Category Archives: Susanna Hill’s Contests

Phyllis’ Valentine’s Day Mystery

♥ Happy Valentine’s Day ♥

Today is a special day, a special opportunity to spread a little love AND share my entry to Susanna Hill’s Second Annual Pretty-Much World-Famous VALENTINY Contest. Valen-tiny because the stories are not very long and are written for little people 🙂


The Rules? Straight from Susanna…

The Contest:  since writing for children is all about “big emotion for little people” (I forget who said that, but someone did so I put it in quotes!) and Valentines Day is all about emotion, write a Valentines story appropriate for children (children here defined as ages 12 and under) maximum 214 words in which someone is confused!  

The Other Entries: Read more entries at Susanna’s site to get into the holiday spirit.

Without further ado, my 213-word entry…

Phyllis’ Valentine’s Day Mystery

Phyllis leapt from her cozy cot, her sleepy shadow trailing behind.  Rose-colored hearts laced with pin pricks littered the dirt below. A gooey stream of strawberry cream oozed from a broken chocolate heart above. Crimson balloon bits festooned snow-covered pines outside the den door.

“What creature made this mess? These dreadful deeds must be addressed. But who will solve this mystery? And how?”

“Whoo! Whoo!”

“Who indeed? I know! He’s hidden somewhere in this snow.”

Phyllis searched high and low for Oscar Owl. He’s so wise, she thought. He’s Forest President so he’ll surely solve this problem.

Oscar surveyed the scene and said,

“My dear, you have an enemy, but I believe I have the remedy. Roll out the Armadillos! Buzz the bees! Summon Sword Fish! Then there’s one more thing I wish: A wall, a HUGE WALL. A wall will bring Safety for ALL.”

Soon a tall timber wall was erected. Snug inside, Phyllis now was secure. But those outside? They felt rejected. Dejected, they watched, waiting for their chance to slip inside. At the back of this pack crouched Harry Hedgehog – sniffling, snuffling, quills quivering. In his tiny paws, he clutched a pin-pricked, strawberry cream-stained sign:




♥♥♥ ♥♥♥




The Twelve Days of Happy Holidays

Drumroll please:

Come they told me
Pa rum pum pum pum

New holiday stories to read
Pa rum pum pum pum

Our finest stories we write
Pa rum pum pum pum
To lay before the judges

Pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum…

The 6th Annual Holiday Contest!!!!!

Thanks to Susanna Hill, we have the chance to enter a contest AND read all of the other entries posted at the link. Now that’s what I call a holiday treat! 

The Contest:  Write a children’s holiday story (children here defined as approximately age 12 and under) using the basic format/concept of The Twelve Days Of Christmas!  Your story may be poetry or prose, silly or serious or sweet, religious or not, based on Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or whatever you celebrate, but is not to exceed 300 words.

So many possibilities! So many winter holidays! How could I choose just one? So I didn’t! Thankfully, a daughter has studied world religions and worked at the Pluralism Project, whose mission is “to help Americans engage with the realities of religious diversity through research, outreach, and the active dissemination of resources.”

I then did some further research, including the pages of the United Religions Initiative for Kids. Please note that in a few cases, I’ve highlighted holidays that are celebrated at other times of the year, either to include a particular religion or to highlight a religion’s primary or better-known holiday. Without further ado, I present:

Twelve Days of Happy Holidays

On the first day of Christmas,

My Father shared with me:

A Savior’s bless’d nativity.


On the second day of Pancha Ganapati,

Lord Ganesha gave to me:

Two spicy Vadai,

And a Savior’s bless’d nativity.


On the third day of Eid,

An Imam shared with me:

Three juicy dates,

Two spicy Vadai,

And a Savior’s bless’d nativity.


On the fourth day of Vesak,

A Buddhist monk revealed to me:

Four noble truths,


And a Savior’s bless’d nativity.


On the fifth day of Soyaluna,

The People of the Pueblo showed to me:

Five Turquoise Rings;


And a Savior’s bless’d nativity.


On the sixth day of Diwali,

The Swami showed to me:

Six candles flickering,

Five Turquoise Rings;


And a Savior’s bless’d nativity.


On the seventh day of Kwanzaa,

My parents gave to me:

Seven heartfelt Zawadi,


And a Savior’s bless’d nativity.


On the eighth day of Hanukkah,

The Rabbi shared with me:

Eight oil lamps glowing,


And a Savior’s bless’d nativity.


On the ninth day of the lunar new year,

My Teacher read to me:

Nine Confucian texts,


And a Savior’s bless’d nativity.


On the tenth day of Maghi,

My Guru sang to me:

Ten sacred Kirtans,


And a Savior’s bless’d nativity.


