April 16, 2014

Would You Read It Wednesday #129 - Roy G. Biv And The Amazing Castle Moat (PB)

Sometimes a box arrives on your doorstep.

If it looks like this

you know it is a very very good kind of box!!!

When you open it, you'll see this

and then this

and then this

and finally - squeeeeeeee! -


Please, help yourselves!

And thank you, Kirsten, for your very thoughtful gift!  I'd like to say there were some left, but that would just be lying :)  I can say in complete truthfulness, however, that they were delicious!!! :)

Now that we are all happily munching on the proverbial bonbons, let's have a round of applause (because it would be impolite to yell "Congratulations!" with a mouth full of Godiva chocolate truffles!) for the winner of the March Pitch Pick which is. . .

with her pitch for Sk8r Boy!!!

Congratulations, Ann!  Your pitch has been sent to editor Erin Molta for her thoughts.  I'm sure you'll hear from her shortly.

And congratulations to our other brave pitchers who also did a terrific job!  I hope you all gained from the Would You Read It experience, and I also hope you'll take a few extra congratulatory truffles :)  Best of luck with your stories!

Now then.  Onward!

Today's pitch comes to us from Charlotte who says, "When I was a little girl, a childless older couple who lived across the street gave me an oversized picture book, written in wonderful rhyming couplets.  More than a half century later, I can still recite the entire story of “The Children That Lived in a Shoe” from memory, as I visualize the pictures of the cherub-like little ones going about their daily routines. I still love this book.  Twenty-first century children deserve access to their own favorite stories that will endure for them throughout their lifetimes. I keep this in mind when I work on my PB manuscripts."

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Roy G. Biv And The Amazing Castle Moat
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 5-8)
The Pitch: Sophie senses there’s magic in the world of nature, while Sam is more of a what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of kid. She likes building fairy houses but agrees to help her brother construct his sand fortress.  When a sudden summer rainstorm spares their beach castle, the overflowing moat delivers a surprise visitor, Roy G. Biv.  Sam thinks someone is playing a trick on him when he hears the guest’s voice share a rhyming, rhythmic poem about the rainbow’s colors. Sophie is delighted at how Sam finds out that Roy G. Biv is not only rather magical, but is also real.

So what do you think?  Would You Read It?  YES, MAYBE or NO?

If your answer is YES, please feel free to tell us what you particularly liked and why the pitch piqued your interest.  If your answer is MAYBE or NO, please feel free to tell us what you think could be better in the spirit of helping Charlotte improve her pitch.  Helpful examples of possible alternate wordings are welcome.  (However, I must ask that comments be constructive and respectful.  I reserve the right not to publish comments that are mean because that is not what this is about.)

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  There are openings in July so you've got a little time to polish up your pitches and send yours for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Charlotte is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to the upcoming Illustrators Contest which is barely a week away now!  It will open on Thursday April 24th!  I am really, really hoping that at least a few people will enter, because I would so love to see how they bring the amazing March Madness Writing Contest winners' ideas to life!  Please feel free to spread the word to all your illustrator friends and join me in looking forward to visiting some new blogs, getting to know some fabulously talented new people, and seeing some amazing art!!!

In the hope that you CAN actually teach an old dog new tricks, let's try this and see if it works.  At all.  For anyone! :)

Tweet: Children's illustrator contest opens April 24! Great prizes! @SusannaLHill #illustration #kidlitart

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! :)


April 14, 2014

Have A Happy Day!

Due to my advanced age, I'm taking the day off (from blogging - not everything else :)) :)

Have some cake on me :)

Then have a wonderful day doing the things you love most with the people you love most!

Then come back and have some more cake :)



April 11, 2014

Perfect Picture Book Friday - Extraordinary Jane

Woo-hoo!  It's Friday!

Doesn't Friday just automatically make you happy?

I think Fridays are just a little bit magic and have an advantage over the other days of the week :)

My plan for this weekend includes baking birthday cake for my step-daughter and babysitting for my granddaughters so she and her husband can have a little much-deserved-no-kids-couple-time.  Lucky me - I totally win out!  I see acorn and stick collecting, painting, play-doh, sidewalk chalk, tea parties, hide-and-seek, and being a pony in my weekend :)

And I'm thinking I will share this book - my PPBF pick for this week - because it is so cute and sweet!

Title: Extraordinary Jane
Written & Illustrated By: Hannah E. Harrison
Dial, February 2014, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 3-8

Themes/Topics: being yourself

Opening: "Jane was ordinary in a world that was extraordinary."

Brief Synopsis: Jane is a little dog who lives at the circus.  She's not graceful like her mother, mighty like her father, daring like her brothers, or fearless like her sisters.  She's just Jane.  But you don't have to be graceful or mighty or daring or fearless to be special.

Links To Resources: together with your child or class, make a list of things you think everyone would agree are extraordinary, like being brave or strong.  Do you have any of those qualities? Does your child or the members of your class?  Talk about what extraordinary really means.  Make a new list of things that could be considered extraordinary, like helping an elderly neighbor take out the recycling, or being kind to the new kid in class.  Who has these qualities?  Talk about what makes you like people - probably things like they're nice, or they make you laugh.  Can those things be considered special?  What can you do today to make the world a better place just by being you?  Would pair nicely with Ordinary Mary's Extraordinary Deed by Emily Pearson.

Why I Like This Book: This is one of those delightfully simple and sweet books that I just love!  Let's face it - lots of us feel ordinary.  So many kids can relate to the idea of worrying that they might not measure up in today's world of high expectations.  This sweet story reminds us - kids, parents, and teachers alike - that we are all extraordinary in our own way, and that we are all special to somebody.  The art is bright and colorful.  Some of the spreads are humorous (in particular the balancing ball incident  and the page after it :)) and the last one is guaranteed to make you say "Aww!" :)

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

So what are you all planning for this weekend (besides a trip to the library to read all the great books that are sure to show up on this week's PPBF list)?

PPBF bloggers, please leave your post-specific links on the list below so we can all come visit and make our library lists :)

Have a great weekend, everyone!!! :)


April 9, 2014

Would You Read It Wednesday #128 - Sammy Dougie Foxtrot: Look, Smile, Roar (PB) PLUS Straight From The Editor PLUS the March Pitch Pick

My goodness we have a busy day today!

Good thing I gave you Monday off to rest up :)

First up, we have Straight From The Editor for Kristine, the February Pitch Winner.  You will recall her pitch:

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 5-8)
The Pitch: Sophia wants to win the school science fair, but when her project won’t cooperate, she uses perseverance and teamwork to bring home the goal, proving that every girl can be a STEM girl.
Here are editor Erin Molta's comments:

This is a great premise and goodness knows, we definitely need more books about girls succeeding in science, technology, engineering and math. However, in order for this to catch an editor’s eye, you need to put a little more spark into it. It’s very generic right now. What is her science project? How was it not cooperating? Was she snubbed because she was a girl and had something to prove? It seems to infer that, but the focus in your pitch is on perseverance and teamwork, whereas it should be more specific. Think of the one thing that she did to get everyone to help her OR why her project was failing and base your pitch around that. And if there’s humor—see if you can get that in, too.

