Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Challenge – Week 5!

Woo hoo!  It’s Monday and that means it’s time for the Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Challenge to continue!

I just have to say that I am so impressed by all the amazing stories that have been shared here for the writing challenge so far!  You guys are so creative, and so talented!  It has been a real pleasure to read your work, and I look forward to seeing what you write this week!

Mix 'n' Match Mini Writing Challenge

Mix ‘n’ Match Mini is a 7 week writing challenge for anyone who needs a little boost or a little encouragement to get writing. . . or maybe just a little fun during this bizarre stay-at-home spring!

You get to write your own story, enjoy and be entertained by everyone else’s stories, and get yourself in the running for some awesome prizes (please see the end of the blog post for a list of all the prize goodies!)

To be eligible for the prize drawing you must enter all 7 weeks.

For a full description of the challenge or to add your Week #1 entry, please go HERE (Week #1)

To add your Week #2 entry, please go HERE (Week #2)

To add your Week #3 entry, please go HERE (Week #3)

To add your Week #4 entry, please go HERE (Week #4)


Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Prompt #5 for Week of June 8:

So far we’ve played with characters, setting, and emotion (or a combination, depending on where your random choosing landed you), with nursery rhymes and point of view, with a picture prompt, fun names, and a plot point, and with fairy tales taking place in a new setting!  This week we’re going to play around with “How To” 😊

Choose an action from Column A and a creature/animal/person from Column B:

Column A – Action Column B – Creature/Animal/Person
scare monster
comfort brother/sister
entertain teacher
be babysitter
trick pet (choose any animal you like J)

and write a 100 word story for kids entitled:

How To _____(action)_____ A/Your _____(creature/animal/person)_____
(e.g. How To Comfort A Monster/How To Trick Your Babysitter)

  • Stories can rhyme or not – totally up to you!
  • You can go under or over 100 words if you want to – also totally up to you! – 100 is a guideline
  • If you’re deeply inspired by another Action or Creature/Animal/Person that is not on the list you can use that instead – as long as you write a How-To as outlined above – the purpose here is inspiration and to get you writing!
  • For simplicity’s sake (and to aid skimming readers who might be interested in a particular thing) please be sure to put your title: How To _____ A/Your_____ at the top along with your name and word count.


Here’s my little just-for-fun sample 😊

How To Comfort Your Monster (159 words)

Sometimes monsters can be a bit of a handful.
If your monster is angry, tell her to take a deep breath and count to ten.
“I, 2, 7, 100, 43, 10.”
It doesn’t matter how she counts.
All that matters is that she trusts she can count on you.
If your monster is hurt, put a bandaid on her boo-boo and kiss it better.
It doesn’t matter if you can’t see her boo-boo.
All that matters is that she feels seen.
If your monster is sad, hug her close and sing her a happy song.
It doesn’t matter if she’s not really listening.
It only matters that she knows you’re listening.
If your monster is scared. . .
. . . AHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!
If something scares your monster, it might scare you, too!
Stand and face your fear together.
It doesn’t matter if you’re scared or sad, hurt or angry.
All that matters is that you always have each other.

💕          😊          💕          😊          💕          😊          💕

Now come join the fun! Get some writing done! Encourage your kids (or students) to give it a try! Or just have a good time together reading what other folks have written!

Ready, set, WRITE! 😊

(And remember, for full details on the 7 week challenge you can check HERE)

(And if you need to motivate yourself scroll down to see all the amazing prizes you could win!!! 😊)


Check out the Week #5 stories!