On the eleventh day of the Winter Solstice,

A Wiccan presented to me:

Eleven Yule logs blazing,

Ten sacred Kirtans,

Nine Confucian texts,

Eight oil lamps glowing,

Seven heartfelt Zawadi,

Six candles flickering,

Five Turquoise Rings;

Four noble truths,

Three juicy dates,

Two spicy Vadai,

And a Savior’s bless’d nativity.


On the twelfth day of the bleak midwinter,

Our Creators asked of me:

Pray for peace and religious harmony.



Learn more about the faiths represented and the holidays featured:




Another Halloweensie Tale & Halloween Treats

At long last,  it’s time for the one and only, sixth-annual (and counting), 

Great Halloweensie Contest

(crowds of little people, and little-people lovers, cheer)

to wit, to write a 100 word Halloween story appropriate for children (title not included in the 100 words, children here defined as 12 and under), using the words spider, ghost, and moon.   And if you visit Susanna Hill’s blog, you’ll find more entries like the ones below (and many, many more that are better!).

Wait! “Ones below?”

Yep – I wrote two this year. After I learned on Sunday that *gasp* trick-or-treating is cancelled due to the outbreak of a rather nasty stomach bug in our school community, I was inspired to write the second story. Enjoy!



Another Halloweensie Tale

(97 words)

“Another Halloweensie tale, please?”

“Just one, then bedtime…”

“Little Miss Muffet”

“So last century.”

“Sat on a Tuffet;”

“A tough-what?”

“Eating her curds and whey.”

“No way! Why not a Halloween treat?”

“A Milky Way, Mars Bar or Moon Pie!”

“Along came a spider…”

“The HERO!“

“Who sat down beside her…”

“SAT? We creep, climb, spin, but NEVER sit.”

“And frightened Miss Muffet a…”

“WAIT! One itsy, bitsy spider scared that curd-chewing, tuffet-sitting Hag?”

LOOK! That moonbeam shines right through her.  She’s pale as a


“Creep! Climb! Spin! Up the Water Spout! Onto the Web!”



Halloween Treats

(99 words)

Ghost clicked off the light and stacked her sheets. Spider unsnapped his web from the porch and rolled it into a ball. Witch doused the flames under her simmering brew as a cloud of bats blanketed the Moon.

“Another Halloween, and no trick-or-treaters braved our door,” Ghost sighed.

“We had tasty treats ready,” squeaked Spider.

“I guess we’ll have to wait another year,” Witch sniffled.

Moon struggled free from the bat wrappings. She lit a path towards town.

“Follow me!” Ghost exclaimed.

“Trick or treat,” the trio proclaimed. They delivered the tasty treats to costumed kids throughout the town.









The Sleeping Grump: A Valentiny Tale

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!”

“That’s mine!”


“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!”

Perfect Christmouse Pic

It’s that time of year again: that time when we all can use a bit of a break from the holiday hustle, a bit of diversion for the impatient kids in all of us, a bit of a reminder of why we celebrate. Thankfully, Susanna Hill has just the solution! Below are the rules – followed by my 341-word entry. Check out all of the fabulous entries on her blog. Put your feet up, gather the young (and old) ones around, and enjoy!
The 5th Annual Holiday Contest!!!!
WA-HOOO!!!! 🙂
The Contest:  Write a children’s story (children here defined as approximately age 12 and under) beginning with any version of “Rocking around the Christmas tree at the Christmas party hop.”  You may use that actual opening, or you may change it to any similar version “[Verb of your choice]ing [any preposition you choose] the [any item you choose] [any preposition you choose] the [venue of your choice].”  …. Your story may be poetry or prose, silly or serious or sweet, religious or not, based on Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or whatever you celebrate, but is not to exceed 350 words….
Following, without further ado:

mouse01Perfect Christmouse Pic’

Sneaking out from the burrow at night, in search of Santa Claus.
Not a creature was stirring, except Margaret Mouse,
Who had visions of the perfect pic to gift to dear Mama.
As the chiming clock struck one, up Margaret did run;
Her furry brothers, Mick and Tim, in hot pursuit. 

Creeping into the Mall at night, on their way to Santa Claus.
Just like the three blind mice, stealthy, silent as could be.
Trying locked windows and doors, checking cracks in walls and floors.
As the clock struck two, Margaret knew just what to do;
Determined brothers, Mick and Tim, did follow suit.

Scurrying through the Mall at night, as they searched for Santa Claus.
Quiet as a mouse, the trio seeking Santa’s house;
Until ahead they did see: huge, horrid, hissing Miss Kitty.
As the clock struck three, Margaret’s frightened as could be;
Her fearful brothers, Mick and Tim, quaked timidly.