As always, I find Erin's comments so helpful and insightful!

Now, after all that education, we should probably have a snack :)  Something Chocolate anyone?  I'm in a cupcake mood. And this one is kind of cheerful and spring-like as well as luscious and chocolate, don't you think? :)
Scrumptious! :)

Now that we're all fortified, let's take a look at the awesome pitches from March and see which lucky writer is going to get her pitch reviewed by Erin.

#1 Karen - Puddles And Rainbows (PB ages 4-6)
Growing up is hard, but learning to rain might just prove harder. Either way, this Little Cloud needs plenty of patience and determination. A colorful discovery makes it all worthwhile.

#2 Ann - Sk8r Boy (PB ages 5-8)
Peter wants to be an ice skater but can’t because he’s homeless, and he doesn’t have the money for a pair of skates. But when there’s a poetry contest at school with a small cash prize, he may be able to make his smooth words glide and spin so that he can buy the skates and win his classmates’ respect.

#3 Beth - Martin's Perfect Web (PB ages 5-7)
In a quest to build a perfect web, a fussy spider confronts his biggest fears through an unlikely friendship with an inquisitive dragon.  Laurent the dragon takes Martin on a wild ride on his tail.  No one is more surprised at the ending than this stubborn intractable spider who finally learns how to relax, and enjoy the simple process of creating.

Please vote for the pitch you feel most deserves a read by editor Erin Molta in the poll below by Sunday April 13 at 5PM EDT.

Many thanks!!!

Today's pitch comes to us from Morgan who says. "I am an aspiring children's book writer, a licensed school psychologist, and a mother of two boys (ages 1 1/2 and 3), with another on the way. Reading and writing emotional literacy is my passion. I also enjoy writing social stories and making reward charts for fun!" 

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Sammy Dougie Foxtrot: Look, Smile, Roar
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)
The Pitch: Boogie along with Sammy Dougie Foxtrot and his trusted lion, PJ, on their courageous playground adventure. When PJ gets stuck in a sycamore tree, Sammy is scared: “The kind of scared when brakes on a truck screech, it’s dirt dumps, and it is as stiff as stabilizer legs.”Sammy discovers the true meaning of courage: that one can feel scared and brave at the same time. Even though the children at the playground look different, Sammy looks, smiles, and roars, bravely asking for their help. Find out if Sammy and the playground crew can work together to rescue PJ. “Look, Smile, Roar” enhances 4 to 8 year olds emotional literacy through the use of their imaginations. While entertaining, Sammy and PJ also emphasize tolerance and acceptance to promote early intervention. Oh, and I forgot to mention, they love to have fun! 

So what do you think?  Would You Read It?  YES, MAYBE or NO?

If your answer is YES, please feel free to tell us what you particularly liked and why the pitch piqued your interest.  If your answer is MAYBE or NO, please feel free to tell us what you think could be better in the spirit of helping Morgan improve her pitch.  Helpful examples of possible alternate wordings are welcome.  (However, I must ask that comments be constructive and respectful.  I reserve the right not to publish comments that are mean because that is not what this is about.)

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  There are openings in July so you've got a little time to polish up your pitches and send yours for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Morgan is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to the upcoming Illustrators Contest!  I really am!  Of course, we might not have any entries, but if we DO, think how awesome they will be!  I can't wait to see what our talented friends come up with to bring the March Madness Contest Winners' stories to life!  I have to learn how to do those convenient "tweet this" thingies - then I could helpfully put one here and make it so easy for all you guys to spread the word. I'll add it to my to-do list. . . which is exceedingly long. . . so don't hold your breath for convenient tweet thingies :)

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone! :)


April 7, 2014

Enjoy The Day!

Good Morning, Everyone!

I hope you all had a lovely weekend!

Saturday was cold, rainy, and windy, but yesterday, for the first time, it felt like spring was coming.  The peepers are out, and that's always a good sign :)

Now it's Monday.  We all have a busy week ahead.  And things have been pretty busy and hectic on this blog for the last couple weeks so I thought to myself, we could probably all use a break!

So, grab a good book and a cup of tea, hot or iced, settle yourself in right here,

and enjoy the day :)

If you really NEED something to do, ponder the upcoming Illustrators Contest which promises to be tons of fun and spread the word to any illustrators you know :)

See you Wednesday for Would You Read It and Straight From The Editor!

Have a marvelous Monday everyone :)


April 4, 2014

Perfect Picture Book Friday - Sparky

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, Everyone!

It's been a couple weeks!

What with the March Madness Writing Contest and all the long posts for the finalists and the winners, etc., I think we could all use a break.  So today I'm going to do my best to be brief :)

I hope you all enjoy this picture book as much as I do :)

Title: Sparky
Written By: Jenny Offill
Illustrated By: Chris Appelhans
Schwartz & Wade Books, March 2014, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: age 3-8

Themes/Topics: pets, being yourself

Opening: "I wanted a pet. A bird or a bunny or a trained seal.  My mother said no to the bird.  No to the bunny. No no no to the trained seal."

Brief Synopsis: A little girl's mother says she can have any pet she wants as long as it doesn't need to be walked or bathed or fed.  So the little girl finds just the pet to fit the requirements... A sloth... whom she names Sparky :)

Here the girl plays with Sparky and introduces us to Mary Potts

Links To Resources: Talk about what makes a good pet; discuss the pros and cons of various pets, 10 Popular Small Pets, Best Pets For Kids slideshow, Rainforest Classroom Activities, read with "Slowly, slowly, slowly," said the Sloth by Eric Carle, or perhaps with other picture books about more boisterous pets for comparison.

Why I Like This Book: I love Sparky.  He's so cute!  And so sleepy and slow :)  And I admire any child who can come up with a pet that doesn't break the rules of not needing to be walked or bathed or fed.  The girl tries to play games with Sparky, but with the exception of Statues he's not much good at them.  In response to annoying Mary Potts from across the street she tries to teach him tricks to show what a good pet he is.  But aside from excelling at playing dead he's not much good at that either.  But you know what? She doesn't care.  For her, Sparky is "it" :)  And what a nice message that pets can just be loved for who they are.

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

How'd I do?  Brief enough? :)

PPBF bloggers, please leave your post-specific link in the list below so we can all come see what you picked and make our library lists for the weekend :)

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! :)


April 2, 2014

Would You Read It Wednesday # 127 - Dead Trees Don't Need Water (PB)

Happy Wednesday Everyone!

And Happy Children's Book Day!

