Be Brave, My Heart! – The 6th Annual Valentiny Contest Is Here!!!

[For those trying to post, you must click on the Blog Post Title to get on the blog post page and access the comments]

Roses are red

Violets are blue

Valentinies rock

And so do YOU!

Like galloping hooves, our brave hearts are pounding with excitement and anticipation (or maybe trepidation!) because it’s time for. . .

The 6th Annual Valentiny Writing Contest

~ for children’s writers ~

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 feels brave!

  • They can be brave about asking someone to be their Valentine, of course, but they can also do something brave to get a Valentine (the person or the gift), or do something brave to help a friend. They could be brave about giving something up, or brave about asking someone they’re not sure they like to be their Valentine just to be nice. . . sky’s the limit!  Think beyond the obvious!
  • Your story can be poetry or prose, sweet, funny, surprising or anything in between, but it will only count for the contest if it includes someone brave (can be the main character but doesn’t have to be) and is 214 words (get it? 2/14 for Valentines Day 😊
  • You can go under the word count but not over!
  • Title is not included in the word count.
  • You are welcome to enter more than one entry – just remember you’ll be competing against yourself 😊
  • No illustration notes please!

Post your story in the comment section below (preferred) or on your own blog between right now this very second and Sunday February 14th by 11:59 PM EDT. If you only post on your own blog, add your post-specific link to the form list at the bottom of the post.  This post with all the entries in the comment section and the list of links for those who prefer to post on their own blogs will stay up all week for everyone to enjoy. If you have difficulty posting your entry to the comments, which unfortunately sometimes happens, you may email your entry to me and I’ll post it for you! [susanna[at]susannahill[dot]com

We discussed changing the entry posting. The majority voted to have all the entries in one place here in the comment section, so we’re going to give that a try. But there were some who wanted to continue blog-hopping, so I’m going to include a link list for them at the bottom of the post. For those who are willing to post in the comment section but also plan to post on their own blogs, you are most welcome to post the link to your blog in your posted entry here (see example below.) That way people can come visit you if they want to but can also read most of the entries in one place on my blog if they prefer. It is certainly easier for the judges to have as many entries as possible in one place. We’ll try it this way one time and see how it works. We can always go back to the old system 😊

(So a sample entry might look like this:
ENTRY TITLE – word count
Author Name
(link to your own contest entry blog post if you have one and would like to share it)

Amazing wonderful Valentiny Contest story.😊

Dudley’s Brave Valentine – 212 words
by Violet Hill

It was almost Valentines Day and Dudley’s heart had sunk to somewhere near his big toenail.
(etc etc amazing story continues)

I know how hard you all work on your entries and how anxious you are to be sure your entry is posted, but please try to be a little bit patient if you’re waiting for your entry to show up in the comments or on the list of entries. I try never to get up from my desk during contests but sometimes it’s unavoidable. 😊

The Judging: over the next several days, my lovely assistants and I will narrow down the entrants to 12 top choices which will be posted here and voted on for a winner on Thursday February 18th (or possibly a day or two later if the judges need extra time.)   The winner will be announced Monday February 22nd depending on judging and voting time needed.  The dates of the judging/voting/winner announcements are subject to finagling depending on how much time the judges actually end up needing!

Judging criteria will include:

  1. Kid-appeal/Kid-friendliness – remember, this is a story for kids!
  2. Creativity in using bravery and success in making us feel the bravery!
  3. Valentine’s Day appropriateness – this is a VALENTINE story!
  4. Quality of story – we will look for basic story elements and a true story arc
  5. Quality of writing – use and flow of language, correctness of mechanics, excellence of rhyme and meter if you use it, PROOFREADING!
  6. Originality – surprise us with something new and different! 😊
  7. How well you followed the Submission Guidelines – agents and editors expect professionalism. This is a chance to practice making sure you read and follow specified guidelines. If you don’t follow agent and editor submission guidelines they won’t even read your submission.

The Prizes:  Talk about a pounding heart! Just look at these fabulous prizes!

Hannah VanVels – Agent, Belcastro Agency – PB MS Critique

Hannah will offer one lucky winner a PB MS critique. The winner may submit fiction or nonfiction, rhyme or prose – Hannah is open to anything!

(from Belcastro Agency’s website)

Winner’s choice of Renee LaTulippe‘s Lyrical Language Lab Intensive Rhyme & Meter Self Study Course OR a one-hour ZOOM consultation with Renee to get feedback on a manuscript of your choice, ask questions about writing in rhyme/lyrical prose, or spend however you like!

Renee LaTulippe

Picture Book Manuscript Critique (Rhyme or Prose, Fiction) from Dawn Young, author of THE NIGHT BAAFORE CHRISTMAS (WorthyKids 2019), COUNTING ELEPHANTS (Running Press Kids, March 2020), and THE NIGHT BAAFORE EASTER (WorthyKids January 26, 2021)

Dawn Young

Picture Book Manuscript Critique (fiction) from Kirsti Call author of The Raindrop Who Couldn’t Fall (Mazo Publishing, January 2019),  Mootilda’s Bad Mood (Little Bee, September 2020), as well as COW SAYS MEOW (HMH) and COLD TURKEY (Little Brown) which will release in 2021.

Kirsti Call

Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Melissa Stoller, author of SCARLET’S MAGIC PAINTBRUSH (Spork 2018), READY, SET, GORILLA! (Spork 2018), THE ENCHANTED SNOW GLOBE COLLECTION (chapter books) (Spork 2017), and SADIE’S SHABBAT STORIES (Spork, October 2020)

Melissa Stoller

Picture Book Manuscript Critique (non-rhyming, fiction) from Becky Scharnhorst, author of the forthcoming MY SCHOOL STINKS! (Philomel Books, July 6, 2021)

Becky Scharnhorst

Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Ellen Leventhal, author of A Flood Of Kindness (WorthyKids April 2021), DON’T EAT THE BLUEBONNETS (Spork 2017), LOLA CAN’T LEAP (Spork 2018), and HAYFEST A HOLIDAY QUEST (ABCs Press 2010)

Ellen Leventhal

Picture Book Manuscript Critique (non-rhyming, fiction, fewer than 800 words) from Rebecca Kraft Rector, author of SQUISH SQUASH SQUISHED (Nancy Paulsen Books, February 16, 2021) (which means it’s coming out in the middle of our contest!😊) and the forthcoming LITTLE RED (Aladdin, Simon & Schuster, Spring 2022) and TRIA AND THE GREAT STAR RESCUE (Delacorte/Random House)

Rebecca Kraft Rector

Picture Book Manuscript Critique (nonfiction PB or rhyming PB) from Julie Abery, author of LITTLE TIGER and LITTLE PANDA (Amicus Ink 2019), YUSRA SWIMS (Creative Editions February 2020), LITTLE MONKEY and LITTLE HIPPO (Amicus Ink February 2020), THE OLD MAN AND THE PENGUIN (Kids Can Press, December 2020), and the forthcoming LITTLE PENGUIN and LITTLE ZEBRA (Amicus Ink, March 2, 2021) and SAKIMOTO’S SWIM CLUB (Kids Can Press, May 4, 2021)

Julie Abery

A Picture Book Manuscript Critique by gifted author and former Holiday Contest prize winner, Jenna Waldman, author of the forthcoming Larry’s Latkes (October 2021) (originally written for the Holiday Contest!) and Shark-bot Shalom (August 2021) She is on twitter at @SarafinaDesign

Author Jenna Waldman

– Either a signed copy of WHEN A TREE GROWS OR a Picture Book Manuscript Critique – winner’s choice! – from Cathy Ballou Mealey, author of WHEN A TREE GROWS (Sterling April 2019) and the forthcoming SLOTH AND SQUIRREL IN A PICKLE (Kids Can Press, May 4, 2021)

– a personalized signed copy of SUNDAY RAIN from author Rosie Pova PLUS a personalized signed copy of DEAR GRANDMA from Yours Truly.

– a personalized signed copy of DON’T HUG DOUG: (He Doesn’t Like It) from author Carrie Finison PLUS a personalized signed copy of CURIOSITY’S DISCOVERY from author/illustrator Nancy Derey Riley!

– a personalized signed copy of The Night Baafore Easter from author Dawn Young PLUS a personalized signed copy of Hop To It: Poems To Get You Moving from poet Sarah Meade!

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 birthday, holiday or other gift purchases, rating and/or reviewing their books on GoodReads, Amazon, B&N, or anywhere else if you like them, recommending them for school and library visits, and supporting them in any other way you can dream up! 😊

Now! Put your heart into it and bravely post your entries!

