Punxsutawney Phyllis’s 10th Anniversary Birthday Bonanza!!!


It’s Groundhog Day!

And you know what that means, right?

First of all, it means we have an announcement to make!

And that is that Punxsutawney Phyllis, Sage of Sages, Seer of Seers, Prognosticator of Prognosticators, and Weather Prophet Extraordinaire did set forth from her burrow on Blueberry Hill this Monday February 2, 2015 at 7:25 AM and declare, “Six more weeks of winter!”

Obviously with the howling winds and heavy, blowing snow there was no possibility of seeing her shadow, but Phyllis’s weather sense (possibly motivated by her desire to get right back in the burrow!) saw no signs of an early spring.  We are disappointed because we are tired of winter, but we are eating strawberries to make us think of warm summer days 🙂

Second, that means it’s my little Phyllis’s 10th Anniversary Birthday Bonanza!!!

illustration copyright Jeff Ebbeler 2005

“We’re having a party!  We’re having a party!” [That’s Phyllis.  She’s a little excited.]  “We need CAKE!!!” [She’s a girl after my own heart :)]

I said, “How about cupcakes?”

Phyllis said, “Something BIGGER!”

So I said, “How about this?”

Phyllis said, “But there’s no ICING!”

So we settled on this:

and in case you are wondering, those little brown things are
groundhog graham crackers… which makes this a Groundhog Day Cake 🙂

“Now we need festive balloons!” said Phyllis.

“Here!” said I.

 “You’re kidding, of course,” said Phyllis.

“What?  It’s blue!  It’s pretty!”

“It’s only ONE!” said Phyllis.  “ONE is not festive!”

“Fine,” I said, ever accommodating.

“I’m going to pretend I didn’t see that,” said Phyllis.  “Otherwise I might regurgitate my recently ingested natal day pancakes.  What do the words GROUNDHOG and BIRTHDAY mean to you?”

“You’re being just a tad demanding, Phyllis,” I said patiently.  “But I’ll humor you.  Will these do?”

“At last!” said Phyllis.  “And now, for the most important part…  my POEM!”

“Uh, yeah, about that… I’m not quite done yet.”


“I want it to be perfect,” I explained.  “After all, it’s for you.  It can’t be just any old thrown together thing!”

“That’s true,” agreed Phyllis.

“But I’ve got to finish it quick.  Everyone’s going to be here soon.”

“Also true,” said Phyllis.

“So it would be helpful,” I said pointedly, “if you would be quiet and let me concentrate.”

“Okay,” whispered Phyllis.

I tapped my pen against the table top.


I wrote across the top of the paper.

“Good start!” said Phyllis.

“Thank you.”

I tapped some more.

There once was a groundhog named Phyllis

“Stop,” said Phyllis.

“What do you mean, stop?”

“Nothing rhymes with Phyllis.  Believe me.  I know.  That’s a nonstarter.”

“How about There once was a groundhog named Phyllis/Who made so much noise that her poem will never get written?

“That doesn’t rhyme,” sniffed Phyllis.  But she stopped talking.

tap tap tap tap tap

In the hollow of old Punxsutawney
Lived Phyllis, whose fur was so . . .

“STOP!” said Phyllis.

“What now?”

“What is it with you and these impossible words?  NOTHING rhymes with Punxsutawney!  You’re supposed to be writing me a poem!  Poems are supposed to RHYME!”

“For your information, Miss Smarty Pants, I was going to say ‘whose fur was so tawny‘, but forget it.”

“Yeah, well, that’s pretty much cheating.  Punxsutawney and tawny – it’s practically rhyming the same word with itself.”

“Aren’t you supposed to be outside looking for your shadow or something?”

“It’s too early,” said Phyllis comfortably, helping herself to a strawberry.

I sighed.

tap tap tap tap tap tap tap

Oh, Phyllis, you forecasting marmot

“Er.  Ahem.  I don’t mean to interrupt, but seriously, marmot?  Where can you possibly go with that?”

“Harm it?!” I suggested.

“No…” said Phyllis, oblivious.  “I don’t think so.  And I don’t think you’re quite getting the sense of an ode.  You’re supposed to be praising me.  You have to set the mood.”

“I’ll set a mood all right.”

Phyllis ignored me and gazed out the window.  “Maybe something like:

Phyllis, your fur is so fine
Your eyes sparkle like finest wine…”

Hacksputtercough! I’m sorry.  I just had to gag a little there.”

“It’s better than yours!”

“How do you know?  You won’t let me get past the first line!”

“Here’s what we’ll do,” said Phyllis.  “I’LL write a poem and YOU write a poem and then we’ll see whose is better.”

“You’re going to write an ode to yourself?”

“Who better?  I know me and love me well!”



tap tap tap tap tap tap tap

“Stop tapping your pen!”

“Stop talking!”


