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. maryvb says:

    Susanna, the random counting – I love how numbers (and emotions) don’t have to add up in order to be able to be counted on. I found the comfort offered throughout this piece to be balm in this uncertain time. What a fun writing challenge! Thank you for hosting it.

  2. Genevieve Petrillo says:

    It was only a matter of time before Cupcake got in on the Mix ‘N Match Mini fun. UGH!

    How to Be a Teacher (100 words)
    Cupcake Petrillo

    I learned about teaching from my Obedience School teacher, Clark (also my imagination).

    1. Give belly rubs.
    2. Kiss students’ noses.
    3. Always say, “Almost.” or “Nice try.”
    4. Never say, “UGH!” or “Naughty!”
    5. Let students play Bitey-Face.
    6. Allow naps between studying.
    7. Don’t tell humans to “Be firm.”
    8. If you say, “Fetch!” don’t expect much.
    9. Hand out Cheerios for participation.
    10. Also give Cheerios for non-participation, too much barking, standing there with a dumb look, and ignoring commands.

    If Mom goes back to being a 3rd grade teacher, I hope she uses our strategies! #successguaranteed

  3. Sue Lancaster says:

    How to Scare a Monster (155 words)

    There’s a monster in my bedroom,
    It took me by surprise.
    There’s a monster in my bedroom,
    I saw its piercing eyes.
    There’s a monster in my bedroom,
    I know just what to do.
    I’ll scare that monster out of there,
    I have a trick or two!
    Trick number one, I’ll make it jump,
    Ready, steady… BOO!
    Oh… that didn’t scare it,
    Time to try trick two.
    Trick number two, shout in its ear,
    Ready, steady… ROAR!
    That didn’t shock it either,
    Time to try one more.
    Trick number three, I’ll scare it out
    With daddy’s socks – pee-EW!
    But even that’s not moved it…
    What else can I do?
    I’ll have to turn the light on – PING!
    To get a better view…
    Wait! It’s gone, it’s disappeared,
    So THAT is what you do.
    To scare away a monster,
    To give it a real fright,
    The only trick you really need…
    Is turning on the light!

  4. Jill Lambert (@LJillLambert) says:

    How to Catch a Pet Tarantula
    By Jill Lambert (catch/pet/107 words)

    Tarantulas make perfect pets.
    They’re quiet, yet exciting.
    They’re fun to pet and they will let
    you do so without biting.

    Be careful with tarantulas,
    don’t leave the cage agape.
    Because they’re teeny, like Houdini,
    masters of escape.

    To catch a pet tarantula,
    you have to creep and crawl,
    beneath your bed, out in the shed,
    in corners of the hall.

    They like to hide where it is dark,
    so look in all of those.
    Then, what the heck, go double-check
    the closets full of clothes.

    Be very thorough, looking there.
    You know what you should do.
    Otherwise, to Mom’s surprise,
    it might be in her shoe!

  5. matthewlasley says:

    How To Scare Your Teacher

    Your teacher knows you well and knows what to expect from you, so if you really want to scare her, here are ten things you should do:
    1. Show up smiling and greet her with a hug.
    2. Ask her if she needs help with anything.
    3. Sit still at your desk.
    4. Raise your hand and wait to be called on.
    5. Be polite to your classmates.
    6. Hold the door for all your classmates.
    7. Walk down the hall as quiet as a mouse.
    8. Do all your work neatly.
    9. Help your classmates with their work.
    10. Ask for more homework.

    You do these things and your teacher won’t know what to do. She’ll wonder what you’re up to.

    BONUS: If you really, really, really want to scare your teacher, convince everyone in class to do this and then, when she is really scared, as a class say, “Good morning!”

    You won’t see your teacher for a week!

  6. boyll says:

    How To Comfort Harry Hedgehog
    By Cindy Boyll
    Word count: 109, (comfort, pet)

    Harry Hedgehog hisses, clicks, jumps, and spikes.

    He rolls into a ball.

    Harry needs comfort.

    But, how do we love Harry?

    Harry sleeps a lot. First, nap time, Then, playtime.

    Dim the lights. Harold does not have sunglasses!

    No loud noises! Too scary!

    Using a towel, scoop your hands under Harry.

    Let him sit next to you and explore.

    Wear your hoodie and put Harry in the kangaroo pocket. Your scent means safety.

