A Whiff of Pine, a Hint of Skunk

A Whiff of Pine, a Hint of Skunk

A Forest of Poems

Illustrated by: Joan Rankin
For Ages: 4 - 8
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In a watery mirror
the rugged raccoon
admires his face
by the light of the moon:
the mysterious mask,
the whiskers beneath,
the sliver of cricket
still stuck in his teeth.

Take a lighthearted romp through four seasons in the forest with these whimsical poems. Marvel at the overachieving beaver, applaud the race-winning snail and its perfect trail of slime, or head off to be pampered at a squirrel spa.

Warning: Deborah Ruddell's quirky cast of animal characters and Joan Rankin's deliciously daffy pictures will cause giggles. The woods have never been so much fun!
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  • Margaret K. McElderry Books | 
  • 40 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781416942115 | 
  • March 2009 | 
  • Grades P - 3
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About the Author

Deborah Ruddell
Photograph © Brian Ruddell

Deborah Ruddell

Deborah Ruddell is the author of the celebrated picture books Who Said Coo?, illustrated by Robin Luebs, and A Whiff of Pine, A Hint of Skunk and Today at the Bluebird Cafe, both illustrated by Joan Rankin. Before writing children’s books, she was an art teacher and a graphic designer. Deborah lives in Peoria, Illinois. Visit her at DeborahRuddell.com.


Author Revealed

Deborah Ruddell
Q. how did you come to write A Whiff of Pine, a Hint of Skunk?

A. I found most of the characters for my new book, A Whiff of Pine, A Hint of Skunk, in a forest where I go to walk by myself and think great thoughts. Even though it's a public nature preserve, I think of it as my forest. It sits on a river bluff with steep trails and shady valleys and it is full of things to see, hear, feel, and smell.

On one of my walks, I heard a rustling sound coming from deep down in the valley. It was an opossum shuffling along all alone, seemingly downhearted. That encounter inspired a poem about a lonely opossum who daydreams about her marsupial cousins and the exciting lives that they must lead in faraway lands.

Most of the poems in the book started the same way: Something I saw, heard, felt, or smelled in the woods sparked an image or a story in my mind. As the collection began to take shape, I saw that I could frame the book as a year-long walk through the woods -- from one spring to the next.

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