*     *     *     *     *     denotes passage of time     *     *     *     *     *

“I’ve got one,” said Phyllis.  She cleared her throat and read,

Roses are red
Violets are blue
I can write poems
Way better than you!

“Well in that case,” I shot back,

Two poems diverged in a snowy wood
And I,
I chose the better one…
Which was not yours!

“Hmm…” Phyllis said primly.  “I don’t think we’re there yet.  Ready, set, write another one!”

*     *     *     *     *     denotes passage of time     *     *     *     *     *

“How about this?” said Phyllis.
so much depends
a brown groundhog
seeking shadows
beside a green
pine tree
“Hey, that’s not bad!” I said.
“Let’s hear yours,” said Phyllis.
Phyllis is the thing without feathers (I began)
“What kind of thing is that to say?” demanded Phyllis.  “I’m a groundhog!  Of COURSE I don’t have FEATHERS!”
“You’re interrupting!” I grumped.  “Are you going to let me read it or not?”
“Fine.  Read. But I don’t think there’s much hope for this one.”  She snickered.
I glared, and started again:
Phyllis is the thing without feathers
That perches in the burrow
And searches the air with her nose
for signs of spring.
Phyllis patted my hand.  “It’s okay that you’re not very good at this.  You’re trying.  That’s what’s important.”  She stuffed a strawberry in my mouth.  “Let’s keep practicing.  Maybe you’ll get better.”
*     *     *     *     *     denotes passage of time     *     *     *     *     *

“Done!” I said.

“I was done first three times in a row,” said Phyllis.  “That means you have to read first.”

Really, it is hard to follow groundhog logic.  Actually, groundhog logic is probably an oxymoron.

I sighed.  “Okay.  But let me read the whole thing.  Don’t interrupt.”

“I would never do that,” said Phyllis sweetly.  She sat up on her haunches and prepared to listen attentively.

by Susanna

Beauty, wit, charm, grace
Fuzzy little marmot face
Unsurpassed intelligence
Never-equaled weather sense
Even though you’re not a boy
You’re Punxsutawney’s pride and joy
My furry friend, you know it’s true
There’s no one else on earth like you!

Phyllis jumped in my lap and gave me a hug.  “See?  I KNEW you could do it!  Now I’ll read mine.”

by Phyllis

Lavender’s blue dilly dilly lavender’s green
It’s really true dilly dilly I should be queen
Lavender’s green dilly dilly lavender’s blue
I’m a Punxsutawney dream-come-true.

“Ye-ah…,” I said.  “You should have quit while you were ahead.”

“Yeah, probably,” said Phyllis.  “But never mind.  Happy birthday to me!”

Happy Birthday, dear Phyllis,
Happy Birthday to you!!!

And now, Phyllis and I are looking forward with GREAT anticipation to reading YOUR poems for Phyllis, and hopefully seeing some videos too (no pressure, Erik) since we totally failed on that score!

If you wrote a poem for Phyllis, and/or have photographs, drawings, videos, or other fun feature accompaniments, please add your post-specific blog link to the list below, or post your poem etc in the comments, or Email it to me and I’ll post it for you so that we can all enjoy everyone’s creativity!

Maybe Phyllis and I will pick some top finishers, or maybe we’ll have a vote later in the week, but either way, some people will win a signed copy of PUNXSUTAWNEY PHYLLIS (if there’s anyone left on earth who doesn’t already have one or who wants another for someone), a signed copy of Pat Miller’s wonderful SUBSTITUTE GROUNDHOG along with audio CD!, and there will be some other non-groundhog-day-related picture books up for grabs too.

Happy Groundhog Day to everyone!  May spring come early in your hearts, even if the weather outside fails to comply! 🙂

Have a marvelous Monday! 🙂

And please don’t miss Julie’s amazing and clever poem in the comments! HERE
And Karen’s delightful poem HERE
And Sarah’s wonderful ode HERE
And Jilanne’s terrific limerick HERE

123 thoughts on “Punxsutawney Phyllis’s 10th Anniversary Birthday Bonanza!!!

  1. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Thank you, Beth! I didn't have the muse either, but I had Phyllis poking with a stick… Thank you for your lovely non-entry. (And as an aside, I'd just like to point out, Phyllis, that amaryllis is another word that rhymes with you besides Bruce Willis, so there!) Happy Groundhog Day, and here's hoping spring will arrive on your doorstep in a mere 6 weeks 🙂

  2. Romelle Broas says:

    That was entertaining, Susanna and Phyllis! What a wonderful way to start my Monday morning. Looks like lots of great poems that'll make you both proud.

  3. JillSF1959 says:

    Oh, you (and Phyllis) are too hilarious! My favorite poem is your parody of WCW. Brilliant! I'm sorry I wasn't able to write a proper poem for you. So here's what I can do in a pinch:

    There once was a groundhog named Phyllis
    Who thought winter wanted to kill us.
    She hid in her hole
    With a heaping white bowl
    Of chocolate 'til spring was upon us.