How To Be A Teacher – Cupcake Petrillo

How To Scare A Monster – Sue Lancaster

How To Catch A Pet Tarantula – Jill Lambert

How To Scare Your Teacher – Matthew Lasley

How To Comfort Harry Hedgehog – Cindy Boyll

How To Catch A Brother – Brenda Whitehead

How To Train Your Pet Rock – Colleen Murphy

How To Be A Sister – Sara Ackerman

How To Catch A Pet Turtle – Kay DiVerde

If You Want To Be A Monster – Linda Staszak

How To Be “Your” Own Babysitter – Susan Schipper

How To Entertain Your Donkey – Penny Adler

Let Me Entertain You (aka How To Entertain Your Little Brother) – Barbara Renner

How To Be A Blue Whale – Rose Cappelli

How To Catch A Fish – Marty

How To Find A Friend – Dawn Young

How To Entertain Your Furry Feline Friend – Linda Schueler

How To Calm Your Kangaroo – Patricia Nozell

How To Entertain Your Dragon On His Birthday – Ashley Congdon

How To Scare A Librarian – Candice Marley Conner

How To Catch A Monster – Jamie Bechtelheimer

How To Scare A Babysitter – Elizabeth Meyer Zu Heringdorf

How To Catch A Cupcake – Mary Van Beuren

How To Catch A Babysitter – Deb Sullivan

How To Comfort A MOOdy Cow – Corine Timmer

How To Comfort A (Pet) Skunk – Susan Inez

How To Crown Your Beast – Kristy Roser Nuttall

How To Treat Your Teacher – Leslie Denkers

How To Be A Cat – Dot Anson

How To Catch A Cat – Di Litwer

If You Have To Catch A Babysitter – Jess Murray

How To Comfort A Frightened Mouse – Bev Baird

If You Want To Trick Your Monster – Michelle S. Kennedy

How To Pamper Your Porcupine – Sarah Meade

How To Protect Your T-Rex – Amy Flynn

How To Protect Your Teacher – Susan Krevat

How To Comfort A Turtle – Deb Buschman

How To Be A Teacher – Alicia Meyers Kelly

How To Train A Penguin For City Life – Lily Erlic

Monster Under My Bed – Shariffa Keshavjee

How To Protect Your Princess – Tracy

How To Scare A Monster – Liz Kehrli

How To Comfort Your Comforter – Katie Schwartz

How To Love Your Brother – Rebecca Gardyn Levington

How To Comfort Your Babysitter – Ketan Ram

How To Scare A Monster – Mia Geiger

How To Scare A Monster – Ugo Anidi

How To Catch A Sister – Lauri Meyers

How To Trick Your Sister – Heather Hatch



When it comes time for prizes, names of all those who completed the challenge will be drawn randomly and matched with prizes drawn randomly until we run out! 😊

Please join me in thanking these very generous authors and other writing professionals for contributing their books and writing expertise as prizes by visiting their websites and blogs, considering their books and services for gift purchases, rating and/or reviewing their books on GoodReads, Amazone, B&N, or anywhere else if you like them, suggesting them for school visits, and supporting them in any other way you can dream up! 😊

For Spacious Skies by Nancy Churnin, award-winning author of so many fabulous books I don’t have space to list them all! Visit her website or Amazon Page!

For Spacious Skies

Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Kirstine Erekson Call, author of THE RAINDROP WHO COULDN’T FALL (Character Publishing 2013) and the forthcoming MOOTILDA’S BAD MOOD (Little Bee Books, September 2020), COW SAYS MEOW (HMH March 2021), and COLD TURKEY (Little Brown Spring 2021)

Kirsti Call Mootilda

Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Ellen Leventhal, author of DON’T EAT THE BLUEBONNETS (Spork 2017), HAYFEST: A Holiday Quest (ABCs Press 2010), and LOLA CAN’T LEAP (Spork 2018)

Ellen Leventhal Lola Can't Leap

Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Lindsay Hanson Metcalf, author of BEATRIX POTTER, SCIENTIST (September 2020), FARMERS UNITE!: PLANTING A PROTEST FOR FAIR PRICES (Calkins Creek November 2020), and NO VOICE TOO SMALL: FOURTEEN YOUNG AMERICANS MAKING HISTORY (Charlesbridge September 2020)

Lindsay+H.+Metcalf+(CREDIT+ANNA+JACKSON)+copy Beatric Potter

Picture Book Manuscript Critique (non rhyming) from Kaye Baillie, author of BOO LOVES BOOKS (New Frontier Publishing October 2020), and MESSAGE IN A SOCK (Midnight Sun Publishing 2018)

kaye-baillie-author-headshot Boo Loves Books message-in-a-sock-cover-1_2

Your choice of EITHER a Picture Book Manuscript Critique or a Virtual Visit with Keila Dawson, author of THE KING CAKE BABY (Pelican 2015), and NO VOICE TOO SMALL: FOURTEEN YOUNG AMERICANS MAKING HISTORY (Charlesbridge September 2020)

Screen Shot 2020-05-11 at 1.51.59 PM King Cake baby Keila No Voice Too Small


Winner’s Choice of Webinar from the amazing Alayne Kay Christian, author of picture books Butterfly Kisses, An Old Man And His Penguin, and the forthcoming The Weed That Woke Christmas and the chapter book series of Sienna The Cowgirl Fairy, and editor at Blue Whale Press!  Webinar choices include: How A Picture Book Is Made, Perfecting Your Critique, Top Ten Reasons For Rejection, and How To Write Powerful First Pages Like A Pro!