I can’t wait to read your stories!!!

Eager Readers: Check out the comment section for all the fabulous entries, and the link list at the end to visit the blogs of the authors who wanted to post on their own home turf 😊

ENTRIES IN THE COMMENT SECTION: (all entries are linked)

  1. Not “IT” – Danielle Sharkan
  2. A Goosely Valentine – Danielle Sharkan
  3. Charlie and Sienna – A Friendship Story – Laura Roettiger
  4. Most Valuable Valentine – Anne Lipton
  5. A Valentine’s Day Quest in the Land of Moore – Gregory Bray
  6. Red-Green Valentine’s Day – Stephanie Amargi
  7. A One-of-a-Kind, Just-in-Case, Not-at-All-Pink Valentine’s Day – Amy Leskowski
  8. Love Is Stronger – Teresa Traver
  9. Valentine’s Gotcha Day – Jessica Hinrichs
  10. Carmela’s Valentines – Lu Pierro
  11. Bee Brave – Gennie Gorback
  12. Crushed – Corine Timmer
  13. Too Chicken – Sue Lancaster
  14. Shelly and the Path of Peril – Sue Lancaster
  15. Brave Hearts – Jamie Donahoe
  16. Step-Brother Battle – Brenda Whitehead
  17. I Woof You – Debra Daugherty
  18. My Valenchicken – Glenda Roberson
  19. A Neighborly Valentine – Meg King-Sloan
  20. U R Brave – Lindsey Hobson
  21. If I Were Brave – Rose Cappelli
  22. Elonso’s Best Valentine’s Day Ever – Susan Drew
  23. Dibble and Wiscowski: “A Cookie Valentine” – Bru Benson
  24. One Brave Balloon – Susan Schade
  25. The Wibbler – Tracy Curran
  26. Brave Bonnie – Shannon VanStraten-Sundlass
  27. Cupid, Junior – Linda Staszak
  28. A Valentine Visit – Julie Maria
  29. Cupid: The Love Fairy – Rachel Shupin
  30. Be Brave On Valentine’s Day – Sara Kruger
  31. Operation Moonbeam – Simon Yeend
  32. A Valentine Rose – Daryl Gottier
  33. The Ballad of Bad Bart – Carrie Boone
  34. The Brave Little Seed – Michelle S. Kennedy
  35. Something I Want To Say – Jeny Morales
  36. Stella & Sparky And The Last Valentine – Patricia Nozell
  37. Stella & Hank – Nicole Loos Miller
  38. Untangled Valentines – Janie Reinart
  39. The Wildflower – Ashlee Hashman
  40. The Color of Love – Allison Strick
  41. Puppy Love – Deb Buschman
  42. Super Brothers – Shannon Howarth Nelsen
  43. Brave For Gigi – Kelly Swemba
  44. Wannabe my Valentine – Cynthia Stacey
  45. Cupix – Bridget Magee
  46. U To The Rescue – Amy Heath
  47. Blob’s Valentine’s Wish – Deb Sullivan
  48. Violet & The Valentine’s Vampire – Sarah Meade
  49. Jana’s Valentine’s Visit – Sarah Meade
  50. Mole & Miss Vole on Valentine’s Day – Sarah Meade
  51. A Valentine’s Mouse In Our House – Elizabeth Meyer Zu Heringdorf (2 entries in one comment)
  52. Will you be my ninja – Elizabeth Meyer Zu Heringdorf (2 entries in one comment)
  53. Grouchy Grover – Rebekah Hoeft
  54. Brave In A Cave – Cedar Pruitt
  55. Cardy’s Valentine Story In All Its Glory – Sally Yorke-Viney
  56. My Kind of Valentine! – Megan France
  57. Lavender Buzz – Vicky Langdon
  58. Love Sick – Abi Island
  59. Be Brave! – Lisa M. Clewner-Newman
  60. I’m Not Afraid – Patricia J. Franz
  61. The Girl With The Candyfloss Hair – Simon Yeend
  62. Valentine’s Day on Halloween Hill – Abby Wooldridge
  63. W-R-I-T-E For Each Other – Elizabeth Muster
  64. Olive You Forever – Ann Ferrello
  65. The Pink Pro – Kelsey Gross
  66. Brave Brave Brave – David McMullin
  67. The Witch of Valentine Lane – Marietta Apollonio
  68. Gordon’s One-Footed Hop – Kelsey Gross
  69. Charmadillo – Lauri C. Meyers
  70. “Soon” – M.R. Haqq
  71. More Than Cookies – Halley M. Cormack, LCSW
  72. Fishing For Love: A DIARY – Amy Olsen
  73. The Lost Valentine – Jeannette Suhr
  74. Brave New Friends – Dawn Young
  75. Scaredy-Cat – Danielle S. Hammelef
  76. Hard To Love – Robin Currie
  77. Brave Hearts – Susan Klaren
  78. Across The Road – Rachel Dutton
  79. Knight of Hearts – Ellen Crosby
  80. Tootsee Tulip Bulb’s Love-Treat – Judy Caldwell Hughes
  81. Brave in the Basement – Jessica Whipple
  82. Caleb’s Heart – Anne Bromley
  83. Corn Dogs on the Corner – Colleen Dougherty
  84. Brave Heart – Rebecca Gardyn Levington
  85. Knock, Knock, Knock – Marty Findley
  86. Villain-tine’s Day – Laura Bower
  87. Take A Deep Breath – Elyse Trevers
  88. Only Three Words – B. A. Schlosser Hill
  89. A Stolen Valentine – Martha Holguin
  90. Class List – Elizabeth Volkmann
  91. Cards and Cookies – Jennifer Reichow
  92. Chalk Tears – Judy Brewer
  93. Nurse A Broken Heart – E. Elle Bea
  94. Bravely Soldier On – E. Elle Bea
  95. New Kid Blues – Darcee A. Freier
  96. Valentine’s Recitation – Keely Leim
  97. Mama Love. Dada Love. – Nancy M. Tichenor
  98. A Valentine’s Treasure – Ingrid Boydston
  99. An Itsy Bitsy Valentine – Maria Antonia
  100. Dino & Gigi – Carolina Bottino (Nina K. Brown)
  101. Hearts Trail – Carolina Bottino (Nina K. Brown)
  102. The Giant’s Valentine – Sheila M. Hausbeck
  103. The Loneliness Street – Nina K. Brown
  104. Brave Little Valentine – Charlotte Dixon
  105. Playdate – Margaret Aitken
  106. Octopus Hugs – Chambrae Griffith
  107. Conversation Heart Courage – Becky Kimbrough
  108. My Friend Nate – Karima Davis
  109. Jojo’s Valentine – Sarah Hawklyn
  110. “I Like You A Lot” – Julie Schnieders
  111. Unconventional Friendship – Sarah Hawklyn
  112. The Flavors of the Heart – Armineh Manookian
  113. The Candybot – Ellen Seal
  114. An Otter Love Story – Kristy Roser Nuttall
  115. Floret And The Fondue – Ashley Sierra
  116. Be Brave, Be Kind, My Valentine – Susan E. Schipper
  117. Cupid’s Booty Camp For BabyBoo – Ally Enz
  118. Playing To Win – Norah Colvin
  119. Super Special Valentine – Aundra Tomlins
  120. A Brave Change of Heart – Amy Nicolai
  121. Sarla Asks A Question – Sandhya Acharya
  122. A Trail of Ketchup and Mustard – MeiLin Chan
  123. Juliet and Romeo: Verona’s Valentine’s Celebration – Cristina Raymer
  124. A Little Atom – Isabel Cruz Rodriguez
  125. Oscar Octopus Plants A Garden – Isabel Cruz Rodriquez
  126. My Bestest Friend – Roberta Abussi
  127. My Every-Day-Valentine – Roberta Abussi
  128. Sarah’s Valentines – Rachel Zimmerman Brachman
  129. Lemur In Love – Sarah McDermott
  130. A Cocoon of Love – Jyoti Rajan Gopal
  131. Eggbert – Charlie Bown
  132. A Valentine For Mom – Patricia Martin
  133. Becca’s Brave Hearts – Marty Bellis
  134. Little Truck’s Daring Delivery – Kristin Kolp
  135. The Valentine On My Shoe – Catherine J. Lee
  136. No More Pink – Robin Currie
  137. Shiny Sharp Scissors – Katie Fischer
  138. Valentine Love Languages – Jaymie Dean
  139. Val & Jack – Karen Keesling
  140. Brave Heart – Tonnye Fletcher
  141. Valentine Delivery – Katie Brandyberry
  142. Apple Pie: Valentine’s Day Treat – Sarah Skolfield
  143. Brave Little Friends – Judy Sobanski
  144. Lone’s Very First Day – Jennifer Reinharz
  145. The Monster’s Valentine Buffet – Kelly Conroy
  146. Freddie Frog’s Valentine – Lindsey Hobson
  147. A Simple Valentine – P. J. Purtee
  148. The Wonky Heart – Stacy Burch
  149. Roses From Valentina – Carmen Castillo Gilbert
  150. A Natural Valentine’s Day – Sharon McCarthy
  151. Miss Hedgehog’s Valentine Mission – Amy LaMae Brewer
  152. Blown Away – Diana Webb
  153. Zooming Valentine’s Day – Susan VandeWeghe
  154. Snack Attack – Melisa Wrex
  155. Heart Hands – Sarah Heaton
  156. Bigfoot’s Valentine – Kirsten Leestma
  157. Geronimo! – Lydia Loeber
  158. The Most Terrible, Awful, Icky Valentine Ever – Melissa Trempe
  159. Babies Share Bedrooms – Kristi Newsome
  160. 214 St. Valentine Way – Tracy Anderson Martin
  161. Six Secret Valentines – Una Belle Townsend
  162. The Bees and the Birdss – Paul Kurtz
  163. Someone Special! – Paul Kurtz
  164. Zombie My Valentine – Donna Kurtz
  165. The Owl and the Kitty-Kat – Donna Kurtz
  166. No Pictures! – Diane S. Scotti
  167. Blue Flower – Mary Warth
  168. New Line Valentine – Marcia Parks
  169. Leo Lionhearted – Jill Lambert
  170. Bravery Is From The Heart – Sophia Zafra
  171. A Heavenly Visit – Deborah Dolan Hunt
  172. The Bird And The Cat – Beth Winslow
  173. THE Valentine Question – Kate Rehill
  174. How To Be Valentines (With A Boa Constrictor) – Mary Noon
  175. Desi’s Daring Delivery – Darci Nielson
  176. New Best Friend – Sherri T. Mercer
  177. The Gift Tree – Ciara N M Greenwalt
  178. One Shot – Dazzle Ng
  179. Fuzzy Bum – Stacey Miller
  180. Arrrrr Is For Valentine – Sara Ackerman
  181. Valentine’s Day Rocks – Samantha Haas
  182. Cyrus The Bold – Patricia Corcoran
  183. Saying What I Really Mean – Nina Nolan
  184. Mr. Grumpy’s Valentine – Anne Sawan
  185. Heart Shaped Everything – Rathi Munukur
  186. You Can Do This Jonathan! – Martina Palkovicova
  187. Caveman Valentine – Jennifer Lowe
  188. Percy’s Valentine – Nancy Derey Riley
  189. Brave Hearts – Mary Rudzinski
  190. Legendary Valentine – Audrey Day-Williams
  191. In Front Behind – Diana Webb
  192. A Punny Valentine – Linda Staszak
  193. Love is an Ocean Away – Kimiko Wadriski Lumsden
  194. Valentine’s Day Rescue – Brigid Finucane
  195. Mission: Cancel Cupid Call – Kalee Gwarjanski
  196. The Valentine’s Quest – Karyn Curtis
  197. Seeking Courage – Bonnie Kelso
  198. Valentina and Valentino – Claire Lewis
  199. Will You Bee My Valentine – Ranessa Doucet
  200. A Valentine Ski – Clara MacClarald
  201. Dance Like An Eagle – Jyothi Nookula
  202. A Gift For Abuelo – JC Kelly
  203. My Tummy Valentine – Janice Kay Alexander
  204. Elijah and the Valentine – Susan Twiggs
  205. Assortment Phobia – JC Kelly
  206. A Beastly Valentine – Steve Jankousky
  207. A Valentiny for ME! – Karima Davis
  208. Friendship Cake – Dea Lenihan
  209. Be My Valentine – Liz Kehrli
  210. Love Story – Liz Kehrli
  211. Love Birds – Lisa Lee Furness
  212. Mr. Grumpy – Mary A. Zychowicz
  213. Feep and Meep – Echo Roben
  214. The Cave of Utter Darkness – Bill Canterbury
  215. Yellow Like A Mango – Imelda Taylor
  216. Melanie’s Back! – Shari Della Penna
  217. All About Heart – Anna Lunt
  218. Tilly’s Great Big Heart – Amy Flynn
  219. Insiya’s Valentine – Aditya Simha
  220. Corazon Does Not Cliff Jump – Kate Rehill
  221. We’re Still Brave! – Kelly Coutsoubos
  222. The Cupcake Who Dared To Be Different – Susanne Whitehouse
  223. Lucy’s Brave Lifelines – Karen A. Kelly