    Give Harry toys: balls, tunnel tubes, and hidey huts.

    Meal worms make grouchy Harry smile.

    Daily clean Harry’s cage and give fresh food and water.

    Try monthly oatmeal baths.

    Be patient.

    Good friendships take time.

  7. Brenda Whitehead (@BrendaW_Prof) says:

    Love these prompts, thanks again Susanna for this challenge! This piece is inspired by my life with two preschool / toddler boys… 🙂

    by Brenda Whitehead (163 words)

    So you have a little brother
    And he never wants to play.
    Anytime you call to him,
    He runs the other way!

    Well first you have to think about
    Why that might be the case.
    Like could it be because you like
    To splash him in the face?

    Or maybe it’s because you tease
    And hide his teddy bear.
    Or maybe it’s that when you play
    You just forget share!

    Once you’ve figured out the cause,
    It’s time to make it right.
    Be sure he knows it’s not a trick!
    (Because you KNOW he might.)

    Now when he masters something new,
    Present a paper crown.
    Then build a tower tall as him
    And let him knock it down!

    And when he’s not quite tall enough
    To reach his favorite snack,
    You big-kid stretch to grab it!
    (And this time give it back.)

    So now you’ve caught a brother!
    A best forever friend.
    Just take care to treat him well,
    Or he’ll run off again!

  8. Colleen Owen Murphy says:

    How to Train Your Pet Rock (Sorry! 234 words!)

    First Trick: SIT

    Step 1: Put your rock on the floor in front of you.
    Step 2: Place your hand straight out with your palm facing upward. When you have your Rock’s attention, say your pet’s name and then tell him, “SIT.”
    Step 3: Practice command over and over again.

    Note: If he obeys tell him, “Good job!” You will not need to offer him any treat as a reward. A simple pat on the back will be more than sufficient.

    Second Trick: STAY

    Beware. It may take a few weeks of practicing SIT before your rock is ready for STAY.

    Step 1: Follow directions for SIT.
    Step 2: While your rock is sitting put your hand out flat, with your palm facing the Rock. When you have his attention, say your pet’s name and then tell him, “STAY.”

    Third Trick: ROLL

    Step 1: Find a hill (big or small, it does not matter).
    Step 2: Stand with your pet at the top of the hill.
    Step 3: As you are placing him on the hill’s incline, say, “ROLL.” He will not need to hear his name to complete this command.

    Note: If he hesitates, you may need to give him a nudge. To practice this trick over again you will need to retrieve your rock from the bottom of the hill; he will not come when called.

  9. Sara Ackerman says:

    How to Be a Sister (98 words)

    Being a sister’s hard. But follow my lead, and you’ll survive any baby you meet.
    Step 1: Get earplugs in case he—WAAAAAAAH!
    Step 2: Test drive the toys for safety. “Yahoo!”
    Step 3: Hone your diaper-changing skills. “Uh-Oh”
    Step 4: Better yet, hone your big girl voice. “MOMMY! JACK STINKS!”
    Step 5: Don’t let Mommy “borrow” your earplugs.
    Step 6: Tell some jokes like “Where’s Jack?”, “Who put a sock on my head?”, and Throw Everything.
    Step 7: Take out your earplugs to hear your baby explode with giggles…
    but keep them nearby in case he—“WAAAAAAAH!”

  10. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Week 5: How to Catch a Pet Turtle (word count 285)
    by Kay DiVerde

    I always wanted a pet. I assured my parents I would be responsible and take care of the pet. Their answer was always the same, “We’ll see.”

    Let me tell you how I was able to catch a pet turtle.

    One summer, my family visited our cottage in Michigan. I liked to hang out by the lake. One day I was down by the water while the neighbor was mowing. Something in the grass caught my eye. It was a shiny green circle in the path of the mower. I swooshed in and picked up the circle before the mower went over it. You won’t believe what I picked up. It was a tiny turtle. His shell was only as big as a quarter. He was so cute!

    I ran to show my parents. “Mom and Dad, look what I found! I rescued him from being run over by the lawn mower.”

    “I bet he just hatched. He must have turned the wrong way and went out into the grass instead of into the water,” my dad suggested.

    “Well, isn’t he cute,” exclaimed my mom.

    “Can I keep him?” I pleaded.