Alayne butterfly kisses An Old Man and His Penguin


15 Minute Video Chat – ask your questions about writing, research, submissions – whatever’s on your mind! –  with Christy Mihaly, author of DIET FOR A CHANGING PLANET: Food for Thought(Twenty-first Century Books/Lerner 2018), HEY, HEY, HAY!
A Tale of Bales and the Machines That Make Them (Holiday House 2018) , and FREE FOR YOU AND ME: What Our First Amendment Means (Albert Whitman March 2020)

Chris closeup Free For You And Me HEY, HEY, HAY! Cover

Quick Impressions on your Picture Book Manuscript from Rosie Pova, author of IF I WEREN’T WITH YOU (Spork 2017), SARAH’S SONG (Spork 2017), the forthcoming SUNDAY RAIN (Lantana Publishing March 2021) and others.

Rosie Pova Sunday Rain

RONAN THE LIBRARIAN, (Roaring Brook Press April 2020) brand new fromfabulous author Tara Luebbe


Your Choice of EITHER A Picture Book Manuscript Critique (fiction, non-rhyming) or an Ask Anything 15 Minute Video or Phone Chat with Tara Luebbe, author of  SHARK NATE-O,(Little Bee Books 2018), I AM FAMOUS ( Albert Whitman 2018), I USED TO BE FAMOUS (Albert Whitman 2019), OPERATION PHOTOBOMB (Albert Whitman 2019), and RONAN THE LIBRARIAN (Roaring Brook Press 2020) (see above)

Tara Luebbe Shark Nate-O

Sherry Howard, author of Rock And Roll Woods (Spork 2018) and a series of Nonfiction Middle Grade titles for Escape Publishing (2019)

Sherry Howard (4) Cover Rock and Roll Woods

Sherry Howard MG NF Books

is offering 6 of her nonfiction middle grade titles which will go to 6 lucky winners!

Ann Whitford Paul, author of Writing Picture Books (being donated by Becky Scharnhorst below), the book we ALL use as our picture book bible 😊, and countless wonderful picture books, is offering signed copies of her IF ANIMALS… Series (Farrar Straus Giroux):

Ann Whitford Paul

If Animals Went To School                     If Animals Kissed Good Night

If Animals Went To School (2019)         If Animals Kissed Good Night (2008)

If Animals Said I Love You                     If Animals Celebrated Christmas

If Animals Said I Love You (2017)        If Animals Celebrated Christmas (2018)

If you would like to benefit from her picture book wisdom, please sign up for her newsletter HERE!

A hand lettered quote of someone’s choice from a picture book,  or a quote about reading or writing that could be framed as a gift for a child’s bedroom, a writer you know and love, or an inspiration for writing in your own work space (why shouldn’t you give yourself a present?!) offered by Kristy Roser Nuttall! (Samples below – you can choose your own quote!)

Kristy Nuttall 20200512_092224 20200512_091604

Making Picture Book Magic – Self Study Class any month (x3)


Writing Picture Books by Ann Whitford Paul, donated by Becky Scharnhorst whose debut picture book P.S. Camp Wildwood Stinks will be released in Summer 2021 from Philomel!

Writing Picture Books Revised and Expanded Edition: A Hands-On Guide From Story Creation to Publication by [Ann Whitford Paul]

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert donated by Becky Scharnhorst whose debut picture book P.S. Camp Wildwood Stinks will be released in Summer 2021 from Philomel!

Big Magic

The Nuts & Bolts Guide To Writing Picture Books by Linda Ashman (only available for Kindle) (x2)

The Nuts and Bolts Guide to Writing Picture Books by [Linda Ashman]

Magnetic Poetry – Little Box of Happiness

Magnetic Poetry - Little Box of Happiness Kit - Words for Refrigerator - Write Poems and Letters on The Fridge - Made in The USA


The Story Book Knight by Helen Docherty

storybook knight

This Book Is Gray by Lindsay Ward

This Book Is Gray

Story Cubes

Screen Shot 2020-05-10 at 11.23.08 PM

Writing Journal (x10)


Scythe by Neal Shusterman

354 thoughts on “Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Challenge – Week 5!

  1. LittleCornishWriter says:

    How to Protect Your Princess – Tracy
    • Princes are OUT! If she doesn’t meet one, she can’t have her heart broken.
    • Raise her in the forest for sixteen plus years, alone and anonymous…
    • In complete secret – she doesn’t even know she’s a princess.
    • No singing, dancing or music lessons – no talent, no trouble.
    • Curses are a no, no! Keep your head, wings or wand down so no one curses your precious one.
    • Ensure all sharp objects, spindles especially, are destroyed or kept out of reach.
    • Stop sleeping – if she doesn’t fall asleep, she can’t ever NOT wake up!
    • Such measures will ensure complete protection of your princess.
    P.S: Happiness is NOT guaranteed.