This form ONLY for people who prefer to post on their own blogs and are ONLY posting their entries on their own blogs!

2,380 thoughts on “Be Brave, My Heart! – The 6th Annual Valentiny Contest Is Here!!!

  1. Kate Rehill (@KateRehill) says:

    THE Valentine Question – 214 words
    by Kate Rehill

    The rose was picked,
    the card was colored,
    and the candy hearts were wrapped.
    Everything was ready to ask THE question, except Noah.
    Noah’s belly bubbled, his eye twitched
    and his voice wobbled as he looked in the mirror.
    “She’ll say no. Or yes. She might!”
    He spotted Alexis on the playground,
    took a deep breath,
    stilled his shaky paws,
    and walked over by the swings.
    Noah said, “Alexis, will you….”
    Thwap! Into the dirt he went.
    Alexis bounded over, brushed him off and scampered off to play.
    Noah finally found her again on the slide,
    and slid down after her, yelling
    “Alexis, will you be….”
    Boomp! Into the air he flew!
    Alexis pranced back, picked him up, fluffed his fur
    and scurried off to play.
    “It’s now or never,” Noah thought.
    Chasing her in circles,
    she stopped at the seesaw.
    Noah took a flying hop,
    yelling, “Alexis, will you be my….”
    Shhhewwwm! Up past the trees he was catapulted!
    Alexis scuttled up under Noah to catch him.
    “Alexis, will you be my-
    “Never! But I will be your best friend forever and take all your candy and sniff all your flowers, and- ooh! Is that card for me? I’ll take that, too! You’re the best, Noah! Love you! Let’s go play together!”

  2. Anne Lipton says:

    Brave Little Raccoon! I love how you show how his courage and kindness—to someone who is left out—encourage others to follow in his pawprints. A sweet and delightful Valentine’s poem..

  3. Mary Noon says:

    By Mary Noon

    You might think you’ll never need to be valentines with a boa constrictor.
    That’s what David thought.

    David likes Wren. On Valentine’s Day he brought her a dozen daisies.
    He should have brought a dozen eggs.

    Wren forgot to mention her pet. Who is loose. And between meals.

    But David really likes Wren. So he returns, this time with eggs.

    When your valentine has a pet, it’s polite to take an interest.
    “Please don’t eat me.”

    And say hello. Boas can’t shake hands, but they like to squeeze.
    “You can just wave.”

    Ask the pet’s name. Try to pronounce it properly.
    “Oh. Tssstssssstss.”

    It can be difficult to think of more to say.
    “He sticks his tongue out at everyone.”

    You can share your likes and dislikes.
    “I like snakes and grapes. I don’t like getting eaten.”
    “I like cherries best.”

    Make sure the boa gets to share too.

    If you haven’t been eaten, it’s probably safe to play. Ask your valentine what boas like to do.
    “Shed. Eat.”

    Or suggest something you can all play.
    No, David, not catch.
    Definitely not jump rope.

    Be forgiving if the pet forgets his manners. Snakes make mistakes too.

    Now David has two valentines.
    But he also has eggs, just in case.

  4. darcihere says:

    Desi’s Daring Delivery-214 words
    By Darci Nielson

    “Desi, take a plate of cookies to all our new neighbors,” mom said.
    “All the neighbors?”
    “Yes, Desi, all of them.”

    It was Valentine’s Day, but the old house at the end of their new street looked more like Halloween.

    Desi hadn’t seen anyone go in or out, but had heard a woman’s crackly voice wailing “Ballooooooo, Balloooooo.”

    Desi was pretty sure that “Ballooooo” was a witch’s spell.
    She didn’t want to find out what it did.

    But, eventually, Desi had just one plate left to deliver.
    “Be brave,” she whispered to herself.