    My dad scratched his head and said, “We’ll see.”

    I decided to call the little turtle, Badurdle.

    My parents watched how much I loved little Badurdle and took such good care of him. At the end of our vacation, my parents came to me with serious faces. My mom explained, “You have been taking such good care of Badurdle. Dad and I decided you could keep him as a pet and bring him back to Kansas with us.”

    Oh boy! I was so excited! And now you know how I caught a pet turtle.

  11. Linda Staszak says:

    Great fun–thank you!

    By Linda Staszak 107 words

    To be a monster takes a lot of work.
    You have to practice growling so you can be scary enough to make goosebumps appear.
    You have to practice being sneaky, so you can tiptoe and hide without a sound.
    You have to practice waiting, so you can wait until the time is exactly right to burst out and yell “boo!”.
    And of course, you have to be able to slabber and slobber and slurp.
    But the hardest part of being a monster is finding the perfect boy or girl to live with.
    Once you’ve done that, you don’t have to worry about anything else in the world

  12. seschipper says:

    How to Be “Your” Own Babysitter
    Susan E. Schipper
    Word Count 125

    I really don’t need a babysitter, at age six I can babysit my brother who is four years old.. that’s 1, 2, 3, 4!!! However, Mom and Dad think I do need someone to “sit” us!! Give me a storybook, any old book and I’ll read it to Sammy, that’s my brother. Snacks, I am the best snack maker ever! PBJ’s here I come!
    Bubble baths are my specialty! The more bubbles the better! Then, jammies on and we are ready for BED!!! Wait, what happens if I hear a noise, or, or, or, there’s a monster under the bed!!!! HELP!! Let’s call Grandmom, she can help me
    babysit Sammy… She will be my helper!

  13. Penny Adler says:

    How to Entertain Your Donkey
    Penny Adler
    Word Count: 110

    When your donkey is bored, what can you do?
    If he has friends, you can play games – Duck, Duck, Donkey… ,Kickball… ,and three-legged races.
    But then you will be thirsty… so you’ll need some lemonade.
    Which will make your lips pucker… so you will have a funny face contest.
    If your donkey wins, he will need a crown … and a parade.
    He’ll ride in a convertible and wave to his fans.
    They’ll all want his autograph… and selfies
    He’ll grab a microphone and have them all play along… “Put your left foot in… “
    And that’s what it’s all about – to cure a bored donkey!

  14. Barbara Farr Renner says:

    Let Me Entertain You
    AKA, How to Entertain Your little brother
    Word Count 138
    By Barbara Renner

    Mom says I have to entertain my little brother while she fixes supper. So, I take him by the hand and we go into my room and close the door.

    “Ryan,” I say, “I’m going to entertain you by singing and dancing. But first we have to get ready.”

    I pull out Mom’s lipstick and eye shadow that I borrowed from her. I grab my tutu and ballet slippers.

    I tell Ryan to sit down while I go to work. A little lipstick here. A swipe of eyeshadow there. Now to get dressed.

    I sing “Let it Go” while I twirl around Ryan. He laughs.

    Mom yells, “Supper.”

    I take Ryan’s hand and we leave my room and walk into the kitchen.

    I don’t know why Mom gasps, I think Ryan looks cute in my tutu and makeup.

  15. Wendy says:

    Susanna, your sample story is wonderful. I haven’t had time to participate (at least not yet!) but I’ve been a lurker. You and your support for writers are the best.

  16. rosecappelli says:

    Decided to take a more serious, nonfiction route.

    How To Be a Blue Whale (79 words)
    by Rose Cappelli

    Live large –
    Weigh as much as thirty-three elephants,
    House a heart as big as a car,
    Stretch to the length of three school buses.

    Eat well –
    Dine daily on tons and tons and tons of krill.

    Make yourself known –
    Emit moans and groans louder than a jet engine.
    Let your fluke be your fingerprint.

    Keep watch –
    Fear whalers, ship strikes, and environmental change.

    Excite –
    Navigate the oceans of the world,
    Inspiring wonder and awe.

  17. marty says:

    by Marty B.
    (My limerick for Week 5 — wc 36)

    There once was a girl with a wish:
    To catch a bright rainbow-striped fish.
    With no worms, lines, or hooks,
    She just read it some books.
    Caught it, kissed it, swam beside it — splish, splash, swish!

