with Poetry and creates children’s poetry videos for her blog NoWaterRiver.com. Renée holds theater and English education degrees from Marymount Manhattan College and New York University, and taught English and theater in NYC before moving to Italy, where she lives with her husband and twin boys.

I have heard nothing but high praise from writers who have taken Renée's Lyrical Language Lab online course, including this recent glowing review from Linda Kulp and this fabulous interview by Julie Hedlund. It's really no surprise given Renée's background and the fact that her own writing sings like an Italian operetta.  How grateful am I that Renée has chosen to share excerpts from her lessons right here? Molto grato! Thank you for being here today, Renée. The stage is all yours.

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Because children's poetry and picture books are meant to be read aloud, it's imperative that we make the reading experience as pleasurable and memorable as possible whether in rhyme or in prose. Luckily, we have plenty of tools to help us do just that, and one of the most important is sound.

I like to consider rhythm and meter as the musical staff (the base structure) upon which to compose the rest of the music (sound devices).


Like musical notes, words and sounds can be combined, clustered, and juxtaposed to elicit specific emotions. Most of us have studied sound devices at one point or another, so I’ll start with a quick review and short examples of what some of these devices are all about, and then take it a step further to look at some properties of sound.

Sound Devices

Alliteration...

is the repetition of initial sounds in a series of words. It occurs in stressed syllables and often produces a light and humorous effect.

Timothy Tompkins had turnips and tea. (Karla Kuskin, from Moon, Have You Met My Mother?)

I am the pirate's parrot, / a bird both brave and bold (Anonymous)


Consonance...

is the repetition of internal or ending consonant sounds in a series of words, especially in stressed syllables. Consonance can create pleasing rhythmic effects or subtle instances of slant rhyme.

First a hush and down / it crashes / over curbs it swishes (Marci Ridlon)

Wistful, she recalls the past and all the hours lost


Assonance...

is the repetition of internal or ending vowel sounds in a series of words, especially in stressed syllables. Assonance is helpful in creating mood.

And miles to go before I sleep. (Robert Frost, “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening”)

I am sitting in the middle / of a rather muddy puddle (Dennis Lee, “The Muddy Puddle”)
  • Notice the difference in mood created by the length of the vowel sounds. In the Robert Frost example, all the vowels are long or drawn out, which slows the reader down and emphasizes the long journey the narrator must still undertake. In the Dennis Lee example, all the vowels are short, which gives the line a snappier, more staccato beat that carries it forward.

Onomatopoeia...

is a figure of speech in which the sound of a word mimics the sense of the word itself.

I'm the hummer of summer / so busy with buzz. (Douglas Florian, from UnBEElievables)

The coals pip-pop and the wind doesn't stop. (Karma Wilson, from Bear Snores On)


Repetition...

is the repeating of a word or phrase several times for emphasis. Repetition of longer sections, like a stanza in a narrative poem or picture book, is called a refrain. 

As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door. (E.A. Poe, “The Raven”)

A gruffalo? What's a gruffalo? / A gruffalo–why, didn't you know? (Julia Donaldson - repeated refrain in The Gruffalo)

But the bear snores on. (Karma Wilson - repeated refrain in Bear Snores On)


You can open any book of poetry and find examples of all these sound devices. Here’s a poem that wears all its jewelry at once, but to good effect. Read “Open Hydrant” out loud, taking note of how the sound devices affect your reading and the meaning of the poem.



Now let’s look more closely at some properties of sound.

Length and Weight

The English language has 26 letters that can be combined to create 44 sounds. I'm not going to get into phonetics, but it is helpful to be aware of two basic properties of these sounds.

The length of a sound is how long it takes to say the sound or how long the sound can be held. Length can play a big part in pacing. Read the following blue words out loud and consider how the sounds differ in effect and tone.
  • Long vowel sounds:   sway       creep       bright       moan       glue
    • Long vowels often slow the pacing and have a heavier tone.
  • Short vowel sounds:   brat      jet       wiggle        scoff          dug
    • Short vowels often quicken the pacing and have a more light-hearted tone.
  • Consonant sounds that can be held (known as fricative and sibilant sounds): dge, f, h, j, l, m, n, ph, r, s, sh, th, th (voiced) v, z, zh
    • ridge   fish    hurry   jelly    hill    hum    nine    phone   furry    hiss    shame    forever    crash   thief     then   buzz     vision
  •  Consonant sounds that cannot be held (known as plosive sounds): b, ck, d, g, p, qu, t, w, x, y
    • bag    click   dawn    gripe    pup    quick   taut    wicked   box   yes  

The weight of a word is the feeling of heaviness or lightness in the mouth when you speak it. Read the following blue word pairs out loud. Which word in each pair feels heavier for you? Why?
  • tap    /    tug
  • trudge    /    scuttle
  • whimper    /    moan
  • bench    /    sofa
  • axe    /    lathe

Of course no one consciously stops to think about all these nitty-gritty details in the midst of writing, but being aware that these properties exist will help you
  • train your ear for sound;
  • choose the best words for your purpose;
  • discern exactly where the problem is in a clunky verse or sentence.

I’ll leave you with one more poem that makes gleeful use of those short vowels and heavy D sounds. Everyone in the puddle!



In the next lyrical language post, I’ll look at how sound can help us heighten the musicality of prose so we can create an endless range of mood, effect, and emotion. Until then, happy writing!