    Suddenly she heard a desperate whine from the shed behind the house.
    Desi wanted to run home, but someone needed help.
    “Be brave,” she commanded herself.

    She tiptoed into the yard, moved a fallen branch blocking the shed door and pulled.
    A fluffy blur streaked straight for the house.

    Desi yelled a warning, “Watch out, that’s…”

    “Balloooooooo,” cried the old woman, hugging the fluffy blur.
    “You found Balloo!”

    “Balloo is your cat?”

    “Yes, my poor baby must have been stuck in the shed after the wind storm. Thank you, dear.”

    “Uh… you’re welcome.”

    “You really shouldn’t sneak around in people’s yards, though. You scared me half to death! It’s Valentine’s Day, not Halloween, you know!”

    Be brave, Desi thought.
    “Sorry… Cookies?”

  5. Sherri T. Mercer says:

    New Best Friend – 208 Words
    by Sherri T. Mercer

    My chin wouldn’t stop trembling. New school, new teacher, and no friends; nope, this won’t be a “Happy” Valentine’s Day.

    My teacher was waiting outside, but she wasn’t alone; a boy she called Dennis was with her.

    With a shaky voice, Dennis introduced me to the class as his new best friend. I was speechless!

    I darted to the seat next to Dennis.

    We worked on our Valentine’s boxes until lunch. But I won’t need mine; who’s going to give me a Valentine?

    Dennis announced to the whole cafeteria, “this is Emma, my new best friend!”

    Outside, as I skipped to the swings, I overheard Dennis telling the other kids that I was his new best friend! I smiled inside.

    The best part of my day was when the teacher gave Dennis and me big red hearts. Dennis’ said THE BIG HEART AWARD; mine said DENNIS’ NEW BEST FRIEND.

    When I got back to my seat, my Valentine’s box was full!

    Dennis told me making friends was hard for him.

    So, the teacher invited Dennis to introduce me to the class, telling him, “maybe the new girl would like to have a new friend.”

    She was right. My new friend Dennis helped me have a “Happy” Valentine’s Day.

  6. Ciara N M Greenwalt (@CiaraNawahi) says:

    The Gift Tree (214 words)
    by Ciara N M Greenwalt

    The Tree grows from the highest peak of Valentine Mountain. Strange and wonderful tokens of Real Love droop from the branches: missing pieces, tender stories, invisible crowns.

    Of course, the way is perilous and you must go alone. For the courage to brave the high and ragged cliffs, tuck a memory of your loved ones into your shirt pocket. Your mom. Your grandma. Yourself.

    First, the rocky meadow. The Tree seems so close. But as you climb, it looks further and further away. Trust your earnest heart that you are going in the right direction.

    When the path dips into the forest, you will lose sight entirely. In the darkness, brambles will snag your clothes and hair. When you fall over a log and into a tree, it will be ok to cry and shout. That will make your heart stronger.

    So when you emerge at the base of the cliff and look up, up at the tower so tall you’re sure it will topple, you will be ready to climb, tremulously, with your memories in your pocket, to the plateau.

    And there is the Tree. For your mother, the gentle tenacity of wildflowers. For grandma, the song she lost as a girl. And for you, three words you never thought you could say.

  7. dazzlengsy says:

    by Dazzle Ng (214 words)

    Part 1

    Cupids train all year for this day.
    They have
    one shot,
    two targets;
    one arrow,
    split in two.

    Hands trembling,
    Cara reached for her quiver,
    grasping why it was called just that.

    She nocked a luminescent arrow;
    and just as soon,
    pointed her bow down.

    If she missed,
    it would be a catastrophe.

    Hearts would break.

    But if she didn’t take her shot,
    those same hearts
    would never know love.

    And that would be the bigger catastrophe.

    Breathing deep,
    she closed her eyes
    and let her arrow fly
    —not knowing if she missed or struck true.

    Her eyes shut when she took that shot,
    she didn’t dare open them
    just yet.

    Part 2

    Clutching the daisies she’d picked behind her back,
    Lily gazed up at Mommy
    gazing down
    at a dozen rainbow roses
    new sister had picked out
    with new Daddy
    earlier that day
    on the trip to the market
    she wasn’t invited to.

    Lily retreated
    two steps back
    and into herself
    —right onto the path of
    half a luminescent arrow.

    Taking a breath,
    her eyes closed,
    Lily thrust the flowers at Mommy.

    “Crumpled daisies are my favorite.”

    Part 3

    Cara opened her eyes.
    Her aim struck true.

    “Lily?” the new sister called out.
    “Show me where you picked the Valentine daisies?”

  8. stacey miller says:

    Fuzzy Bum (213 words)

    Stacey Miller

    Fuzzy Bum’s belly flipped and flopped with fear.
    He had to deliver Valentine’s gifts to the creepy creatures of Burping Bog.
    “I’m a brave Fuzzy Bum,” he chanted as his feet sank into the slimy swamp.
    But he shivered and shook as he delivered mud chocolates to The Stinker-Rinker and
    quivered and quaked when he gave a bunch of rotten roses to The Goggle-eyed Gulper.
    And couldn’t wait to leave when suddenly…
    “Anything for little old me?” shrieked a voice from the Bog.
    “Arrrrrgh,” cried Fuzzy Bum. “I mean erm…let me check.”
    But Fuzzy Bum’s bag was empty.
    “No, it’s okay dear…I never get anything,” she sniffed. “Fancy a cup of bog brew?”
    “I would but I have to get back for the Valentine’s party,” said Fuzzy Bum.
    “Ooh a party!” said Warty Nose. “Will there be cake?”
    “Oh yes…and balloons and even fireworks!” said Fuzzy Bum excitedly.
    “Sounds magical!” sighed Warty Nose. “Well, I better get back…It’s my turn to count the Bog’s burps.”
    Fuzzy Bum watched as she shuffled off.
    “I’m a bold Fuzzy Bum,” he chanted. “Ms. Warty Nose… Will you be my valentine?
    “I thought you’d never ask,” she smiled.
    And that night as the fireworks swirled and whirled, Fuzzy Bums belly whizzed and fizzed with friendship and fun.

  9. Sara Ackerman says:

    Arrrrr is for Valentine (214 words)
    Sara Ackerman

    Sidekick Jack was scribbling math, ignoring Captain Betty,
    when something scrawled across the board turned him cold and sweaty.
    He tapped his pencil, chewed his worksheet, hid behind his folder.
    Polly wobble-bobbled—gasp—and fainted off his shoulder!

    Lobsters are red.
    Boxfish are square.
    Show and tell Friday—
    bring something to share.

    Sidekick Jack didn’t fear marauding rivals’ raids,
    losing buried treasure, cannon balls, or cutlass blades,
    stormy seas, rip-roaring waves, or whether berths are leaking.
    “But Sidekick Jack,” his bird explains, “is scared of public speaking!”

    Sidekick Jack complained to Dad of Friday’s show and tell.
    “Write a note,” Polly squawked, “that he’s ‘not feeling well.’”
    “That’s Valentine’s Day!” Dad exclaimed. “Surely you’ll take part.
    Show your classmates what you love. Tell them from the heart.”

    On Friday, Peering Peggy pulled a spyglass from her bag.
    Next up, Jolly Jones displayed his skull and crossbones flag.
    Then Sidekick Jack shuffled up, shaking through and through.
    He cradled Polly in his hands. She whispered, “I love you.”


    Pirates equal courage.
    Oceans equal brine.
    Parrots equal friendship.
    Be my Valentine.

    Rainbow feathers quivered. Polly clawed away a tear.
    Sidekick Jack exhaled, relieved. Classmates whooped a cheer.
    Sidekick Jack pumped a fist while Polly soared above.
    Bravery is just another way of saying love.

  10. Samantha CC Haas (@samanthacora) says:

    Valentine’s Day Rocks – 214 words
    by Samantha Haas

    “Time for show-and-tell!” Ms. Carla announced. “Who wants to share their Valentine’s Day craft first?”

    Arms sprang toward the ceiling like balloons. But Roger’s hands stayed hidden inside his sweatshirt.

    Dylan held up a homemade flower. “I painted pasta for the petals and used a pipe cleaner for the stem.”

    Then Jade chimed in. “Mine is a clothespin butterfly with glitter tissue paper for wings.”

    Roger’s fingers fidgeted inside his pocket while the others went around the circle — each project more colorful than the last.

    Marjorie nudged Roger. “Psst. Your turn.”

    His face turned as red as the rose on his teacher’s desk.