  18. Dawn Young says:

    Week 5 HOW TO FIND A FRIEND 101 words
    Dawn Young

    Open your eyes, nice and wide.
    Look around you, side to side.
    Behind a book, under a tree,
    On a swing, you might foresee.

    A boy or a girl sitting alone,
    feeling so sad and unknown.
    Look their way, give a big smile.
    Walk on over and sit for awhile.

    Introduce yourself, state your name.
    Ask if they’d like to join in a game.
    The two of you might be alike.
    Riding bikes, taking hikes.

    All it takes is one little chance.
    Friends can form with just one glance.
    A little kindness, politeness too,
    Helped me find a friend like you!

  19. Linda Schueler says:

    You should expand yours, Susanna. I could see it as a picture book!

    Here’s mine:

    How to Entertain your Furry Feline Friend

    Is your furry feline friend feeling frustrated?
    Here are seven surefire strategies to keep your fuzzball entertained.
    Challenge her to a licking contest. See which body parts you can lick the longest.
    Push an object off a table. See who can push the biggest piece.
    Ignore her. Time how long it takes for her to come running.
    Knit her a sweater or scarf. She’ll really be grateful, especially if it’s her favourite shade.
    Bug her while she’s stalking a toy. Make really loud noises too.
    Open up your computer and start playing a game. She’ll surely want to join you then. A book works well too.
    Put on a TV show that she wants to watch for a change. Mice and fish main characters are always appreciated.
    You’ll be the cat’s meow when you use these entertainment techniques.

  20. ptnozell says:

    I loved the challenge this week, Susanna, and I especially love your entry. It reminded me of your “When Your” books. As I was contemplating which action to pair with which character, the following title jumped into my mind.

    How to Calm your Kangaroo (98 words)

    If your kangaroo is feeling jumpy, and she won’t sit still – share a story, but choose a peaceful, quiet one.
    If your kangaroo hops about, and she won’t relax – sing a song, but be sure to choose a soothing tune.
    If your kangaroo continues to fidget and squirm, and she just won’t rest – try a time out, for a teeny tiny minute or maybe even two.
    If, after all this, your kangaroo continues to bounce off walls, maybe, just maybe, a trampoline is the only solution to tire her out and calm her…
    and you.

  21. Ashley Congdon (@AshleyCCongdon) says:


    by Ashley Congdon 
    WC: 180

    Today is a big day.
    It’s your dragon’s birthday!
    And you’re in charge of entertainment. 
    Now your dragon and his friends will be balls of energy.
    Tire them out! 
    With a Bouncy Castle.
    Remind them of the rules:

    No flying!

    No flames!

    No fighting over who is jumping too hard and who ran into who!

    When they need a break from bouncing, play a quiet game like Pin the Princess in the Tallest Tower.
    Remind them of the rules:

    No peeking!

    No poking!

    No princesses in your mouth!

    When they’ve all had a turn and they’re angry no one won, play a game where everyone wins like Knight Pull-String Piñata.
    Remind them of the rules:

    No bumping!

    No butting in line!

    No breathing down the neck of the dragon in front of you!

    When the candy comes crashing down and all the dragons jump on each other to grab all they can, your dragon will look back at you and smile because he’s having fun. Or . . . 
    is he smiling because you’re holding his bag for all his candy?

  22. candicemarleyconner says:

    How To Scare A Librarian (115 word count)

    Step One: Pick out books with the creepiest, slobberiest, slimiest covers.

    Step Two: Arrange them in a maze so when she comes back into the children’s section, she can’t escape. Be sure to make it twisty and turn-y.

    Step Three: Tell the rest of the kids to make scary masks with all the awesome art supplies. Fangs and crazy eyes are a must-have.

    Step Four: Have everyone practice their growls and snarls.

    *POP* Lights out?! From the afternoon summer thunderstorm?

    It’s very dark in here.

    All those creepy covers. The twisty, turn-y shadows. Is that a mask, or a—???

    Come back, librarian! We took the Imagine Your Story summer reading program theme too far!

  23. Jamie Bechtelheimer says:

    How to Catch a Monster (222 Words)

    I wouldn’t advise you to try to catch a monster, because it is VERY difficult. Monsters are wild and temperamental and just don’t cooperate well with big kids like you. But if you INSIST on catching a monster this Halloween night, there are ways.