(It's also National Peanut Butter & Jelly Day - very kid-friendly, but maybe not great to mix with books :))

I'm happy to report that it is officially April here on Blueberry Hill... probably wherever you are too :)

It is a well-known fact that April is the best month of the year, due to April Fool, Phyllis (and also April Fools Day :)), Earth Day, Arbor Day, usually Easter (which I know is not technically about chocolate but still...), Blah Blah Blah Day (which we certainly couldn't do without!), the fact that it is National Welding Month (and you all know what a big part of my life welding is... not :)) and the celebrity birthdays of certain pretty-much-famous people who shall remain nameless :)

Plus, it has such a pretty sound.  April.  So pleasing to the ear.

Really.  What's not to love about April? :)

But let's hearken back to the bygone days of February and March for one second.

Due to the March Madness Writing Contest preempting WYRI last week, I didn't get to announce the winner of the February Pitch Pick, so. . .

prup prup-pr prup-prup pr prup!

(that was a trumpet call in case you didn't quite catch it)

. . . the February Pitch Pick Winner was Kristine with her pitch for The STEM Girls Take Off!  Congratulations, Kristine!  Your pitch has been sent to editor Erin Molta for her thoughts, and I'm sure you will hear from her shortly :)

Congratulations also to our other brave pitchers, all of whom had wonderful story ideas and well-written pitches!  Good luck to all of you with your stories!

Now.  How about Something Chocolate?  These are festive and spring-like and practically totally healthy since they are mostly strawberry and only part chocolate :)
Help yourselves :)
Today's pitch comes to us from Frances, who says, "I began writing children’s stories many, many years ago, but I got sidetracked by needing to make a living!  Now that my son has started college, I feel I have the time to devote myself to my passion for children’s literature once again.  I have an MFA in Creative Writing, and I have been writing and editing professionally for about 30 years.  I currently work as a freelance editor and am a member of SCBWI, Children’s Books Insider, and Julie Hedlund’s 12x12 Forum."

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Dead Trees Don't Need Water
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)
The Pitch: Peter wants to be friends with Asbury the tree, but when he finds out that Asbury will be cut down, he comes up with a plan to save Asbury.  In the process Peter  discovers a very special gift that he and Asbury can share forever.  

So what do you think?  Would You Read It?  YES, MAYBE or NO?

If your answer is YES, please feel free to tell us what you particularly liked and why the pitch piqued your interest.  If your answer is MAYBE or NO, please feel free to tell us what you think could be better in the spirit of helping Frances improve her pitch.  Helpful examples of possible alternate wordings are welcome.  (However, I must ask that comments be constructive and respectful.  I reserve the right not to publish comments that are mean because that is not what this is about.)

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  There are openings in July so you've got a little time to polish up your pitches and send yours for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Frances is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to all the awesomeness that is April!  I expect robins on my lawn and hyacinth blossoms beside the mudroom porch any second now! (Not because it's likely, just because I'm ready :))

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone! :)


April 1, 2014

Announcing The First Ever Illustrators Contest!!!

Whoopeee!  Yahooo!

I'm excited!

Can you tell I'm excited?

It's because I'm about to launch a new hare-brained scheme and you guys are all going to get to be part of it!

(And no, just because it's April 1st and we just had a contest, this is NOT an April Fool.  I just couldn't add this to yesterday's Winner Celebration Post or tomorrow's WYRI!)

I've been thinking for a while that children's authors get all the fun.  Contests and prizes and being able to claim top finishes in Pretty Much World Famous Writing Contests. . .

It isn't entirely fair.

In the world of picture books, authors are only half the story.

We couldn't do what we do without our illustrators!

I think it's high time to let the illustrators have some fun and a contest and prizes and be able to claim top finishes in a Pretty Much World Famous Illustration Contest!

So that's what we're going to do!

Are you ready?


The First Ever Pretty-Much-World-Famous Illustration Contest!!!
the fact that this particular illustrator resembles a female
is in no way meant to deter any male illustrators! :)

The ContestDraw/Paint a children's picture book cover illustration (no text required - art only) for one of the following stories (which you will recognize as the top finishers in the March Madness Fractured Fairy Tale Writing Contest - a little extra surprise for those authors :)):

 - The Three Wiggly Worms Bluff by Wendy Greenley
 - Goldilockup by Mike Allegra
 - Goldibawks And The Three Pairs by Dawn Young
 - The Sweetie Witch by Pen Avey
 - The Princess And The Stinky Cheese by Lauri Meyers
 - Mongoose's Holi Party by Darshana Khiani
 - The "Princess" And The Pete by Jennifer Caritas
 - The Jackrabbit Who Cried Gila Monster by Elliah Terry

Illustrations should be 8x10, horizontal or vertical, any medium, posted in jpg at least 72 px
All stories can be read on the March Madness Finalist Post HERE so you will know what to illustrate :)

Post:  Your entry should be posted on your blog between Thursday April 24 at 5 AM EDT and Monday April 28 at 9 PM EDT, and your post-specific link should be added to the link list on my Thursday April 24 post which will remain up through Tuesday April 29 so that people can come visit and enjoy your gorgeous artwork!  (No PPBF on Friday April 25, no new post on Monday April 28, but there will be a brief interruption for WYRI on Wednesday April 30 because I forgot to leave it open for the contest :)).  If you don't have a blog but would like to enter, please copy and paste your entry into the comments of my April 24 post.  (If anyone has trouble commenting, which unfortunately happens, you may email me and I'll post your entry for you!  Also, since this is the first time we've done an illustration contest, I'm not sure if you actually CAN paste your entry into the comments.  If this turns out to be the case, email them to me and I'll add them directly to my April 24 post.)

Judging:  entries will be judged by multi-talented, award-winning author/illustrators Iza Trapani, author and illustrator of over 20 gorgeous picture books, and Lisa Thiesing, author and illustrator of at least 16 beautiful and fun picture books and early readers!   Judging criteria to include:

 - is the picture readable to a young audience,
 - how well does it show the character(s) and
 - is the character(s) appealing (character development),
 - does it make you want to read the story,
 - originality
 - skill.

They will narrow down the entrants to 6 finalists (or possibly a couple more or less depending on the number of entries :)) which will be posted here on Thursday May 1 for you to vote on for a winner.  The vote will be closed at 5PM EST on Sunday May 4 and the winner will be announced on Monday May 5.  (No PPBF on Friday May 2.)

The Prizes!:  There will definitely be a 1st prize.  Whether we give prizes for 1st only, 1st-3rd, or 1st-6th will depend on how many entries we get.

First Prize is absolutely amazing!  A portfolio critique by celebrated author/illustrator Michael Garland, who has over 20 picture books to his credit!!!