    “Roger, did you forget yours at home?” asked Ms. Carla.

    He cradled something in his palm, weighing what to do next.

    Marjorie leaned over and whispered, “It’s okay. I don’t have craft supplies at my place either.”

    Roger took a deep breath and showed the plain rock to the class. “I read a library book about penguins who give out pebbles like people do with candy when they like somebody.”

    When the students giggled, Marjorie jumped up to distract them with her project: a bent and twisted paperclip.

    “This is my heart,” she beamed. “I’m giving it to the bravest person I know.”

    Roger scooted closer to Marjorie. “Psst. You rock.”

  11. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Cyrus the Bold – 209 words
    by Patricia Corcoran

    Cyrus clutched his Valentines. He had four more to deliver.
    He didn’t want to but his Mom had said: “Cyrus Braveheart, you know our motto. We are bold!”
    But Cyrus shivered. He was not bold. Right now, he was cold…and scared! He didn’t like giving out Valentines. He wanted to be home.
    “Aha! Have you got a Valentine for me?” Fox stepped in front of Cyrus.
    His teeth chattered. He froze. Cyrus shook his head.
    “Then I will take them all!” cried the fox. He opened his mouth, showing his pointy teeth.
    Cyrus raced home. He dove under his bed. “I am not a Braveheart,” he repeated. “I’m scared!”
    That night, Cyrus felt scared…then mad…and finally, sad. Maybe no one gives a Valentine to fox, he thought. Then I must!
    The next day Fox blocked Cyrus’s path. “Hmmm. I don’t see one for me.”
    “Here, I made one for you,” Cyrus said in a shaky voice. “I-I thought we could be friends.”
    “It has my name on it!” Fox’s teeth glinted in a smile. “No one ever bothered to give me a Valentine. Or to want to be my buddy. You, my friend, are Cyrus the Bold!”
    Cyrus grinned his biggest, boldest grin. “I am!” he bubbled. “I am!”

  12. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    by Nina Nolan

    I have to write in the card.

    And not just “Happy Valentine’s Day.”

    Everybody writes that.

    I have to say what I mean. To Max. Not because I think it’s what he wants to hear. But because I want to say what I really mean. For me.

    I look around, hoping to find a clue how to say it.

    Norton, our class turtle, blinks at me.

    Then he stretches out of his shell. Bigger than usual. His head. And all four legs. One at a time. Slowly.


    Thanks Norton. I got it.

    I write in the Valentine card, like our teacher said to.

    But mine’s different.

    “Dear Max, Whenever we talk, I stretch out of my shell to listen.”

    Oh. My. Gosh.

    That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard!

    Then I hear something else.

    Footsteps walking up behind my desk.

    “Me too,” says Max.

  13. Anne Cavanaugh Sawan says:

    Anne Sawan
    214 words
    Mr. Grumpy’s Valentine’s

    Summer, spring, fall, winter, George loved to play baseball.
    One cold February day George threw a ball into the air and swung his bat, SMACK!
    The ball flew over the fence hitting Mr. Grumpy’s birdfeeder
    The birds flew away.
    Mr. Grumpy shuffled out of his house.
    “Hey, you!” He shouted.
    George ran inside.

    “What are you doing?” asked Sara.
    “Hiding,” said George.
    He watched through the window as Mr. Grumpy poured seeds into the birdfeeder and then slipped the baseball into his pocket.
    “That guy is scary,” he said.
    Sara laughed.

    The next day it snowed and snowed.
    George and Sara made a snowman.
    Mr. Grumpy sat across the street staring out his window.
    “I bet he’s looking for more of my baseballs to steal,” George grumbled.
    Sara smiled and said, “I think he’s just looking for his bird friends.”

    Later that evening, George noticed Mr. Grumpy still sitting by his window.
    George pulled on his boots, grabbed a shovel, and dug a path through the snow to Mr. Grumpy’s birdfeeder and then back to Mr. Grumpy’s front door.

    The next morning George opened his front door and there was a basket full of old baseballs with a note attached that said,
    “Happy Valentines Day from the birds and Mr. Grumpy (aka Mr. Olsen).”

  14. Rathi says:

    by Rathi Munukur

    I made a card for Valentine’s day. It was red and had lots of glitter. Ms. Josie asked us to draw hearts. Mine didn’t quite look like hearts. But mommy loved it.

    At home, we made cupcakes. I made a heart with red icing. It looked more like a blobby triangle. But mommy loved it.

    I picked up my blocks and tried arranging them. Making a heart was hard work. In the end, all I had was an arrow. But mommy loved it.

    Valentine’s day was coming to an end. All around me were heart shaped balloons, heart shaped candy boxes and a teddy bear holding a heart (How did the teddy bear make a perfect heart?). No hearts by me though.

    It was time for bed and as usual, mommy asked if I was ready to use the potty. With a big gaping hole, it looked like a white monster ready to pull me in. I shuddered. I wasn’t ready. As I hesitated, mommy’s eyes looked a little sad. That’s when I decided that it would be the best Valentine’s day gift.

    I took a deep breath and climbed aboard. Mommy looked extra happy. I made her day and I hope she saw the perfect heart shape I had made for her.

  15. matike2209 says:

    Martina Palkovičová

    “You can do this Jonathan! You can do this!” the little mouse encouraged himself as he broke into a cold sweat and his entire body trembled.
    “There won’t be a better moment than now,” he whispered, taking a step forward. He took another one, and another, before he suddenly ran back.
    “I can’t do it, I can’t” he shook his head, “It’s just too stressful!”
    He went to his bathroom and splashed cold water on his face. He looked up at himself and tears of disappointment welled up in his eyes.
    If he could not find the courage today, he would have to wait another year.
    He couldn’t do this on any other day; it had to be today. That’s how he had planned it years ago.
    “I can’t wait another 365 days!” he felt his fear overwhelming him again, “I must be brave!” he said decidedly, wiping the tears away with the back of his hand and walking towards the exit hole.
    Just as he reached it, he slowed down and hesitated for a moment.
    Catching himself, he determinedly said, “No! I will not give up!” and walked straight to Elisa the cat’s basket. On her pillow, he put a beautiful red rose and a card which read, “Will you be my Valentine?”

  16. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Caveman Valentine – 184 words
    by Jennifer Lowe

    This Caveman.

    Caveman love Cavewoman.

    Caveman need perfect Valentine gift.

    He like sunflowers.

    But sunflowers make Cavewoman sneeze.

    He like ivy loincloth.

    But ivy loincloth make Cavewoman itchy.

    He like chocolate termites.

    But chocolate termites give Cavewoman tummy trouble.

    Caveman think and think.

    Caveman say ‘Ah ha!’

    Find Cavewoman new cave.

    Bigger cave.

    Nicer cave.

    Caveman say ‘Uh oh!’

    Bear in bigger nicer cave.

    Caveman scared.

    But Caveman love Cavewoman.

    Caveman throw rock at bear.

    Bear grumble.

    Caveman spit water at bear.

    Bear growl.

    Caveman YELL at bear!


    Caveman run.

    To smaller, not-so-nice cave.

    Cavewoman waiting for Caveman.

    She give Caveman sunflower, and sneeze.

    She lay out ivy loincloth, and scratch her itchy rash.

    She uncover mound of chocolate termites, and rub her grumbly tummy.

    Cavewoman love Caveman.

    Caveman say ‘Ah ha!’

    He run to bigger nicer cave.

    Caveman drop sunflower.

    Bear snoop and sniff.

    Caveman fling ivy loincloth.

    Bear yip and put on new undies.

    Caveman trickle chocolate termites.

    Bear track tasty dessert into forest.

    Caveman and Cavewoman move into bigger nicer cave!

    “My brave Caveman!”

    “My brave Valentine!”

  17. Nancy Riley says:

    Nancy Derey Riley 197 words

    “Hello NASA, Percy here,
    I’m on approach to Mars.
    I’ve come to meet my valentine
    out here among the stars.”

    Suddenly his dash went dark.
    He lost communication.
    The rover now was on his own
    to reach his destination.

    “The next ten minutes are the worst.
    It’s called the time of terror.
    I’ve calculated all the risks
    and have no room for error.”

    He used an extra thruster burn,
    to slow his rate of speed.
    He changed his orbit, pitch, and slope
    to plot the course he’d need.

    But then alarms began to blare.
    He cried, “I’ve overshot!”
    His heat shields glowed a brilliant white.
    “I’m coming in too hot!”