    1. Build a fort with lots of pillows, tons of stuffed animals, and all of the monster’s favorite books.
    2. Leave a trail of Halloween candy from the monster’s den to your fort. Tip: Make sure to be quiet when you do this or you’ll spoil the surprise. Little monsters love surprises!
    3. Sit in your fort, eat candy, read books, and wait.
    4. And wait.
    5. And wait some more.
    6. When the monster finally peeks into your fort, offer her some candy and ask her if she would like to read a book.
    7. Read all the monster’s favorite books to her, share your candy with her, and braid her crazy monster hair until she starts yawning and rubbing her eyes.
    8. Help your little monster brush her teeth – There’s nothing worse than a monster with cavities!
    9. Tuck her into her monster bed and turn on her nightlight so she doesn’t get scared.
    10. Tell her “Goodnight, little monster. Happy Halloween.”
    11. Smile and feel proud when she says, “Goodnight, big sis. I love you.”

  24. Elizabeth Meyer Zu Heringdorf says:

    How to Scare a Babysitter
    241 words

    Simon was secretly watching the end of “Psycho” on a TV he had dragged into the third-floor bathroom when the doorbell rang. He rushed out and down the stairs, but his mother had already opened the door for Sara, the babysitter, when he got there.

    “Hi. Is it OK if I take a shower before I make dinner for Simon? I just had field hockey practice.”

    “Sure. Have fun and see you later!” Simon’s mother grabbed her purse and went out the door.

    Sara bounded up the stairs and Simon counted to ten, before following her. He crept up the steps and tiptoed gracefully like a ninja along the carpeted corridor. The bathroom door was shut, and he could hear the water already running.

    Stealthily he opened the door to the bathroom and saw that the shower curtain was pulled shut. He also saw that the door to the adjoining bedroom was open and considered hiding in there for a few minutes, but his instinct told him to stay where he was. He waited a trembling minute, then crept over and yanked the shower curtain to the side.

    There was no one in there.

    Simon stared at the empty shower stall and at the water streaming down. Suddenly he felt hands grabbing his ankles. He screamed and looked down to see Sara laughing noiselessly on the floor.

    “Hungry?” she asked, grinning like a hyena.

    It was one of their favorite games.

  25. maryvb says:

    How to Catch a Cupcake
    Mary van Beuren
    Prompt: Catch/Cupcake
    Word Count: 95

    Catching a cupcake is as much about attitude as it is about skill. One must practice, both.

    1: First, it is important to believe that you CAN catch a cupcake.
    2: You know that cupcakes are all around us.
    3: The baker really likes you.
    4: You are lucky.
    5: You daydream about cupcakes.
    6: You can open your mouth very, very wide.
    7: You practice with popcorn, so you know you are good at catching food.
    8: Keep your eyes open.
    9: Be ready.
    10: Open your mouth as big as you can.
    11: Catch
    12: Chew

  26. maryvb says:

    Wondering if I should add that not all cupcakes have wrappers.

    Susanna, your stories, each week are so much fun and very playful. I’m learning so much through this writing challenge. What a blast it all is. Thank you!!

  27. Deborah Agranat Sullivan says:

    How to Catch a Babysitter (153 words)

    Mrs. Doogleheimer was as fun as the flu. And tonight, she was babysitting Molly.
    Molly dropped her spatula and dialed.
    “Can you come over tonight, Grandpa?” asked Molly. “PLLLEEEAAASSEE??”
    “I’m sorry, Pudding Pop,” said Grandpa. “But I’m teaching Zumba class.”
    Molly ran out the door.
    “Can Jenna babysit tonight?” Molly asked. “It’s urgent!”
    “She’d love to,” said Jenna’s mom. “But she has soccer.”
    Molly zipped to her room.
    Molly hung signs around the neighborhood.
    The results were not promising.
    “Hello Molly,” said Mrs. Doogleheimer. “Let’s sort books!”
    Molly drooped as she headed to the kitchen.
    “Cupcakes?” exclaimed Mrs. Doogleheimer. “How would we organize those?”
    “We wouldn’t,” said Molly.
    Mrs. Doogleheimer scrunched her brow. She took a bite. Then another. And another.
    “We’ll sort later,” said Mrs. Doogleheimer.
    “Much later,” said Molly, grabbing the frosting.