Scrambling away from Kitty Cat, and her dagger-like, sharp claws.
Visions of mouse mince pies flashed in front of Kitty’s eyes;
But eagle-eyed Margaret spied Santa’s photo booth instead.
As the clock struck four, Margaret headed under door,
Zigzagging brothers, Mick and Tim, in hot pursuit.

Posing inside the photo booth, at the Mall with Santa Claus.
Margaret with perfect smile, dressed in holiday style.
Brothers’ fur a whirling mess, with smudged faces and sloppy dress.
As the clock struck five, Margaret wearied of their jive;
Those goofy brothers, Mick and Tim, such silly mice.

Grabbing the photo in gilded frame, with tiny, grimy paws.
Margaret screeched, reached and wrangled to snatch that pic back
From those conniving, striving, oh-so-annoying, bitty Bro’s.
As the clock struck six, Margaret hoped for no more tricks,
From pesky brothers, Mick and Tim, those nasty lads.
Sneaking into the burrow this morn, held pic with Santa Claus.
One busy creature was stirring, beloved Mama Mouse.
“You all look perfect,” she exclaimed; “And it’s beautifully framed.”
As the clock struck seven, Margaret was in heaven;
Imperfect brothers, Mick and Tim, flashed Christmouse grins.

Leila’s First Halloween

As the days shorten and goblins fill the night skies, it’s time once again for the incredible Susanna Hill’s



The Contest:  write a 100-word Halloween story appropriate for children (title not included in the 100 words), using the words costume, dark, and haunt.  Check out the many other wonderful entries linked to or posted on Susanna’s blog. Without further ado:

Leila’s First Halloween (99 words)

Tears puddle in Leila’s dark eyes. Tomorrow is the Halloween costume parade at her new school.

“Costumes cost money,” Mama sighs. “I can’t buy something you wear once for this strange holiday. Any extra money must be sent to our sisters and brothers in Aleppo.”

Halloween haunts Leila’s thoughts. A stomach ache? Mama never lets her miss school. A costume from Teacher’s bin? Her classmates will laugh.

“I know!” she cries, grabbing a navy pullover and red leggings.

As her classmates don costumes, Leila asks Teacher for 50 stars and white tape.

“I’m an American now, an American flag!”


Spot the Angel

                           The 3rd Annual Holiday Contest!!!

The Contest:  Write a children’s story about a Holiday Mishap, mix-up, miscommunication, mistake, or potential disaster….  Your story may be poetry or prose, silly or serious or sweet, religious or not, based on Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or whatever you celebrate, but is not to exceed 350 words.  
The Entry:  At just under 350 words…

SPOT the Angel


Spot flopped, tongue dragging.  Bella and Nella chewed their cud, as they swayed stage right.  No easy task to corral those shaggy cows in the Highland field, but Spot had yipped and nipped until furry heads raised, big brown eyes blinking, they followed Ben down the mucky path.  “You’re an angel, Spot,” said Ben, as he ruffled the fluffy dog’s ears.

Billy and Lilly cavorted stage left.  Spot had spied them atop the crag, horns glistening in afternoon sun.  Leaping through thistle, Spot yipped and nipped until they fell in line behind Ben, Bella and Nella.  “A true angel, Spot! They were no match for you!”

Lester and Hester gnawed the flimsy stable.  Spot had waded through rubbish to reach them scrounging behind the shed.  When he yipped and nipped, they lifted one hoof then another, joining boy and beasts.  “My angel, Spot!  Nothing stops you,” Ben exclaimed.

Shellie and Nellie snuggled in soft hay down stage.  Cornering the skittish sheep was difficult, but Spot had yipped and nipped until they followed along.

“What an angel you are,” cried Ben, as they reached the village green.  The stage was lit, scene set: all it lacked were the animals.  Spot yipped and nipped until each was in her place.  Now he could relax.

 But wait!  Ben had said he’s an angel.  But how?  With muddy paws, burrs in fur, tangled tail, what kind of angel was he?

Spot nipped and clipped, but he still looked nothing like an angel – just a fluffy mutt, with SPOTS!  Glimpsing Paddy’s Pudding Shop, he slipped through the gathering crowd.

Paws outstretched, fur shimmering white, Spot felt a true angel, balancing on stable’s peak.  Until,

Bella and Nella sneezed!  Billy and Lilly wheezed!

Lester and Hester sniffed the air; Shellie and Nellie cringed in despair.

“Spot! Get down from there! You’ll ruin the Christmas pageant,” cried Ben.

“But I thought I was an angel,” whimpered Spot, crouching at Ben’s feet.

“You’re an angel, Spot, but better not a floury one,” chuckled Ben.  “A spotted angel you are, and that’s a fine thing to be!”