    With only seconds left to save
    his Valentine’s Day mission,
    he saw “Range Trigger” on a knob,
    “That’s how I change position.”

    He pulled the knob and felt a thunk,
    the parachute deployed.
    The sky crane lowered him to Mars
    beside another droid.

    He smiled at Curiosity.
    “I had to persevere.
    Please say you’ll be my Valentine,
    now that I made it here!”

    “Your entrance was spectacular.
    It won my heart and soul.”
    She said, “We’ll be the best of friends.
    Come on, let’s rock and roll.”

  18. Writer on the run says:

    Brave Hearts- 214 Words
    Mary Rudzinski

    Little Rabbit stared at the branches of the old oak tree. The Valentine hearts for the party needed to be hung, but he feared heights.
    Mr. and Mrs. Blue Jay always helped, but any day the birds expected three babies.
    Raymond shuffled by.
    “Help me hang the decorations?” Little Rabbit asked the raccoon.
    Raymond yawned.
    “I did not sleep last night. Need a nap before the party,” and he wandered away.
    Fox scampered by.
    “Help me hang the decorations?” asked Little Rabbit.
    “Sorry, Mrs. Fox needs my help,” and Fox hurried home.
    Even if Little Rabbit could climb the big tree, his fear was even bigger.
    Perhaps, this year’s party would have no decorations.
    Then old, grumpy Bear stumbled out of the woods. Hibernating made Bear crabby, but Little Rabbit took a deep breath and whispered,
    “Help me hang the decorations?”
    Bear looked down at Little Rabbit, studied the branches, and sat down to think.
    “I have an idea,” Bear announced.
    Little Rabbit listened and swallowed hard. Bear’s plan sounded scary, but it was almost time for the party.
    Trembling, Little Rabbit stood on Bear’s shoulders and hung each heart.
    Finally, Little Rabbit said, “Thank you, Bear. Tall trees scare me.”
    “A party without Valentines,” said Bear, “ is the scariest thing of all!”

  19. Audrey Day-Williams says:

    By Audrey Day-Williams

    Hot sauce comes from Dragons’ tears
    Fairies sneeze confetti
    Leprechauns burp rainbows
    But I am just a Yeti.
    I sometimes smell like moldy cheese
    My feet are big and sweaty
    Can you find room inside your heart
    To love this hairy Yeti?

    Circle one:
    – Yes
    – No
    – Maybe so

    “This valentine’s to Unicorn?
    She’ll get a ton, no doubt.
    Yeti,” Nessie sighed, “You’ve
    got to make yourself stand out!
    For example,” Nessie gushed,
    “you brighten up the room.
    And did you know when you walk past,
    the frozen flowers bloom?
    You’re not only a legend but
    your farts smell sweet like pie.
    And when you tell your Yeti-jokes
    I laugh so hard I cry.”

    “Nessie, I had no idea—”
    Yeti’s cheeks turned red.

    Bravely, Nessie blurted,
    “I meant every word I said!
    Yeti, I have held this in
    until my heart turned blue.
    I worried things would get all weird
    and awkward if you knew.
    I know my poop’s not sparkly,
    I have no golden horn—”

    Yeti interrupted,
    “This note’s not for Unicorn.”

    He passed Nessie the envelope.
    She stared at the address.
    A serpent tear slid down her cheek.

    To: Nessie, at Loch Ness

  20. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    In Front Behind

    Slithery Slippery Snodgrass Snail was hiding deep within his shell too scared to come out and tell his girlfriend Snealenor Stellena just how much he loved her.

    ‘ Bet you can’t make a great big silver heart right out there on the pavement before the moon comes round again without getting trodden on’ sneered his rival Slimey Take a Long Timey.

    ‘Bet I can!’

    And Slithery Slippery put out first one tentacle then the other and slowly slowly shimmied his way with all the limpid love he could limber leaving a trail in the likeness of the largest loveliest long long lastingest heart that he could lick into shape.

    And a boot came along. Trudge trudge trudge. And it missed him.

    Then a trainer. Jog jog jog. And it missed him.

    Then a slipper. Shuffely shuffely shuffely. And nearly came down on top of him . Shush. But Slithery slid.He slid with the speed of a moonbeam beaming.

    And there it was. The gleamiest streamiest right up over the top and down the other side winning teamiest picture of a silver heart that any snail by the name of a Snealenor Stellena could hope to find.

    And she did. And they slid. Closer and closer. And Slimey Take a Long Timey slipped away and hid.

  21. Linda Staszak says:

    I apologize to anybody who reads this–I couldn’t sleep and my mind wouldn’t turn off….

    By Linda Staszak 212 words
    Henrietta ran into the barn, her head bobbing, and she banged on a battered bucket.
    “Out of the coops everybody. It’s Valentine’s Day. Time to say something nice.”
    “You’re a real comedi-hen,” groaned Sheep.
    “It’s the quack of dawn,” Duck complained.
    “Where’s Piggie?” Henrietta asked.
    Horse snorted. “Farmer said ‘Hogwash, that’s despigable’ so Pig jumped in the tub.”
    “Hurry up,” grumbled Goat. “I haven’t goat all day.”
    “You’re all so a-moo-sing,” muttered Cow.
    “I’ll start,” said Henrietta as she fluffed her feathers. “I’m eggcited to know you all.”
    Cow cleared her throat. “I udderly adore you,” and she took a little bow.
    “Where’s Pig?” someone asked. “The tub’s empty.”
    “Pig is shy,” Duck said. “She might not want to talk. But I’ll say–I’m quackers about you!”
    “Next,” said Henrietta.
    Horse snorted. “You’re all good neigh-bors.”
    “Yeah, I can barely tolerate ewe,” added Goat. “Hey Pig, get in here.”
    “Be nice,” said Sheep. “Pig’s not baaaad, just scared of us.”
    “Let’s give Pig another minute,” said Henrietta.
    Duck waddled toward the door. “I’m hungry,” she quacked.
    Everybody turned to leave when Pig whispered, “I can do this.”
    “Wait,” she called Her tail quivered, she straightened her bow, and said, “Hogs and kisses to you all. Happy Valentine’s Day!”, and even Goat smiled.

  22. Kimiko Wadriski says:

    Love is an Ocean Away – 208 words
    by Kimiko Wadriski Lumsden

    I’m a shy fish with a snout like a pig. I’m the loneliest reef triggerfish in the sea. I’ve searched all over the ocean. Well, to be specific, just the South Pacific.

    Though I’m quite popular, everyone has a Valentine but me! Just look at Stink Bug and Slug cuddled slimy as can be. Or Goose and Moose huddled tenderly. Even Bear and Hare are snuggled so closely.

    All over the world animals are paired! Just look at Raccoon and Baboon sitting in a tree. Or Fox and Ox K-I-S-S-I-N-G. Even Beaver and Weaver nest comfortably.

    Should I ask Jellyfish? No, he’s too scary. I’m not courageous enough.

    Should I ask Manta Ray? No, he’s too mysterious. I’m not adventurous enough.

    Should I ask Monk Seal? No, he’s too fun. I’m not spirited enough.


    There’s no one in all of Hawaii perfect for me! But wait… what if I flee? I’ll swim far away through dangerous seas.

    After 9,129 kilometers, I’m exhausted but excited to finally reach Australia on a moonlit night.

    I’ve done it! I’m enough!

    I’m Humuhumunukunukuapua`a.

    I’m a courageous fish with a snout like a pig swimming in front of a marsupial asking, “Will you be my Valentine, quokka?”

  23. Judy Sobanski says:

    Great job of showing the brother’s struggle! How sweet that he gave his last piece of candy to his hurting sister. Lovely story!

  24. booksinger says:

    VALENTINE’S DAY RESCUE! ~ 214 words
    by Brigid Finucane

    It had snowed for a million days. At least that’s what it felt like to Annie, as she
    filled a basket of her Valentine’s Day cookies and bounded off to surprise her best friend, Clarissa. Snow had turned bushes and houses into soft white hills. Nothing looked the same, but her nose led the way.

    Suddenly the town siren sounded. Oooooooh! That only meant one thing: Emergency!

    “Do you know what happened?,” she barked to Clarissa.

    “The Golden’s puppies are lost. They went out sledding this morning and haven’t returned!
    And roads are too deep for any rescue patrols to get here!”

    “Let’s go find them.”

    Off bounded the two beagles through the blinding snow. They took turns pushing through the high drifts, never giving up.

    “Arooo! Arooo!” they called at the top of the sledding hill. There was only silence.
    But wait! Was that a yip?

    They slid and tumbled to the bottom and crashed into something solid.