 - Second Prize - a $50 gift certificate to Dick Blick Art Materials
 - Third, Fourth & Fifth Prize will be winner's choice of one of the following books:
      - Writing With Pictures by Uri Shulevitz
      - 2014 Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market by Chuck Sambuchino

 - Sixth Prize - sketch pads/pencils

Illustrators, we can't wait to see what you've got in store for us!

Everyone else (authors, parents, teachers, librarians, farm equipment retailers, etc. :)) think how much fun it's going to be so see what the illustrators come up with!

You've got three weeks, illustrators!

On your mark, get set, GO!!! :)


March 31, 2014

The 2014 March Madness Contest Winners!!!

Oh. My. Goodness!

That was the closest, most hotly contested race for a winner we've ever had!

I hope that means that my assistant judges and I made good choices for the finalists! :)

The MarcMadness Writing Contest!

I admit it - I get all the fun.  Sitting in the judge's chair, watching the votes come in, seeing first one person and then another in the lead, biting my nails when there are ties, waiting on pins and needles to see who will emerge victorious....

Normally I'd string you along and tease you for a while, but I'm too wiped out by this whole roller-coaster process.

Truly, it is not for the faint of heart.

Up one minute, down the next.  Nerves stretched like bow strings.

A person less physically fit than myself (haha snort! - can't say THAT with a straight face after this winter :)) might suffer palpitations!

And speaking of palpitations, I had them aplenty when her royal highness, Miss Scouty Brown, came sauntering back in the house this morning having found something dreadful to roll in!  "What is that SMELL???!!!" all the children shrieked!

Fortunately, we are in the midst of a small flood which, aside from making the basement a delightful place for canoeing, means that there is a lot of water outside.  Scouty was able to enjoy her first swim of the year... twice... with the fortuitous result that she returned from our walk refreshed and smelling mostly like wet dog instead of Something Yucky.

But wait.

What were we talking about?

Oh yes!

The contest!

So, who won?

Oh!  I'm supposed to tell you!




I'm really going to tell.

We had 75 fantastic entries, which we winnowed down by hook or by crook, to the best of our ability, to 10 fabulous finalists.

Y'all voted for your favorites.

And the winner of the 2014 March Madness Writing Contest, who gets to send the picture book manuscript of her choice to none other than the renowned children's literary agent, Karen Grencik of Red Fox Literary is. . .

duhn duhn duhn

dddddrrrrruuuuummmmm rrrrrooooollllllllll pppppllllleeeeeaaaaassssseeeee!!!!!

Wendy Greenley
with her clever Three Wiggly Worms Bluff!!!

Congratulations on a wonderful story, Wendy!  I think it's clear that a LOT of people really enjoyed it! :)

Now, I wasn't kidding when I said this contest was hotly contested.  I kept asking for votes this weekend, hoping the ties would get broken, but not all of them did.

So, for 2nd place we had a tie between

Mike Allegra
with the fantabulous Goldilockup!


Dawn Young
with the hilarious Goldibawks!

Congratulations Mike and Dawn, on two terrific and very different twists on Goldilocks!  Lori and Cori have generously agreed to each give a critique instead of just one or the other, so you will each get a picture book critique by a fantastic author!

In 3rd place, guess what?  Another tie!  This time between

Pen Avey
with her delicious Sweetie Witch


Lauri Meyers
with her daring Princess And The Stinky Cheese!

Congratulations, Pen and Lauri!  I will prevail upon Corey to tire her signing hand by signing copies of her books for both of you! :)  And you may email me about your gift cards.

4th place goes to

Darshana Khiani
with her delightful Mongoose's Holi Party!

Congratulations, Darshana, on a truly original tale!  You may choose the two picture books you'd like from the prize list.  (I'll tack it on the bottom of the post for easy reference :)) And email me about your gift card.

In 5th place,

Jennifer Caritas (hope I've got that right...!)
with another forthright heroine in The "Princess" And The Pete!

Congratulations on a terrific story, Jennifer!  You may also choose the two picture books you'd like from the prize list below and email me about your gift card.

And in 6th place,

Elliah Terry
with her fun southwestern Jackrabbit Who Cried Gila Monster!

Congratulations, Elliah!  I bet that gila monster is still running from the coyote :) You will receive a personalized sighed copy of SNORING BEAUTY by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen!

All the winners should email me to work out prize details!

But now, we are not quite done.

Because, like I said, this was a hotly contested contest.  My assistant judges and I had quite a few other favorites that we felt couldn't quite make the finalist list for one reason or another, but we all thought they were worthy of recognition.  So the following people (in no particular order) receive our heartfelt Honorable Mention!

Gaye Hemsley - Chocolate Muffins
Joanne Roberts - Goldi And The Three Squirrels
Vivian Kirkfield - Singerella
Katie Gast - Little Dead Riding Hood
Katie Cullinan - The Three Little Easter Bunnies
Jen Doherty - The Mischievous Fire Truck
Laura Shovan - The 12 Clumsy Princesses
Margaret Greenias - The Big, Bad-Mannered Wolf
Angela Turner - The Belle And The Sticker Burrs
Cheryl Secomb - Little Red Rider
Robert Schechter - Humpty
Erik Weibel - The Once Upon A Times
Rachel - Handsome And Gretchin

Congratulations to all of you on stories that were original, fun, and very entertaining!  You may all choose one of the following as a prize: (titles are links so you can check them out)

Kindle Edition - The Nuts & Bolts Guide To Writing Picture Books by Linda Ashman
Kindle Edition - Picture Books The Write Way by Laura Purdie Salas & Lisa Bullard
Kindle Edition - How To Write A Children's Picture Book by Darcy Pattison
Kindle Edition - The Easy Way To Write Picture Books That Sell by Robin Opie Parnell
Kindle Edition - How To Promote Your Children's Book: Tips, Tricks and Secrets To Create A Bestseller by Katie Davis

Paperback - Writing Magic: Creating Stories That Fly by Gail Carson Levine (also available for Kindle)
Paperback - How To Write A Novel: 47 Rules For Writing A Stupendously Awesome Novel That You Will Love Forever by Nathan Bransford (also available for Kindle)
Paperback - The Plot Skeleton by Angela Hunt (also available for Kindle)

Please email me and let me know your preference!

Congratulations to everyone who entered a story in this contest.  You all did an amazing job!  My assistant judges and I loved every story for one reason or another.  And I think it's fair to say that you entertained a LARGE number of readers!

Thank you so much to everyone who visited blogs, read, commented, and voted - these contests couldn't happen without you!

And thank you to the generous people who donated prizes - Karen Grencik, Lori Degman, and Cori Doerffeld - you're what everyone tries so hard for and you bring out the best in the writing community!

It's been another fun contest, and I thank you all!

I was going to announce the upcoming first ever * Illustrator Contest * today, but this post is too long already, and I really don't want to distract from the winners' moment in the spotlight, so I will either write a special Tuesday post for tomorrow or tack it onto the Would You Read It post on Wednesday.

So congratulations again to all the winners for all their wonderful stories, and to everyone who wrote a story for this contest.  You are all winners just for showing up, writing something new, and practicing your craft!

Have a marvelous Monday, everyone! :)

List of Prizes:

 - 1st Prize is a read and critique by Karen Grencik of Red Fox Literary!!! (Unless for some reason you don't want a read and critique by an agent, in which case you may swap for any of the other prizes)

 - 2nd Prize is a picture book manuscript critique (for rhyming mss only) by Lori Degman, author of 1 ZANY ZOO and the forthcoming COCK-A-DOODLE-OOPS! OR a picture book manuscript critique (for non-rhyming mss only) by Cori Doerrfeld, author/illustrator of LITTLE BUNNY FOO FOO and PENNY LOVES PINK as well as illustrator of many others.

 - 3rd Prize is personalized signed copies of THE THREE NINJA PIGS and GOLDI ROCKS & THE THREE BEARS by Corey Rosen Schwartz PLUS a $25 Amazon Gift Card

 - 4th and 5th Prizes are your choice of any two of the following picture books PLUS a $20 Amazon Gift Card:
     - LITTLE RED WRITING by Joan Holub
     - THE PRINCESS AND THE PEAS by Caryl Hart

 - 6th Prize (which just skated in under the wire - thank you Sudipta!) is a personalized signed copy of hot-off-the-presses SNORING BEAUTY by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen


March 27, 2014

March Madness Writing Contest Finalists!!!

I know you've all been on tenterhooks, waiting with bated breath, counting the minutes until you find out which of the amazing fractured fairy tales entered in the March Madness Writing Contest made the finals!

Well, I'd love to tell you, but we couldn't decide.

The MarcMadness Writing Contest!

Just kidding :)  We decided... in the end... but it was nearly the end of us, and I'm not sure who will be living happily ever after!

We agonized.


We've done nothing but eat, sleep and breathe fairy tales for the last 3 days solid.  (Well, not counting a school visit on Tuesday which took me out of the judging room for a large portion of the day.)  And we stayed up WAY past our bedtimes last night (which is likely to result in a challenging school visit today!), evaluating and re-evaluating, weighing kid-friendliness, story quality, creativity, and originality, good beginnings, good endings, and clever twists, stories for youngest readers, middle grade readers, and teen readers.

We had entries that moved down out of the finalists short list and back up.  We had entries that were incredibly creative and well-written but weren't quite stories.  We had entries that were great ideas but their plots didn't quite hang together.  We had entries we loved until the last two sentences.  We had a couple that even the judge who usually goes for such things thought were a little too dark.  We had entries we loved that we thought were a little too adult or that had elements of humor we thought were too adult for the rest of the story.  And we had a LOT of entries that were great but we felt just lacked that certain something to put them quite over the top onto the list... and that of course is subjective to some degree, so another group of judges might have chosen differently.

Any of you who had a chance to read through the entries will know how fantastic they were.  Across the board  you guys should all be so proud of yourselves!  Not only did you show up, you delivered!  And like I said, the choice was incredibly hard.

So, without further ado...

... let me give you a few statistics that I'm sure you'll find thrilling :)

In case you were wondering (admit it, you were), the fairy tale entries broke down as follows:

Goldilocks: 10
Red Riding Hood: 8
Cinderella: 5
Jack & Bean Stalk: 5
Mash-Up: 5
Princess & Pea: 4
Billy Goats Gruff: 4
Hansel & Gretel: 4
Nursery Rhyme-related: 4
3 Little Pigs: 3
Little Red Hen: 3
Boy Who Cried Wolf: 3
Sleeping Beauty: 2 (one of which was submitted by my husband and was therefore just for fun)
Gingerbread Man: 2 (one of which was mine, so technically not an entry :))
12 Dancing Princesses: 2
Emperor’s New Clothes: 1
Snow White: 1
Rapunzel: 1
Shoemaker & Elves: 1
Frog Prince: 1
Tortoise & Hare: 1

Also, the human eye blinks an everage of 4,200,000 times a year... since we're talking statistics :)

And now, without further ado...

Wait.  One more thing.

There were so many great entries we DID after much tearing of hair and rending of garments come up with a finalist list, but in order to do so we had to be incredibly picky about minute details.  Many of the stories we cut were fantastic... but for one tiny detail which dropped them out of contention.  So on Monday, when we announce the winners, we will also announce a list of 12 Honorable Mentions (a nice even dozen :)) who almost made the list and truly deserve recognition, and they will probably qualify for a little prize of some kind which I will think up over the weekend :)

VOTING:  Please read through these 10 amazing stories, choose the one you think most deserves to win, and vote for it in the poll below.  Stories are listed by number and title only - author's name deliberately omitted to help with objectivity in voting.  If you'd like to share this post on FB, twitter etc. so that the deserving finalists get more reads and votes, you are encouraged to do so, but I ask that you please not attempt to influence the vote by requesting people to vote for specific numbers or titles.   That is not in the spirit of the competition, and if I find out you've done it you will be disqualified.

And now, really without further ado...

...here are the 10 Finalists:

#1  The Three Wiggly Worms Bluff

“Melting snow is swamping the soil! Time to head to higher ground,” said Papa Worm.

Papa, Mama and Baby Worm squirmed to the surface and wiggled up the grassy slope to face—
the dreaded sidewalk.

“Ow! It’s rough,” said Baby.
“Go as fast as you can.” Mama gave him a pat. “And keep a lookout for birds.”

Baby wiggled as fast as he could.
But he was only halfway across when a robin swooped down.

“I’m going to gobble you up and take you to my babies!” the robin squawked.

“I’m a baby myself. Barely a bite, and not worth your flight. Mama is coming, she’s more than a morsel. Why don’t you wait for her?” said Baby.
The robin thanked Baby and sent him on his way.

When the coast looked clear, Mama wiggled as fast as she could.
But she was barely halfway across when the robin hopped out from a bush.
“I’m going to gobble you up and take you to my babies!” the robin squawked.

“I’d make an adequate dinner, but if you want to treat your babies to a feast you might want to wait for Papa worm. He’s coming next,” said Mama.
The robin thanked Mama and sent her on her way.

Papa did calisthenics, warming up his wiggle. Between the birds and the pavement heating up, He needed to be fast!

Papa wasn’t halfway across when the robin landed in his path.
“I’m going to gobble you up and take you to my babies!” the robin squawked. “You are plump perfection!”

“Is it true that the early bird gets the worm?” asked Papa.
“That’s true.” The robin opened wide.

“Stop! How do I know you’re the early bird? Maybe someone else is supposed to eat me,” said Papa.
A second bird saw its chance. “I was here first.”
“No, you weren’t!” the robin screeched.
“I’m the early bird!” they both insisted.
The two birds went beak to beak, pecking and pulling feathers.