  2. Liz Kehrli says:

    How to Scare a Monster
    By Liz Kehrli

    Anyone can scare a monster. First, you should jump up and down like a wild monkey. Make lots of noise as they have very sensitive ears.
    Then raise up your arms so you look big. Oops, that’s for a black bear. Sorry.
    Be sure to turn off the lights. Everyone knows monsters are afraid of the dark.
    Wait a second…
    What’s that strange noise?
    That horrible smell?
    I can’t see anything.
    Did something just touch me?
    Too bad I’m afraid of the dark.
    Hope you are a fast runner!

  3. Elizabeth Meyer Zu Heringdorf says:

    Week 7 Story for the Mix and Match Challenge!

    Superhuman strength, sand pail
    “Just Do It”
    Elizabeth Meyer zu Heringdorf
    100 words

    At the beach, Lynn was digging a hole and Leroy was shaping the resulting sandpile to make a sloppy sandcastle. Then Leroy decided that Lynn should go and get some water to fill the hole.
    “You get some water!” said Lynn.
    “No, you!” said Leroy, gently poking a ladybug and laughing at it while it struggled along.
    “You’re a dumb gigglebutt,” said Lynn calmly.
    They only stopped arguing when they noticed the nearby sand pail inching toward the waterline.
    They peered under it and saw the ladybug holding it up as she trundled.
    “I thought, just do it,” she said.

  4. Katie Schwartz says:

    How to Comfort Your Comforter (aka bedspread 😉) Okay, I selected an inanimate object, so think that’s okay? wc-260

    Have you ever thought
    That your comforter is sad?
    You kick him off, you throw him on, he’s bunched and scrunched and jumped upon,
    a blanket would be mad!

    Don’t even want to think about
    his weekly wash routine.
    He’s in, the door is slammed, he’s trapped!
    He’s soaked and slapped, he comes unwrapped,
    in the nightmarish machine!

    He knows the dryer’s next, oh no!
    Not as scary as the wash.
    He’s happiest becoming fluffy, super soft and super-puffy,
    and he comes out with panache!

    He’s forgotten in the closet
    When the weather gets too balmy
    I hear his little muffled voice, “This scary place is not my choice,
    “and I can’t see you, Mommy.”

    Now that you’ve know the truth
    It’s not too late to start.
    A twin, a queen, a king, or more – bigger needs more love for sure!
    Small things will touch his heart.

    Make the bed each morning.
    Show him some respect!
    Open the shades, dispel the gloom, he’ll love a bright and sunny room,
    no more bedspread neglect!

    Hold him tight ‘fore letting go,
    to fly high up through the air
    Watch him swaying to and fro, on cool sheets waiting just below,
    he’ll land with savoir faire.

    Sparkly, white or rad-mad-plaid
    He adds a lot of style!
    And later when you’re all tucked in, from teensy toes up to your chin
    His warmth will make you smile!

    So start today, say, “Comforter,
    I can’t wait to go to bed!
    My warm and cozy nighttime friend, I’ll never kick you off again,
    we’ve dreamy times ahead!”

  5. Katie Schwartz says:

    I love yours Susanna, so sweet! And I especially love the repeating, “it only matters” lines, I would buy this book!

  6. RebeccaTheWriter says:

    HOW TO LOVE YOUR BROTHER (133 words)
    By Rebecca Gardyn Levington

    He knocks down your towers,
    keeps crying for hours,
    and nothing smells worse than his poop.

    He can’t talk at all,
    can’t walk or play ball,
    and is constantly puking pea soup.

    You’re forced to climb gates
    and you constantly wait
    ‘cause the “baby” needs something right now.

    He always comes first.
    Second place is the WORST!
    You know you should love him, but how?

    My greatest advice
    is to try to be nice
    even when you just wish he would leave.

    Because, in the end,
    he’ll become your best friend.
    Yes, I know, it is hard to believe.

    It’s not very easy.
    I get it, believe me,
    his crying’s so loud and so shrill.

    You stand now above him,
    not sure how you’ll love him.
    But one day, like magic, you will.

  7. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Mix and Match Week #5
    by Ketan Ram
    word count 180


    The doorbell rings, she comes inside.
    We run upstairs to where we hide.
    The car starts up
    and our parents leave.
    We have something clever up our sleeve!
    The sitter calls out, “Milo….Claire…”,
    and her echo travels up the stair,
    We hear her steps
    and count each one.
    This is going to be such fun!