  28. Corine Timmer says:

    Susanna, I enjoyed your sweet story. This is such a fun challenge!

    How to Comfort a MOOdy Cow
    Corine Timmer
    163 words

    How to Comfort a MOOdy Cow

    Is your cow mooing a lot, or

    tongue rolling?

    Is it chewing the bar, or

    stomping its feet?

    Is your cow flaring its nostrils, or

    giving you the evil eye?

    Is it losing its hair, or

    are its udders droopy?

    Uh-oh! Your cow is


    Do you know what to do?

    1. Give your cow plenty of space, and
    fresh and clean air.

    2. Give your cow plenty of rest, and
    a dry and comfortable bed.

    3. Give your cow plenty of light, and
    at least six hours of darkness.

    4. Give your cow healthy food, and
    fresh water.

    Does your cow look healthier?

    What? Your cow is still grumpy?

    Did you scare it, by


    Here’s what you can do . . .

    Talk to it in a soft voice, or

    read it a story.

    Sing it a lullaby, or

    play the piano.

    Does your cow look calmer?

    Then offer it a cow cookie, BUT

    Let it come to you!

  29. susaninez0905 says:

    How To Comfort A (Pet) Skunk
    By: Susan Summers
    WC: 96

    My little friend the striped skunk.
    She is in a stinky funk.

    She’s looking for some tasty bugs,
    But there are none beneath my rugs.

    Or in my bed where I will snooze.
    Or in the closet, with my shoes!

    I’ve tried to tell her where to look.
    Outside beneath the shepherd’s hook.

    Where birds will land to eat some seed.
    The bugs go too, to have some feed.

    She won’t listen, not today.
    She stomps her feet! She wants to spray!

    What shall I do to stop the smell?
    I’ll grab the shovel. What the heck.

  30. Kristy Nuttall says:

    How to Crown Your Beast
    by Kristy Roser Nuttall
    WC: 100

    1. Pick at least a dozen dandelions and check your beast’s crown size
    2.Split the stems of one dandelion and slip another dandelion inside
    3.Continue with all 12 dandelions until you have woven a magnificent dandelion crown
    4.Find your beast
    5.Delight in the chase
    6;Flop in a heap
    7.Lullaby your beast to sleep
    8.Slip on the crown
    9.Recite a poem just for the occasion:
    Roses are red, These flowers are gold. You are now a crowned beast, just like legends of old.
    10.Pick up the pieces when your beast wakes up and flips out about something on their head.
    11. Start over.

  31. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Mix n Match Week 5 Contest
    Leslie Denkers

    How to Treat your Teacher
    (104 words)

    I love my teacher.
    I bring her roses from our garden.
    I pinch the ants that tag along.
    I give her hugs after finger painting.
    And wipe the paint off her dress.
    I watch the class for her at recess.
    I make them take turns on the swings.
    But my favorite time is lunch time.
    I find my cookies and offer them to my teacher.
    “Thank you for this treat,” she says as she takes one.
    She offers me her apple slices. I take one too.
    “Thank you for this treat,” I say.
    We smile and give each other a wink.
    My teacher loves me.

  32. Dorothy Dot Anson says:


    Wake Up!
    Bowl empty!
    Go to the masters room. Climb on the bed.
    Walk up his body and stare at his face.
    Still sleeping.
    Paw his face, gently of course.
    “MEEEOOOWWW!” (translated for you humans: Yes it’s me and I’m hungry)
    “MMMMEEOOOOW!” (No, don’t go back to sleep)
    Excellent, he’s up and heading to the kitchen. I’ll stand near the fridge in case he’s forgotten where my food is.
    Good job Joe. I’ll give you a leg rub for that.
    Clean! Oops missed a spot on my leg. Luckily I’ve been practicing my yoga.
    Now find a sunny spot to sleep.
    See you for dinner Joe!

  33. Diantha Litwer says:

    How to Catch a Cat
    (300 words)
    by D. Litwer

    This is the cat we want to catch and take to the vet to get its shots.

    This is the trap we set for the cat we want to catch and take to the vet to get its shots.

    This is the food we set out for the cat we want to catch and take to the vet to get its shots.

    This is the water next to the food we set out for the cat we want to catch and take to the vet to get its shots.