    Now, I know this has nothing to do with the book, but I was determined to write something that rhymed (OK, slant-rhymed) with Phyllis and included a mention of Phyllis's (well, maybe your) favorite food. And yes, I know I cheated with “us,” but I couldn't work in “trellis” no matter how hard I tried. Just too many syllables in the last line if I still wanted to include “chocolate.”

    So there it is. Happy Birthday, Phyllis!

  4. Mike Allegra writer says:

    Color issue. Are you calling me a chocolate racist?!

    A flavor issue, silly! My wife likes dark chocolate and my son like milk chocolate — so the Allegra family covers all the bases.

  5. Vivian Kirkfield says:

    Oh yum! So glad Phyllis is so picky…because we got so many treats today! I just love your post, Susanna…the back and forth with Phyllis was engaging and entertaining…and I needed that – what with the HUGE blizzard we are having AGAIN. ENOUGH ALREADY!!!! I am tired of SNOW!
    I've added my link…hope you and Phyllis enjoy my poem. 🙂 With many apologies to Edgar Allen Poe!

  6. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    I considered it seriously but refrained – I thought it might sound a little harsh 🙂 And I'm glad your bases are covered, but white chocolate isn't really chocolate… it's really just sweet… just sayin' 🙂

  7. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    I'm glad you enjoyed it, Vivian, and the cake! 🙂 I'm sorry about your blizzard – we're getting dumped on too! It's a miracle I still have internet – I expect to lose it at any moment! Can't WAIT to read your poem, but if it takes me a while to get over there, know that it is not lack of enthusiasm but lack of internet 🙂

  8. Pamela Courtney says:

    Susanna, I LOVE that you shared with us an intimate peek at the relationship you and your tween Phyllis have. You two are a hoot. A hoot! Too funny. And that dessert. I thank you most graciously. Your poem won, I think. Although Phyllis gave you a run for your money. I'm having fun reading all the posts celebrating Phyllis.

  9. :Donna Marie says:

    That was SO entertaining, Susanna and Phyllis! 😀 What way to celebrate your 10th birthday 🙂 I can see there are a LOT of poems here I have yet to read, and in comparison, my little ditty is quite short! Maybe the equivalent to just one balloon 😉

    Oh, Punxsutawney Phyllis,

    In bed your Uncle Phil is.

    There he did stay,

    On Groundhog Day.

    And for all we know, he STILL is!

    Happy Birthday, Phyllis! And as a little something extra, you may want to check this out. You were sort of mentioned, too! 😀


  10. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Are you kidding, Jilanne? Your limerick is awesome! And I'm laughing because when I stared trying to write a limerick where the first line ended with Phyllis, I was thinking about “kill us” for the second line too – but my second line wasn't nearly as good as yours! And then I got stuck… 🙂 Thank you for the wonderful poem, the chocolate, and the birthday wishes! Happy Groundhog Day to you! 🙂

  11. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    I'm so glad you enjoyed it, Pam 🙂 And thank you for saying my poem won! Did you hear that Phyllis? Pam AND Kathy said I won! 🙂 Help yourself to second desserts and enjoy all the other amazing poems, pictures and videos for Phyllis – everyone is so awesome and talented (not to mention generous to join in the fun!) Happy Groundhog Day, and regards to General Beauregard Lee 🙂

  12. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Ode to Phyllis by Sarah Crist

    Phyllis Phyllis brown and fair

    You sleep through winter with no care.

    Your turning ten that is not bad

    You have no wrinkles I am glad.

    Your face so furry and so sweet

    Please make winter for us retreat.

    Your pants are blue and top is white

    You jump over streams with all you might.

    Dear Phyllis to you a Happy Birthday

    For spring will come, just not today.

  13. Michelle Kogan says:

    Hi Susanna have been enjoying your groundhog Bonanza Extravaganza on and off throughout the Day! It's been so great… Actually kept me from some of my work. Many thanks for your lively wit, poems and posts!!! Happy Groundhog Day!

  14. pennyklostermann says:

    Happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy birthday!

    Yes, that's happy times ten!
    And for you, my dear Phyllis
    I'll do it again!

    Happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy birthday!

    What a celebration! You and Phyllis had me laughing, Susanna! Your poetry dual was hilarious!

    Thanks for serving up the cutest chocolate treats ever! I especially enjoyed my cupcake! Yum!

  15. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    I have SEEN it! Phyllis has seen it! We are blown away! Amazing and awesome! You and Mr. Ed are so talented. Phyllis wanted to leave immediately to come visit you, but I said we couldn't because we have a school visit tomorrow and we have to get our beauty sleep. But maybe after that…! 🙂

  16. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Thank you for all the good wishes, Pat! And you know, I would not be at all surprised if Phyllis backtracked on her prediction. I'm really not sure she gave it a fair shake, because there was definitely no shadow! Happy Groundhog Day! 🙂

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