While the birds quarreled, Papa wiggled,
across the concrete and—Ploop!—down a hole in the grass.

“No worm for the early bird today.” Papa hugged his family.
They wiggled down to enjoy their damp, but not flooded, springtime home. .

until summer heat baked the soil and they had to return across the sidewalk again.

#2  Sweetie Witch

A sweet old witch named Hilda
Lived deep in Toffee Wood,
Weaving magic, casting spells...
Some bad, but mostly good.
One day while dipping in a stream
To catch a moonlight pearl,
She heard a sob, and in a bush
There crouched a tearful girl.
"I beg you Miss, don't eat me!"
Pleaded little Gretel,
"My bones are dry, my flesh is thin,
My blood tastes yuck, like metal."
Hilda laughed and shook her head,
Though Gretel was suspicious.
"Why would I eat you dear
When my house tastes so delicious?"
The witch led Gretel through the trees
Into a fairy glade,
And Gretel's eyes grew round as hoops
At wonders there displayed.
A cottage built from gingerbread
And cake, instead of oak.
Up from the chocolate chimney pot
Rose cotton-candy smoke.
Brightly colored lollipops
In pots beside the door.
Honeycomb for roof tiles,
And sherbet on the floor.
A table made from liquorice,
With soft marshmallow chairs.
A rug of woven apple-whips,
And jelly-beans for stairs.
"The best part's round the back, my dear,"
Hilda trilled with glee,
"My sweetie tree makes anything - look -
I'm growing a muffin settee!"
When Gretel saw she gave a gasp
For on it her brother sat,
His mouth crammed full of muffin crumbs,
Stroking the witch's cat.
"Hello there, my name's Hansel,"
The foolish glutton said,
"Could you get me some milk to wash this down?"
Suddenly... the witch... saw RED!
"Oh, greedy boy!" yelled Hilda,
"You really are a hog!"
With that she waved her candy wand
And turned him to a frog.
Poor Gretel started weeping,
Which softened Hilda's heart,
And she turned her to a frog too
So they'd never be apart.
Now Hansel and Gretel live happily
In Hilda's little stream,
Diving down for moonlight pearls

And eating fly ice-cream.

#3  The Princess And The Stinky Cheese

"If you don't find a princess to marry soon," the Queen said, "I'll be forced to give the crown to the dog."

"Mother, your ridiculous "true princess" tests are the problem," Prince Plumbottom whined. "Let's see. Merida didn't feel the grain of rice in her pillow."

"Snored like a bear."

"Fiona couldn't taste donkey snot in her soup."

"Gobbled it down like a dragon."

"Even if a princess passed your test," Prince Plumbottom said, "Princesses are so boring. I want to marry a daring lass!"

"Very well, son. We will look for a true princess who is also daring. I know just the right test."

"Here comes a girl now, and she has a branch in her hair!" he clapped his hands. "This young woman has had an adventure."

The prince skipped over to the soaking wet maiden.  

"Hello, I'm Prince Plumbottom."

"Hello, I'm Princess Peabody," she said. "I was tracking a rattlesnake, but I fell into the river and now I'm quite lost."

"A rattlesnake? How daring!" the prince squealed. "Won't you join us for lunch?"

Princess Peabody wiped her muddy face with a napkin. She was about to blow her nose, but stopped when she heard the Queen whisper "Stinky Cheese Test" to the prince. She had heard of queens like this.  

"Cheese, dear?" the Queen asked.

"Oh, it's a lovely green," Princess Peabody said. "But it's not nearly stinky enough."

The prince beamed.

The Queen thumped on the table. "Cook! Bring the stinkier cheese!"

The cook held a handkerchief over her nose and presented the stinkier cheese.

"Yummy. It smells like an ogre's shoe," the princess said. "But my Kingdom has much stinkier cheese."

The Queen's face turned red. "Guards! Find the stinkiest cheese in the land!"

The knights returned with a metal trunk which smelled like a dragon's armpit.

"Open it!" the Queen commanded.

The knights closed their armor masks and reached with a sword to open the chest.  The stench was so horrific, so terrible, so... stinky that everyone fainted.

Everyone except Princess Peabody.

She fed the stinky cheese to the royal dog who didn't mind the smell at all. Then she blew her nose, finally clearing it of river mud.

The Queen came to and saw the empty cheese plate. "A true princess!"

Prince Plumbottom declared, "A daring princess!"

Burp! The dog agreed.

And they all lived stinkily ever after. 

#4  The Jackrabbit Who Cried Gila Monster

Torito’s brothers were sound asleep, 
but Torito . . . was as perky as a cactus.

Naps are no fun, he thought. He twiddled his ears until he got a wonderful idea.

“Help!” he cried. “There’s a Gila monster under our bed!”

Torito’s brothers jumped so high, they bumped the ceiling. Mama burst into the room, broom in hand. Torito giggled.

“Torito,” Mama said, grabbing the stuffed Gila monster he’d hidden, “YOU are supposed
to be asleep.” She handed him the toy and left.

Torito and his brothers snuggled into their bed. Soon his brothers were sound asleep, but
Torito . . . was as restless as a tumbleweed.

Naps are boring, he thought. I know . . .

“Help!” he cried. “There’s a Gila monster under our bed!”

Torito’s brothers cowered in the corner. Mama burst into the room. Torito laughed so hard, his sides ached.

“Torito J. Jackrabbit,” Mama said, grabbing the stuffed Gila monster, “YOU—”

“I tricked you!” Torito teased.

Mama crossed her arms. “It isn't nice to trick. Now go to sleep.” This time she kept the toy.

Torito and his brothers snuggled into their bed. Torito was as tired as a tortoise.

He closed his eyes.


Torito tore off his covers and peeked under the bed.

He gasped.

Two beady eyes stared back at him. Five sharp claws flexed on each hand. A long, purple tongue flickered out.

“Giiiiii-laaaaa monnnn-sterrrrr!” Torito yelled as he leaped into the closet.

His brothers didn’t move. They covered their ears and rolled over.

“Mama!” Torito screamed.

But Mama called back, “Go to sleep, Torito.”    

The Gila monster stretched its jaws. Torito’s heart raced. Suddently, he got a wonderful idea—he knew Mama wouldn’t like it—but he didn’t know what else to do.  

“Watch out!” Torito cried, “There’s a coyote in this closet!”

The Gila monster scoffed. “I’m not falling for that.”

Torito pulled the string on his stuffed coyote. Yarooooooooo! the toy howled.

The Gila monster hissed and scurried out the window. When he was far enough away, Torito called out, “I tricked you!”

“Torito . . .” Mama’s voice drifted from the kitchen.

“I know—it isn’t nice to trick.” (Unless it saves your life,) he thought. 

Clutching his stuffed coyote, Torito snuggled between his brothers.

Soon, he felt as calm as the desert sand and drifted off into a peaceful jackrabbit slumber. 

#5  Little Red Riding Hood And The Tiny Rude Bunny

Once upon a springtime, Little Red Riding Hood encountered a bunny nibbling grass near the forest path. He said, “Good morning, little girl. Where are you going?”
Now, Red knew she should not talk to strangers. She had talked to a wolf once, and had almost been eaten! But this was just a tiny bunny, so she said, “To grandmother’s house.”
“What’s in your basket?”
“Fancy eggs,” Red answered, showing him. The eggs sparkled like beautiful pink, blue, green, and gold gems. “We’re going to share them with the village children.”
“I want them!” The bunny grabbed at the basket. He was not a very polite bunny.
“No!” said Red. And off she went.
The bunny was angry. He wanted those eggs! He would trick her into giving them to him.
Over the river and through the woods, the bunny raced to Grandma’s house. And, because bunnies are very fast when they want to be, he got there well before Red.
Bunny knocked on the door. No one was home. So he ran inside, put on Grandma’s clothes, and jumped into her bed, just as Red got to the cottage.
She was suspicious immediately.
“Grandma, you look so small today.”
“People shrink as they age,” the bunny said. “It’s not nice to point it out.”
“What big ears you have.”
“Ears never stop growing. A polite girl wouldn’t mention it.”
“What big whiskers you have.”
“How rude!”
“What big teeth you have.”
That was the last straw for bunny. “The better to eat your eggs,” he said and jumped from the bed.
Red wasn’t scared. After all, this wasn’t a big, bad wolf, this was a tiny rude bunny. She picked him up by the scruff of his neck. “No,” she said. “In fact, as punishment, you can deliver these eggs to the children for us.”
“Good idea,” said Grandma, coming in and pulling out a wand. (Ever since the incident with the wolf, Grandma had been studying witchcraft as self-defence.) She cast a spell to make the bunny deliver the eggs.

But the bunny was tricky. Instead of giving the eggs to the children, he hid them around their houses. The next day he went back and stole the ones they’d missed. But the kids had so much fun that Grandma let the bunny keep his eggs, so long as he promised to hide more again next year.
#6  Goldibawks And The Three Pairs

Once upon a time there lived a mama duck, a daddy duck and junior duck.
One day after mama fixed seaweed stew they went out for a waddle while it cooled.
Meanwhile nearby, Goldibawks, a young chicken as yellow as the sun, who had just wandered out from the countryside, spotted an ad.
c/o National Chicken Athletic Association
Wattles wiggling, Golidbawks was eggstatic.  Back on the farm, the roosters refused to let her play. This was her chance to show those roosters in the coop that this chick can play hoop!
In a shirt, skirt and heels, Goldibawks needed gym clothes but she was too far from home. Just then she saw the ducks’ house. She knocked. No one answered. She tried the door and it opened so she let herself in.
Goldibawks looked around for gym shorts.
She found papa’s pair but they were too boring.
She found mama’s pair but they were too bright.
She found junior’s pair and they were just right, so she put them on.
Next Goldibawks looked for socks.
She found papa’s pair but they were too dingy.
She found mama’s pair but they were too white.
She found junior’s pair and they were just right, so she put them on.
Finally, Goldibawks looked for some cool kicks.
She found papa’s pair but they were too heavy.
She found mama’s pair but they were too light.
She found junior’s pair and they were just right, so she put them on.
Then the ducks burst in. Goldibawks hid.
“Somebody tried on my shorts, socks and sneakers,”  quacked papa duck.
“Somebody tried on my shorts, socks and sneakers,”  quacked mama duck.
“Somebody tried on my shorts, socks and sneakers, and still has them on,”  quacked junior duck.
With that, they spied Golidbawks, dressed in junior’s gear.
“I can eggsplain,” she clucked and told the ducks the whole story.
Eggcited for Goldibawks, the ducks escorted her to the arena.
Goldibawks joined the team alongside Charles Bawkley, Larry Byrd, Mag-chick Johnson and Michael Jord-hen.
She had a stellar game, with a dozen dunks , half a dozen assists and went twelve for twelve from the fowl line.

Her signature Goldibawks blocks and the team’s peck and roll offense led them to the NCAA championship game, which they won when Goldi tipped in the winning shot.
#7  Mongoose's Holi Party

[Holi – Spring festival of colors celebrated by Indians involving the throwing of colored water or powder on friends, family, and even strangers; Mor – peacock;
 Langur – monkey species
 Hathi – elephant
; Chaat – Indian snack food]
Mongoose jiggled. “Let’s throw a Holi party!”
Mor preened his feathers. “Yes, we MUST have a soiree.”
Langur swung from the banyan tree. “Yippee!”
Hathi stopped munching and tooted. “Party time.”
“Great!” said Mongoose. “Who will help me deliver the invitations?”
“Not I,” said Mor. “It’s time for my mud pack. I must look radiant for the party.”
“Not I,” said Langur. “My sneaky brothers might steal the invitations from me.”
“I’m still eating my second lunch. Maybe later?” said Hathi.
“I cannot wait til later.” Mongoose’s tail twitched. “I’ll deliver them myself.”
The next day Mongoose asked “Who will help me grind colors for the party?”
“Not I,” said Mor. “I cannot have my sapphire skin smudged before the party.”
“Not I,” said Langur. “My sneaky brothers might use the colors before the party.”
“It’s time for my water break. Maybe later?” said Hathi.
Mongoose bristled. Excuses. Excuses. “Fine. I’ll grind the colors myself.”
The day of the party Mongoose asked “Who will help me make chaat for the party?”
“Not I,” said Mor. “The cooking vapors will make my train droop.”
“Not I,” said Langur. “My sneaky brothers might switch the salt and sugar.”
“I will. It’s my snack time. I can help taste test,” said Hathi.
Mongoose fumed. “No thanks! I’ll make the chaat myself.”
The blazing sun was high in the sky. The guests arrived.
Mor preened his feathers “I’ve got my goggles. Let the Holi playing commence.”
Langur swung with his water blaster. “Yippee!”
Hathi trumpeted Toot-Toota-Too!
“No!” Mongoose pounded her tail. “I delivered the invitations. I ground the colors. I made the chaat. I ALONE will play Holi with my guests.”
Mor, Langur, and Hathi hid behind the trees.
They watched the guests laugh and tag each other with reds, yellows, and blues.
But then they heard … Eee-Eee-Eee.
Langur’s brothers had swooped down from the vines and sprinted away with the water tub.
“How will my guests clean-up?” bemoaned Mongoose.
“This is a catastrophe,” said Mor.
“Poor Mongoose. She worked so hard.” said Langur.
“We must help her,” said Hathi.
They came up with a plan. Mor made a new tub. Langur collected water from the river. And Hathi sprayed everyone clean.
“Thank you for helping our guests,” beamed Mongoose. “Who will help us eat the chaat?”
“We will!” said Mor, Langur, and Hathi.

