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‘Tis the Season of Chrysanthemums (with Reading Link)

September 30, 2020


‘Tis the Season of Chrysanthemums


By Alice Jane-Marie Massa


(with reading by Mary Fanyo)


In the Midwest, ‘tis the season of chrysanthemums. What a cheery note these lovely flowers bring to the last days of summer and the early weeks of autumn! The hearty mums have long been one of my favorite flowers; and once again, this season, I have been enjoying a bright yellow mum plant, midst my geraniums and herbs. Last week, as this autumnal treat reached its peak of beauty, a friend came to visit with the grand gift of another chrysanthemum, which was holding its little buds as tightly into tiny balls as had the yellow. What a wonder of nature that these diminutive buds can blossom forth in such showy fashion! Having the two chrysanthemums at two such diverse stages of growth easily delights the spirit of any gardener or casual observer.


Not only did my friend bring the young chrysanthemum, but she also told me about a book entitled Chrysanthemum–a children’s book (copyright 1991), by Wisconsinite Kevin Henkes, an acclaimed writer and illustrator (whom I have heard interviewed a few times on Larry Meiller’s show on Wisconsin Public Radio). Since I am such a fan of chrysanthemums, I was eager to read this popular children’s book and did the day after hearing of the book.


So delightfully, creatively, and cleverly written, Chrysanthemum can be enjoyed by readers of many ages, but especially for those who are between ages four and six, as well as those who are being teased a little too much. Mr. Henkes penned a story that is important for many to read at the onset of a school year. Along with the main character Chrysanthemum, we readers experience the waves of emotions accompanying this thirteen-letter name. The twist at the end will make you smile and warm your heart as you read this wonderful book to your favorite little ones.


Since I am so enthralled with this book, I asked my sister, very recently retired preschool teacher Mary Fanyo, to read the book for my WORDWALK readers. After you click on the link below and listen to “Ms. Mary’s” reading of Chrysanthemum, I hope that you will share it with a young reader or soon-to-be reader. You may even want to add the book to your gift-giving list.



Special thanks to Mary and to her husband and videographer, Ric, for the video link!


Happy Season of Chrysanthemums!

Happy autumnal reading and writing!

Alice and Leader Dog Willow


September 30, 2020, Wednesday




From → Uncategorized

  1. Your reflection, “Tis the Season of Chrysanthemums” brings back images to me from my high school days and football games in the autumn chill. Every girl wanted to get a Chrysanthemum corsage to wear to that special game. They were enormous white balls of leafy florets – and our school colors were white and blue – the ribbons that surrounded the flower were the colors of our school, too. They were glorious and impressive.
    I do not raise them in my flower gardens – they take a special soil structure that I must not have. I’ve bought the potted ones in the fall and enjoyed them on my porch, but they do not make it through the winter when planted. I love to see them on display in the stores at this time – always so vivid and colorful. Thanks for the memories, Alice.

    • Hi, Lynda–Thanks for your comment about “football mums,” about which I wrote a blog a few years ago.  How special those mums are in our memories!  At my Clinton High School (Indiana), our homecoming corsages were deep yellow “football mums” with gold and black ribbons to represent our school colors.  Later, at Indiana State University (1968-1972), the “football mums” for homecoming events were, like yours, white with blue ribbons to reflect the university’s colors.  This type of mum is featured in the illustration of the children’s book by Kevin Henkes; however, I was writing about the smaller-blooming variety of “hearty mums.” From my research of a few years ago, I can share that the “football mums,” first began in Texas and in other southern states, but eventually became popular in the Midwest.

          Thanks for your “like” and comments!

      Happy autumnal writing!

      Alice and Willow

  2. How i enjoyed listening to Mary read the book! Well done, Ladies!

    • Good afternoon, Lynda–We appreciate your taking the time to leave two comments about this post.  On behalf of Mary, I thank you for listening and commenting so nicely on her reading of CHRYSANTHEMUM.

      Enjoy this Thursday–Alice and Willow

  3. Thanks for inviting me to read such a delightful book for your blog, Alice! I thoroughly enjoyed sharing the adventures of the little white mouse with a very long name. I also appreciate your descriptions of the beautiful mums we wore to celebrate “Homecoming” in the fall of our high school and college years. Such “absolutely perfect” memories of a special time in our lives!
    Love to you and Willow,

  4. Greetings, Alice. I see you’ve kept busy. Wonderful blog. I wanted to let you know that my audiobook of BENEATH THE FLAMES is finally available on Amazon Audible. I hope your life has settled down since your move from Milwaukee. Amazon also has an MP3CD available but that is a previous version narrated by a voice-over actor. Thank you again for suggesting I narrate my own audiobook. It was incredibly challenging but very fulfilling to have a version in my own voice. Feel free to contact me at the email I entered in the details. I’d love to catch up.

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