    Water, ketchup and liquidy soap,
    I sure hope that our sitter can cope!
    18th step…
    Here we go!
    We leap, we splash, we squirt and blow!
    She screams and trips fairly quick.
    We give a high-five for our very good trick.
    Then I comfort her by saying, “We’ll let you go…”
    “…if you give us candy for dinner and TV with our cake…”
    Claire adds, “and no brushing teeth for goodness sakes!”

    The sitter begs, “Whatever you want, just let me go!”
    I say, “Do you cross you heart, barefoot in snow?!”
    She replied, “Of course I do. now please set me free!”
    So we help her up despite her glare.
    Then we comfort her and walk down the stairs.

  8. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Week #5
    How to Scare a Monster
    By Mia Geiger
    60 words
    (words used: scare, monster)

    If you want to scare a monster,
    look for something yummy.
    ‘Cause people-foods do not agree
    with every monster’s tummy.

    Monsters don’t like sour things —
    they make their noses scrunchy.
    They spit out anything with seeds,
    and also food that’s crunchy.

    Remember, though, that every monster
    is a little fickle —
    The most effective strategy
    is offer him a pickle!

  9. Ugo Anidi says:

    Ugo Anidi
    190 words
    How to scare a Monster

    Let me tell you a secret. Monsters get sacred too even though they’re big and scary and they’re not afraid of the dark.
    Do you know how I know?
    Because I’ve scared many monsters! Yes! I have!

    The most important thing you need to know is that a monster never expects you to try to scare it. So the first step is to surprise the monster!
    So the monster under your bed or in the window, even the one that comes out when it’s dark can be scared too. all you have to do is : pretend ot be scared and when it comes near you. take a deep breath, jump and scream with all you might, “BOOOOOOOOO!!!!!”

    And if that doesn’t work, give it a double whammy! Sneak a torch under your blanket or pillow and just as you shout, “BOOOOOOO!!” turn the lights on its face and I promise you, that monster will run screaming from your room and you’ll never see it again.

    I would love to hear your monster slaying stories, email me at mons@monsterslayer.com.

    Yours faithfully.
    Mons the Monster Slayer

  10. Ugo Anidi says:

    I loved your story Susanna, The highlights were 1, The counting : My 2 year old currently counts like this 🙂 and 2. The heart. It was such a warm and fuzzy story with a warm and fuzzy ending too. I loved that it also explores the idea of monsters having feelings and needing to be comforted too.

  11. Lauri Meyers says:

    How to catch a sister (145 words. A little creepy!)

    When you get to be big, you may want to have a sister. First, ask around at the playground. Some kids really want to get rid of their little sisters. But none of their parents would agree. Second, check your local toy store. Mom tried to talk me into a plastic sister, but that’s not what I wanted.
    Next, search for stray sisters who need a home. I watched my backyard, but it only had a squirrel, a chipmunk, and an annoyed cat.
    If those don’t work, try searching online. We found a big sister shirt. Mom bought it for me, but a shirt is not the same as a sister.
    Finally, make a room for your baby sister. This way your mom will know you are ready for the responsibility. After this I only had to wait a few days, and my baby sister arrived!

  12. Heather Hatch says:

    (How to trick your sister/ 383 words )
    How to trick your sister: You tell her she should eat a bug if she wants to be in your club, and when she does, you don’t let her in, because the bug was not big enough. She will have to eat another one. When you have to draw straws to see who gets to dry dishes, you hide the long one, so the short one seems longer, because the short one means do the dishes, and you hold on tight to that one, not letting it go easy, and she knows it’s the one you don’t want (ha, ha) her to have. When you are jumping on beds and being loud, late at night, you hear Dad’s footsteps in the hall and dive for the covers, snoring. But you don’t tell her that you hear him coming. And when Dad sees your dolls wrapped like larva, head to food in sneaked toilet paper, you tell him it was her idea. When you have to clean your room, and mom says, one can divide, and the other can choose, you take tape and put it down on the carpet so tricky that it’s hard to figure out which side is bigger… and while you were unrolling the masking tape, you stuffed lots of stuff in hidden places… so the larger side would ‘look’ easier. At the park, you will push her swing. But she has to push you, first. And on the teeter-totter, yes, you let her bump just after she says, ‘let’s go to the slide’. And when you want a popsicle from Nana’s freezer, you make her go ask… because they might get mad at you for asking, again. And when she brings back the popsicles, both banana, your favorite, and you propose a race, to see who can finish first. She tears off her dotted wrapper and starts to chunk it. Meanwhile, you are slowly slurping away, and when she finished and looks over, you stick out your tongue in long, graceful licks, reaaally making it last. And that’s how you trick a sister. But If Anne across the street tries any of that on my sister, I’ll whop her. Because she’s my sister, and nobody, no body, should do that to her. And that’s how to surprise a sister.

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