    “Time to dig!”

    A sled! Under it were three shivery puppies huddled together.

    “You found us!”

    Annie and Clarissa righted the sled and placed the whimpering puppies on it. They slowly dragged the sled up the hill to the Golden’s home where the puppies were happily reunited.

    Clarissa fetched her cookies, and they all celebrated!

  25. kaleegwarjanski says:

    By: Kalee Gwarjanski

    2/14. 3:00am. Phase 1: Time Travel

    Sneak out of bed.
    Locate calendar.
    Destroy page 2/14.
    Display 2/15.

    I have to call Aunt Edna every Valentine’s. Her favorite day. (My worst.)
    Calling old people is terrifying. You can’t just smile; you need say something.

    8:00am. Phase 2: Sweet Talk
    “February 15th –a great day to be alive,” I fib during breakfast.
    “Today’s the 14th…” corrects Mom, “…that means Lady of Love is expecting a call from her favorite nephew/valentine. Where’s my phone?”

    My throat closes.
    What do I say?! She likes sewing not superheroes, sweaters not soccer, and doesn’t even understand texting.

    8:04am Phase 3: Cellphone Elimination.
    Hide under placemat.

    “I’ll call it,” says Dad.

    The entire table vibrates. Busted.

    “Found it.” I act relieved. (I’m not.)

    “No time like the present.” Mom stares into my scaredy-cat soul.

    8:07am Phase 4: Surrender.
    Search Edna.
    Wipe palms.
    Press call.
    Deep breath.

    “Hi Aunt Edna, it’s Andy,”
    “Who?” she barks.
    “Andy, your nephew… your favorite valentine?”
    “Andy, my darling sweet boy. You never forget your old Aunt Edna on my favorite day. That’s wonderful. Thanks for calling, dear. Take care.”
    Then I remember, no need to panic.
    Aunt Edna never talks more than a minute. Uncle Ralph is the chatterbox at Easter.

  26. KarynCurtis21 says:

    The Valentine’s Quest – 212 words

    Tom the knight peeked around the bush. His quest to bring Valentines chocolates and homemade bread to Princess Amanda was going badly. First, she probably didn’t even know he existed. She always had her head in a book. And second, there was the dragon. Which might actually be the bigger problem. It wasn’t a huge dragon, but still. Breathing fire and all. Between Tom and the princess.

    He swallowed. His armor was itching and the chocolates were melting. If he could just get past that dragon…

    He took a deep breath—and sprinted towards the castle. The dragon roared, and flames licked his feet. Tom tripped and his visor slipped down. He couldn’t see! Where was the gate? He fled blindly, the fire and thunderous noise on his heels.

    In desperation, he threw the chocolates over his shoulder. The roaring stopped abruptly.


    Tom lifted his visor. The dragon lay in a smoldering heap. Princess Amanda stood in front of him, holding a book.

    “That was really brave!” she said.

    “It was?”

    “Sure! How did you know dragons are allergic to chocolate?”

    “Umm…I didn’t?”

    “Oh. You should read more.”

    There was a long pause.

    Then Tom held out the bread. “I brought you some…toast. Happy Valentines!”

  27. Bonnie Kelso says:

    Seeking Courage – 214 words
    by Bonnie Kelso

    Finding lost things was Riley’s specialty.
    She found Mama’s keys!
    A shiny penny.
    Her sister’s doll.
    “Here it is, Kara.”

    Riley and Kara were playing hide-and-seek
    when Riley found Mama wrapped in a blanket.
    “I’ve lost my job.”
    “I’ll help you find it!” said Riley.
    Mama hugged her tight.

    Later Riley found
    a stack of boxes
    with Kara’s doll stuffed inside one.

    “We’re moving?” asked Riley.
    “I’m sorry I couldn’t find your job.”

    “I know moving is scary, Riley,
    but we have to find courage,” said Mama.

    Riley looked everywhere,
    but she couldn’t find courage.
    She wished courage would find her.

    At the shelter, Riley counted to ten
    and opened her eyes.
    She searched for Kara…
    in every room,
    in every closet,
    and on the patio.
    Cars zoomed in the street.
    Kara was lost!
    Her heart beat faster.

    “We’re in here, Riley,” said Mama.
    Kara was safe.

    Riley collapsed.
    “I can’t find my courage!”
    Mama smiled.
    “Riley, I found a job!”
    They squeezed each other tight.

    In their new apartment, they found wonderful things.
    Soft blankets.
    Friendly neighbors.
    Kara discovered a new word, Riley.

    Riley decided courage isn’t something you find.
    It grows inside, little by little,
    like making a friend,
    learning new words,
    or the feeling of home in a new place.

  28. claireflewis says:

    Valentina and Valentino – 214 words
    by Claire Lewis

    Tree squirrels Valentina and Valentino were best friends – different, but perfectly matched.

    When Valentina gobbled all her nuts, Valentino shared his supplies with her.

    When Valentino didn’t dare to raid the bird feeder, Valentina raided it for him.

    Valentino loved Valentina but was afraid to say anything. ‘She’d never love someone timid like me,’ he thought.

    Valentina loved Valentino but didn’t want to alarm him. ‘He’d never love someone reckless like me,’ she thought.

    For Valentine’s Day, Valentino bravely sent Valentina an ENORMOUS card with flamboyant hearts, flashing balloons, and poetry. ‘Exactly the sort of razzmatazz she loves,’ he thought.

    Valentina limited herself to a small, plain card with one tiny heart, tucked discreetly beneath some moss. ‘He’ll appreciate the lack of fuss,’ she thought.

    Valentino called by. ‘Any valentines?’ he said casually, his heart thumping.

    ‘Yes!’ said Valentina. ‘A ridiculously over-the-top one! AWFUL! Did you get any?’

    ‘None, as usual,’ said Valentino. ‘It must be GREAT to get hearts, balloons, poetry… the works!’

    ‘So… if you WERE to love someone, you’d prefer somebody… over-the-top… like me?’ said Valentina.

    ‘Uh-huh,’ said Valentino, shyly. ‘And… if YOU were to love somebody, you’d prefer someone… quieter… like me?’

    ‘You bet!’ whooped Valentina.

    ‘In that case, will you be…’ they said, together.

    ‘…my Valentino…?’

    ‘…my Valentina…?’


  29. ranessadoucet says:

    Will You Bee My Valentine?
    By: Ranessa Doucet
    214 Words

    Betsy always looked forward to the yearly Valentine’s Day party. The hive was abuzz with excitement.

    This year, Betsy was asked to sing the traditional bumblebee Valentine’s Day song, “Will You Bee My Valentine?”.

    Betsy had a beautiful voice. She loved singing, but not in front of a crowd. What if she messed up in front of the whole swarm? That would sting!

    When the day arrived, Betsy hid in the honeycomb, hoping to avoid everyone. No such luck.

    “Sweet-bee, what are you doing in there?”

    “I can’t do it, mom, I’m not brave enough!”

    “You can be brave and nervous at the same time,” said Mom gently “they go together.”

    Reluctantly, Betsy flew out in front of the hive. She trembled so much that a cloud of pollen surrounded her.

    She had the urge to fly away, but something stuck her in place like honey.

    Betsy knew deep down in her abdomen that she would never know if she was brave enough unless she tried.

    She took a deep breath, and when the pollen cloud dissipated, she closed her eyes and sang, “Will You Bee My Valentine?”.

    Betsy opened her eyes to the sweet sight of the hive fluttering their wings. She had never felt braver and happier, they must go together too.

  30. Clara MacCarald (@CMaccarald) says:

    A Valentine Ski – 214 words
    by Clara MacCarald

    Future polar explorer Mari gripped her ski poles. The snowy slope looked much steeper from the top. Maybe the Valentine’s Day Open Ski wasn’t her day to conquer the Tiger Jump Trail.
    “See you at the bottom.” Cora flew by.
    Cora was so cool. If Mari caught Cora below, she could offer her a chocolate heart.
    No explorer feared a little hill. Mari pushed off.
    Wind stung her face. Her skis sliced through snow as she zipped from side to side. Watch out, polar mountains! She passed Cora and gave a thumbs up.
    One of Mari’s skis started to slip. Uh oh. Both skis skidded. She hurtled to the side and plunged into the snow. Cut down in the moment of triumph!
    “You okay?” Cora asked.
    Mari lay still. She wished Cora would go away and never speak of this disaster again.
    Except explorers never hide from challenges. Mari struggled up and took a deep breath. “This is my first time on the Tiger Jump,” she admitted.
    “I fell five times on my first run,” Cora said.
    Really? Maybe Mari could risk failure too. “Want a chocolate?” Mari asked.
    “Sure.” Cora took it and smiled. “So I’m your Valentine?”
    Mari grinned back. “If I get to be yours.”
    “Race you down.” Mari soared.