© 2014 Renée M. LaTulippe. This article is partially excerpted from a lesson in the online course The Lyrical Language Lab: Punching Up Prose with Poetry. All rights reserved.

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Pretty great, huh?  If you like what you just read, consider signing up for Renée's next available Lyrical Language class this coming October!

In the meantime, here it is the middle of August and Farmer McPeeper shows absolutely no signs of waking.  Lori Degman and I challenge you to put your newfound sound skills to the test right now!  Click HERE for more information about this month's ditty challenge, or for some examples, check out the featured contributions so far (an interesting assortment of farm animals, I dare say) by my daughter Miranda, Bridget Magee, and Buffy Silverman.  My own musical attempt to wake Farmer McPeeper will be coming this Tuesday.

Heidi Mordhorst is hosting summer's last fling and today's Poetry Friday roundup at my juicy little universe.







DMC: "Cock-a-doodle Squirm" by Buffy Silverman




"A farmer that's sleepy
needs someone who's creepy.
That's me!" said Squirmy the Worm.
"I'll slide up his toes, 
Cock-a-doodle his nose!"
But a sneeze left Sir Wormy infirm.

– Buffy Silverman, all rights reserved


Lori Degman has challenged us to wake Farmer McPeeper.  If you would like to join in the animal antics, write a stanza in the same style as COCK-A-DOODLE OOPS! (click HERE for details) and send to TodaysLittleDitty (at) gmail (dot) com or use the contact form in the sidebar to the right.

All participants will be rounded up for an end-of-month hoedown on August 29th and entered to win a personalized copy of Lori's delightful new picture book:




Tuesday, August 12, 2014

DMC: "Cock-a-doodle-HISS" by Bridget Magee




"I slither and slide
and take immense pride
in being a most helpful snake."
But Snake's forked tongue kiss
and Cock-a-doodle-HISS
did not help Farmer McPeeper wake.


– Bridget Magee, all rights reserved


Lori Degman has challenged us to wake Farmer McPeeper.  If you would like to join in the animal antics, write a stanza in the same style as COCK-A-DOODLE OOPS! (click HERE for details) and send to TodaysLittleDitty (at) gmail (dot) com or use the contact form in the sidebar to the right.

All participants will be rounded up for an end-of-month hoedown on August 29th and entered to win a personalized copy of Lori's delightful new picture book:


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Haiku Garden: Violet Nesdoly


Photo: Tai, "Dew on Grass"

“A writer is like a bag lady going through life with a sack and a  pointed stick collecting stuff.”
                                           –Tony Hillerman

I found this wonderful quotation on the Poetry page of Violet Nesdoly's author website.  I thought it speaks well to Violet, since she, herself, is the ultimate collector – of nature, art, moments, words....  She displays them in exquisite detail in her poems, her photography, and in the way she lives and values life.  I'm honored to welcome her to the Haiku Garden.


http://wallpaperscraft.com/download/grass_moisture_dew_drops_morning_17514/

dew scattered on grass
one carat diamonds winking
the day’s promise

 © 2011 Violet Nesdoly. All rights reserved.


Violet sent me this gem with the following description: "I wrote this haiku in 2011, in a stretch of beautiful August days, each one beginning with a dew-drenched morning."  I'm sure she joins me in wishing that everyone who reads this can enjoy a few days this month as magical as the ones that inspired today's little ditty.

Photo: Jason Rogers, "Morning Dew"

And while we are gathered here in the Haiku Garden, I would be remiss if I didn't also share this link to one of my favorite posts on Violet's poetry blog– a series of haiku detailing the life cycle of a Magnolia blossom.

Besides writing poetry for both children and adults, Violet writes non-fiction, fiction, activities, book reviews, and devotionals. She also blogs... blogs, blogs, and blogs some more.  For those who lost count, that's four blogs in total.  In addition to her author blog and poetry blog which I've already mentioned, she maintains PROMPTINGS 2, a personal photoblog, and Other Food: daily devos, a source of daily devotions for adults.  As someone who occasionally struggles to keep one blog afloat, I am astounded that Violet can keep up with them all!  But that she does... and still she pauses, with her sack and pointed stick, to take in a dew drop on a blade of grass.


Thank you, Violet, for sharing yourself and your gifts 
in the Haiku Garden today!


For those who missed last week's announcement of our August featured author, Lori Degman, and her fun new DMC challenge, you can find all the details HERE.

Today's Poetry Friday roundup is being hosted by Mary Lee at A Year of Reading.






Tuesday, August 5, 2014

DMC: "Cock-a-doodle purrr" by Miranda Barnes




"This shouldn't be hard,"
said the cat in the yard.
"I'll bet it's as easy as pie."
Her cock-a-doodle purrr
was as fuzzy as fur,
but at least she gave it a try.

– Miranda Barnes (age 11), all rights reserved


Lori Degman has challenged us to wake Farmer McPeeper.  If you would like to join in the animal antics, write a stanza in the same style as COCK-A-DOODLE OOPS! (click HERE for details) and send to TodaysLittleDitty (at) gmail (dot) com or use the contact form in the sidebar to the right.

All participants will be rounded up for an end-of-month hoedown on August 29th and entered to win a personalized copy of Lori's delightful new picture book: