When I read the rules for the First Annual Pretty Much World Famous Valentiny Writing Contest hosted by the lovely Susanna Hill (kid-friendly, 214 words max, with a grumpy character), I thought immediately of an old family favorite – The Sleeping Grump: A Cooperative Game (Family Pastimes, 1981). While the Grump in this Valentiny story may or may not be a giant ogre and while the goal may not be to steal his treasure (while leaving some for him in the spirit of true cooperation and sharing), I hope I’ve captured his sleepy, grumpy character and the essence of the game.
Note: some of you may recognize the characters. Margaret tried to arrange the perfect picture for Mama in Perfect Christmouse Pic’, as brothers Mick and Tim thwarted her every move. Can the trio work together on Valentine’s Day to out-manoeuvre the Sleeping Grump?
The Sleeping Grump: A Valentiny Tale
Outside, snowflakes swirl. Wind roars; Grump snores. Inside, red glitter scatters, red candies crunch underpaw. Red tempers flare.
“Give it back!”
“One more to make. Then we’ll put on our red shoes! Dance! Party,” Margaret shimmies.
“Party-schmarty,” Mick teases. “You’re just making a Valentine for Wondermouse!”
Mick and Tim prance, grab Valentine, chant, “Margaret has a boyfriend!”
Margaret snatches Valentine, scampers outside. Screech! She freezes. Tiptoes around snow-covered
“Grump,” she whispers, “Asleep!” Grump stirs. Margaret scurries inside.
“No need to fear, Mighty Mouse is here,” Mick cries, swipes crumpled Valentine. “Grump can’t seize me! I’ve got a cloak for invisibility.” Mick twirls outside. Cloak swirls across Grump’s eyes. They open, shut. Mick disappears inside.
“I’m an Alien! This is Major Mouse, dropping through!” Tim flies, nabs Valentine, catapults
Flop! Ker-plop! Nosedives!
“Eew! Goo! Smarmy Alien, coming through.”
Grump snivels, sobs, pokes goopy nose inside.
“There’s gotta be a better way,” Margaret reasons. “If together, we…and then…until finally…”
Margaret tiptoes towards Grump. Mick carries cloak-covered bundle. Tim catapults with
“Valentine? For me,” Grump asks.
“Cookies,” Mick reveals. “For you,” Margaret smiles, “Please let us pass.”
“Valentine! For me,” Grump grins.
The trio trudge past…into drifts. “Too much snow! No party, no-how,” Margaret sighs.
Grump grins.”Snow-schmo! On my back! Let’s go!”