    This is the doe who ate the food we set out for the cat we want to catch and take to the vet to get its shots.

    This is the skunk who joined the doe who ate the food we set out for the cat we want to catch and take to the vet to get its shots.

    This is the raccoon who joined the two who ate the food we set out for the cat we want to catch and take to the vet to get its shots.

    This is the opossum who joined the group who ate the food we set out for the cat we want to catch and take to the vet to get its shots.

    This is the mouse who showed up late and ate the last of the food we set out for the cat we want to catch and take to the vet to get its shots.

    This is the cat who ignored the food…

    … but entered the trap to eat the mouse who ate the food we set out for the cat we finally caught and took to the vet to get its shots.

    So good friends here’s my advice, if you want to catch a cat, bait your trap with mice.

  34. ejessmurray says:

    If You Have to Catch a Babysitter (Catch & Babysitter, 113)

    One: Put out some bubbles and grown-up books on a sidewalk table.

    Which do they pick up?

    Bubbles? Good! They’re a “maybe.”

    Two: As they blow bubbles, open a box of pizza on your doorstep.

    Do they say, “Oh, my, howdy neighbor! Smells delicious!”

    Great! They’re a “promising.”

    Three: As they munch pizza, ask if they want to play an intensely complex and shifting make believe game for 2073 hours straight.


    Do they say, “I was just dreaming of that?”

    If so, congratulations! Now quick: wrap them in your arms. Tell them your parents will pay them anything. Smile really, really big: You’ve caught yourself a babysitter.

  35. bevbaird says:

    Here’s mine: How To Comfort a Frightened Mouse (68 words)

    How to Comfort a Frightened Mouse

    You can tell the little mouse is scared by his twitching whiskers and hidden body in the corner.
    To comfort him, first turn out the lights and bend lower than the cage.
    Next, put a small piece of cheese into the cage.
    Then, fill the container with water.
    Finally, slowly move back and let the mouse adjust to his new home – alone.

  36. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    If You Want to Trick Your Monster (WC 158)
    By Michelle S. Kennedy

    If you want to trick your monster,
    make sure that you prepare.
    You’ll need to have a flashlight
    plus, a teddy bear.

    Grab some comfy blankets
    and a pair of slippers too.
    You’ll need to be quite sneaky
    so, he’ll think that they are you!

    Place your teddy undercover
    then creep behind your door.
    Keep your flashlight at the ready.
    Stay awake and do not snore.

    He’ll rise beneath the bed
    and when he does here’s what to do-
    Let him try to scare your bear
    and when he thinks he’s through…

    Turn your flashlight on and off!
    Then do it once again.
    Count numbers very slowly-
    all the way to ten.

    Monsters do hate thunder
    But they hate the lightening more.
    If he thinks his job’s complete
    He’ll leave without a roar.

    If you want to trick your monster,
    you can do it, but please know-
    He’ll be back so be prepared
    or else, just say “hello!”

  37. Sarah Meade says:

    How to Pamper Your Porcupine
    By Sarah Meade
    Word Count: 143

    Has your porcupine had a hard week?
    It’s time for some self-care!
    Pampering will take your porcupine from prickly to peaceful.
    On Sunday, gather supplies and set up your spa.
    Calming colors, soothing sounds, and sweet scents will make your porcupine feel soooooo serene.
    Monday: meditation and mindfulness.
    Your porcupine will “ommmmmm” with you.
    Tuesday: Tai Chi.
    Then tea for two.
    Wednesday: body wraps
    Then the whirlpool.
    Thursday: facials and pedicures.
    “Pick your color!”
    Your porcupine will choose a blissful bluuuuuue.
    Friday: massages (careful!) and quill care.
    Your porcupine will rest and reeeeeeelax.
    Saturday: sauna.
    The two of you will sweat.
    Then a cold plunge.
    Your porcupine will sigh and smiiiiiiiiiile.
    The two of you will feel sooooooooo peaceful.
    Maybe a bit too peaceful.
    Next week: Adventures awaits!
    On Sunday, set up your zipline course…

  38. amyflynnnd says:

    How to Protect Your T-Rex (91 words)
    By Amy Flynn

    Taking care of a pet is hard work.

    You must feed him.
    You must exercise him.
    You must cuddle him.