And they did.

#8  Sleeping Beauty: Burn The Wheel, Spare The Barrel

After waiting a really, really, really long time a king and queen had a baby.
“To celebrate we’ll invite everyone in the kingdom, especially the fairies!”
But not the Dark Fairy.  It could be that they forgot, or maybe she was a downer and no one wanted her there.
If you are the only person not invited to a party, it’s not difficult to notice.  The Dark Fairy could hear music at the castle and see bonfires, and crowds.  Can you blame her for being mad?
“Curses red, yellow and green, she will prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and DIE at age 15!”
“I change it to a nap that ends in a kiss,” said another fairy.
“Burn every spinning wheel in the kingdom!” cried the king and queen.
The spinning wheels were burned.
“But how will we make clothes?” asked the king’s subjects.
You see, spinning wheels are used to create yarn and thread.  Yarn and thread are woven into fabric, and fabric is made into clothes.  No spinning wheels, no clothes.
“What will we wear?” asked the people.  “We can’t afford to buy clothes from other kingdoms!”
Soon everyone was wearing the strangest things.
“Does my wine barrel make me look fat?” asked a maid.
“I wouldn’t recommend suits of armor without underwear,” said a chaffed knight.
Storekeepers wore pots and pans.  Subjects grew out their hair.
“We best wear pots and pans too, so everyone will stop being mad at us,” said the king and queen.
When the princess was 14 years and 364 days old the king’s subjects had had enough.
“Our barrels give us splinters!”
“Pans are too heavy!”
“Let’s smuggle in a spinning wheel,” someone said, no one remembers who.
“Where do we hide it?”
“The one place the king and queen won’t look… the castle’s attic.”
The smugglers had forgotten about the princess.
The king and queen had too.  On the princess’ birthday they went on a date.
Exploring, the princess discovered a strange contraption in the attic.  “What an interesting machine, I think I’ll touch this sharp point.”
The princess pricked her finger on the spindle and fell into a deep sleep.
“We are in so much trouble,” said the smugglers.
“I’m not going to kiss her, I’m married.” one said.
“She’s already asleep so we can have spinning wheels now.” agreed the others.

And they did.

#9  The "Princess" And The Pete

Late in the evening, in cold April showers
A maiden on horseback approached Prince Pete’s towers
“I hate to be forward,” she said, “but I’m beat!”
“Would you have a place I could hide from this sleet?”
Her warm, friendly smile...
Her natural glow...
Now here was a person Pete wanted to know!
He asked her inside
His mom piled the bed up
To give her the test that had Pete truly fed up
“This pea stuff!” Pete spluttered. “You’re always so pushy!”
“Who cares if the girl has a sensitive tushy?!”
But he knew that his mom glorified the elite
So to marry this girl he might just have to cheat
So just when his houseguest was washing her face
He took out the pea...
And put a squash in its place
But next morning, weirdly, the girl simply said
“I’m really enjoying this mile-high bed!”
The queen looked annoyed. “Not a princess, I see.” 
The worried prince begged her for leniency.
And later when evening was starting to fall
He switched out the squash for his dad’s bowling ball
But next day, more thank you’s!
Our poor prince was shaken
And knew that this night drastic steps must be taken
So just as the girl said good night to the queen
He lifted a mattress and squeezed in between
And all through the night, hardly taking a breather
He wiggled and wriggled and kicked underneath her.
The prince felt her toss
Heard her groan "What the heck?"
In the morning he noticed her rubbing her neck
Still, when asked by the queen if she’d had a good rest
The girl simply beamed and said “It was the best!”
Prince Pete was confounded. Confused! Mystified! 
He decided to fess up and ask if she’d lied.
She looked disbelieving. “Of course! I’m a guest!
When asked if I slept well I always say yes!”
Prince Pete couldn’t help it; he asked for her hand
She shook her head sadly, said “Please understand...”
“Someday I might marry (right now I’m all set)
But I’m not going to marry a guy I just met
And even a girl who’d get hitched in a hurry
Might find your MOTHER a real source of worry.
But I could use a friend, and some laughs, and a talk
So how about this... Let’s start with a walk?”

#10  Goldilockup

“Someone has been sleeping in my bed!” exclaimed Papa Bear.
“Someone has been sleeping in my bed!” exclaimed Mama Bear.
“Someone has been sleeping in my bed!” exclaimed Baby Bear. “And there she is!”
At that, Goldilocks awoke with a shriek, jumped out the window, and ran away as fast as she could.
But it wasn’t fast enough. Before she could disappear into the forest, a large hand clamped down on her shoulder and slapped on the cuffs.
The man was in uniform. He scowled at Goldilocks and spoke into his crackling walkie talkie. “I got her,” he growled. “I’ll be downtown in ten.”
Then he turned to Golidlocks. “You’re coming with me, blondie.”
“What? Why?”
“Breaking and entering, grand theft porridge, vandalism, squatting… You’re a regular crime wave, kid.”
And into the squad car she went.
“You punks are all alike,” the officer said once they arrived at the station. “You always think you’re the hero.”
He pointed to a boy getting his mug shot. “See that kid? He thinks he’s a hero, too. But he’s been charged with murder, burglary, and chopping down a giant beanstalk without a forestry permit. He ain’t no hero, girlie, and neither are you.”
Goldilocks was shoved into a holding cell. She was terrified by the lowlifes who surrounded her. There was a woodsman who practiced stomach surgery without a license. Pigs who attempted to boil their dinners alive. Prince charmings found carrying unregistered swords and daggers. Billy goats accused of assault and battery.
It was a motley crew.
“What’s going to happen now?” Goldilocks asked the officer.
“Well, first we gotta catch up with Cinderella and Snow White,” he replied.
“What are they wanted for?” she asked.
“Oh,” the man replied, “we’ll come up with something.”
At that moment, another officer shouted in triumph. “We got ‘em!”
A joyous “Whoop!” went up throughout the precinct as Snow White and Cinderella were booked, photographed, fingerprinted, and tossed in the cell with the others.
“A good day’s work, gentlemen!” said the police captain emerging from his office. He wasn’t exactly a police captain, though.
He was a Big Bad Wolf.
The officers then pulled off their masks.
Goldilocks and the other prisoners shuddered at the sight.

It was official: Fairy Tale Forest was under new management.

Please vote for the one you think deserves to win by Sunday March 30 at 5 PM EDT.  Winners will be announced on Monday March 31!!

Thank you all so much for reading and voting!  I can't wait to see who the winners are!!!

Have a terrific Thursday and a wonderful weekend!

See you Monday with the winners :)

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