    But most importantly, you must protect him.
    Especially a pet T-Rex.

    Protect him from the flyers that zoom around his head.
    Protect him from the dashers that trip up his feet.

    Protect him from the pullers that yank and jerk his tail.
    Protect him from the teasers that mock his little arms.

    But if you don’t protect him…


    You won’t need to worry about feeding him anymore.

  39. Susan Krevat says:

    How to Protect Your Teacher ~ Week 5 ~ Susan Krevat

    Welcome to a new day at school! Today you have a new and special job: protect your teacher. Here is your job description:

    *Write your name on every paper you do.

    *Raise your hand every time you want to talk.

    *Say please when you ask for something and thank you when someone is kind to you.

    *Begin each sentence with a capital letter.

    *End each sentence with an end mark.

    *Close your locker door gently.

    *Complete all class work on time.

    *Make sure to listen carefully to your teacher all day.

    *Be a good kid who is respectful, honest and diligent.

    How does this job protect your teacher? These behaviors protect your teacher by allowing him/her to teach you what is important rather than using valuable time to teach you what you should already know. When you work together with your teacher, it is a win-win situation!

  40. Deb Buschman (@DebBuschman) says:

    116 words
    By Deb Buschman

    He lost the race-again.
    He’ll hide and want to be alone.
    Even though he’s tough on the outside he still gets sad.
    You just need to follow these tips to help him feel better.
    First gently knock on his shell.
    Ask him if he wants to talk.
    If he says, “NO!”
    You may want to fill the tub with water and his favorite toys. He does like to swim.
    If that doesn’t work, you can always make his favorite food.
    If he doesn’t feel like eating, there is that rabbit dartboard.
    But if all this fails, tell your turtle you love him.
    And that you will be there for him after every race.
    Win or lose.

  41. Alicia Meyers-Kelly (@aliciamaekelly) says:

    Alicia Meyers-Kelly
    WC: 153
    Title: How to be a Teacher

    Being a teacher is easy…
    First you just have to grow. It’s important to be taller than everyone.
    If you can’t grow that fast, get some tall shoes.

    Next, you have to pick out your clothes. Wear something cozy or stretchy, so that you can move around and have fun.
    If you can’t go shopping, borrow something from your parents (even if it’s too big!)

    To be a teacher you need to know how to read.
    Get all the books you have and practice, practice, practice!
    If you don’t have books–read signs, menus, and directions on your groceries!

    Every teacher has a pointer, to point to the important stuff.
    If you don’t have one, just make one! You can use a stick or a pencil, just make sure it’s not too sharp!

    But to be a real great teacher, you have to love others.
    Give hugs, compliments, and smiles.
    Just like my teacher.

  42. lilyerlic says:

    How to Train a Penguin for City Life

    My friend Penguin wanted to visit me in the city but he needed training.

    “I’ll train you for the city,” I said to him on the telephone one day, “you’ll love


    Penguin arrived by iceberg. I met him on the beach.

    “Now, here’s your umbrella. If it rains, you’ll need to hold it. Here’s your hat. If it gets

    too hot, you’ll need that too!”

    Here are other things you need to know about city life. Read this list please!

    1. When you cross the road make sure to read the signs. Walk means you can cross and Don’t walk means stay put.
    2. When you see a sign that reads STOP. Don’t stay under the sign all day.
    3. We don’t travel by iceberg here. We drive around in yellow cabs. Remember it’s not a yellow iceberg. You need to sit inside and put your seatbelt on.
    4. We don’t swim for our dinner here. We can go to a place called a restaurant, sit down and order from a list of food called the menu. (The fish is excellent here)
    5. Also, get ready to sleep in a bed! At night you get to sleep on something called a mattress where its comfortable. No more sleeping on rocks.

    “That’s a lot to take in,” said Penguin, “maybe let’s train more after lunch and a nice nap

    in the afternoon!”

    “Some things never change even in city life!”

  43. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Monster Under My Bed

    One day Ayla got a real scare
    Under her bed a monster stare
    Big eyes and the face not fair
    It made her hair stand in the air

    How to sleep with monster there
    All alone It just simply was not fair
    Who can she tell mother or father
    It’s always better to tell a brother

    He was brave and always there
    So her secret she could share
    He cane to comfort and to share
    The notion that gave her a scare

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