  31. jyothi-writes (@JyothiWrites) says:

    DANCE LIKE AN EAGLE- 207 words
    By Jyothi Nookula

    “Eagles fly high, Eagles have a keen eye,” chanted the leader of the congregation. Everyone chanted, except Terry.

    Terry loved to dance. He longed for a partner to dance.

    “Eagles don’t dance. Eagles attack in a glance” said his friend.

    No one cared for a dance but Terry was determined to find a partner.

    He soared at sunrise and searched.

    He could not find anyone.

    He searched and searched some more.

    He found a plane passing by.

    Perhaps, the plane will join him in his stride.

    The plane was in a hurry to reach its destination and passed his offer.

    He found a mouse chewing on the ground.

    Perhaps, we can shimmy together.

    The mouse ran away on seeing him.

    Terry was worried. In his heart, the wish wouldn’t give up.

    Slowly, he began flying back home.

    And that’s when he saw it….

    The clouds parted to reveal a heart in the sky.

    Terry pondered for a moment before he leapt.

    Will they continue to be friends with me?

    Be brave! Have courage! Follow your heart, he heard a voice deep inside.

    He took a deep breath…

    He swirled with the clouds,
    Pirouetted with the mist.
    He peered at his flock,
    And leapt go of a kiss.

  32. writestuff99 says:

    A Gift for Abuelo
    (214 Words)
    JC Kelly

    My Abuelo is the “Quinceanera King.” He magically transforms shimmery silks and sparkling chiffons into amazing custom Quinceanera dresses. People come from all over for his creations. Or, they used to. Before COVID. Without big parties, Abuelo doesn’t have any orders.

    I miss seeing the usual smudge of glitter on his face. And the glimmer has left Abuelo’s eyes as he sits staring at tv all day. We try to get him to leave the house, but he refuses to wear a mask. He yells at anyone who suggests it.

    I still do my homework in his workshop, like I used to. But it’s too quiet without the hum of his sewing machine. One day, as I was looking for sequins to make valentines, I found a piece of simple grey fabric…. And I had an idea…

    My family cowered in the kitchen when I handed Abuelo the handmade Valentine’s gift. My mother whispered, “I don’t know if you’re brave, or crazy. He’s going to YELL!”

    When Abuelo unwrapped the gift I had sewn, his eyebrows shot up to ceiling. My family gasped as he put it on. I couldn’t see his mouth, but I’m pretty sure he was smiling behind the mask when he said, “I taught you well. It’s a perfect fit.”

  33. janicekayalexander says:

    My Tummy Valentine – 214 words
    By Janice Kay Alexander

    A large Valentine card was sitting on my desk for all to see.
    “Your tummy’s too chubby” was all it said.
    Whoever wrote the card was not brave enough to sign their name.

    I commanded my tears to stay put until class was over.

    The final bell brought fresh snickers as classmates jostled past me. Running across the school yard, my wet cheeks felt cold and numb, just like my heart.

    Finally, home, I threw my backpack on the hallway floor and ran out the back door. “Slam!”

    Snuggled under the protective branches of my favorite willow tree, my tears were interrupted. Through the wispy leaves, Momma handed me a cup of steaming tea in her favorite china cup. Had she seen the ugly valentine?

    My emotions tensed; awaiting Momma’s familiar counsel: “People who tease us are afraid and insecure”.
    Instead, Momma laid my precious art box beside me. She kissed my forehead and sat down.

    I opened the box and on top of my glitter pens, glue sticks and fancy paper, was a faded card that read: My Tummy Valentine.

    Momma smiled at me and said, “My brave girl, Momma learned to love her tummy and you can too”.

    Momma walked back to the house as I wrote “Dearest Tummy, Happy Valentines’ Day”.

  34. setwiggs says:

    Elijah and the Valentines-213 words
    by Susan Twiggs

    Elijah jumped over puddles on his way to school. His tummy jumped too. It’s his first Valentine’s day in America, and his sister bought him a package of valentines. He printed his name on each card. Then he printed the name of each classmate on the envelope. He licked the envelopes and the glue tasted like the dry crackers he’d eaten in the refugee camp.

    Two steps before the door, the wind whipped. The wind pulled. The wind snatched. The valentines fell like a waterfall.
    “Oh no,” Elijah cried, “my valentines are ruined.” Tears larger than stones fell.
    The bell rang. Elijah was having a bad day.
    Shawn stepped out of his mother’s SUV and ran to the door. He noticed Elijah and the valentines. Even though he’d be late, he stopped.
    “We’ll get them all picked up,” he said.
    Elijah protested, “But they’re wet. Who is going to want them?”
    “We can dry them on the heater,” Shawn said.
    Shawn spoke to their teacher. He showed Elijah where to dry the cards and they spread them out together.
    Elijah’s valentines rippled with watermarks and crinkled when his classmates opened them. Elijah smiled. Shawn helped him save his wet valentines and he’d made a new friend. That’s the best Valentine Day present ever.

  35. writestuff99 says:

    Assortment Phobia
    (208 Words)
    JC Kelly

    “Coconut tastes just fine,
    But caramel would be divine.
    Hazelnut is very yummy,
    I’d like some fudge inside my tummy…”

    I sing this song to myself
    as I peek into the glittery heart-shaped box.
    Nestled inside are “12 Assorted Chocolates.”
    “Assorted?” What exactly does that mean?

    I think it means they’re all different.
    Which would be ok.
    If I only knew
    which was which?

    I’ve had a few bad ones…
    like the raspberry mousse of 2018.
    And let’s not even talk about 2019:
    The year grandpa gave us cherry cordials

    Ever since the cordials,
    I have “Assortment Phobia.”
    Am I the only one who has a
    fear of unknown chocolates?

    Who knows what dangerous filling might lurk
    beneath the chocolate shell.
    I CANNOT bite into a chocolate unless
    I know what’s inside.

    But these Valentine’s chocolates look so good.
    They smell delicious.
    And, I read the ingredients…
    No cherries!

    I try to sniff them,
    And quickly learn that it’s not polite to sniff chocolates.
    I suggest that we cut them all open,
    but evidently everyone is still mad at me for sniffing all the chocolates!

    I cannot resist.
    I must face my fear.
    I hold my nose,
    and pop one right into my mouth.

    Ah, caramel – how divine!

  36. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    A Beastly Valentine – 214 words
    by Steve Jankousky

    “Riley!” Papa bellowed. “What’s on your bed?”

    Riley looked up from making Valentines at the dining table.

    “It has a long tail!” Mama chimed in. “Oh my gosh. Is it a monkey?”

    “It has strong mighty paws, Riley. It might be a lion,” said Papa.

    Riley was nervous now and ran to the front door, ready to escape if necessary.

    “Get it out of my room, whatever it is!”

    “It has big chomping jaws. It could be a tiger,” Mama cautioned.

    “Why is it on MY bed? This is the worst Valentine’s Day EVER!” Riley wailed.

    “It’s got thick black fur. It may be a bear,” warned Papa. “You’re going to have to get it off the bed yourself, Riley.”

    “But I’m scared.”

    “Be brave,” Mama encouraged.


    “You can do it,” Papa reassured.

    Riley put on some oven mitts and a bicycle helmet in case the creature attacked and then quietly tiptoed toward the bedroom.

    There was growling.

    Mama giggled.

    Riley charged through the doorway with the oven mitts raised for combat and then stopped dead. Staring down the fearsome beast, the beast stared back. Then it loudly slapped its tail against the comforter.

    Long tail.
    Mighty paws.
    Chomping jaws.
    Thick black fur.

    “It’s a…

    IT’S A…

    A PUPPY!”

    “Happy Valentine’s Day, Riley!”

  37. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    A Valentiny for ME! -214 words
    by Karima Davis

    When I woke up this morning, Mommy and Daddy weren’t there. Gigi came in my room and said I should be brave. They would be back in two sleeps. I was sad. They went to get Baby Penny out of Mommy’s tummy. Gigi gave me a hug and told me she loved me. “Let’s make a card for Penny,” Gigi said. I didn’t want to make a card for Penny. I said, “Let’s make a card for ME!”

    Gigi and I played all day and read books before bed. When I woke up, Mommy and Daddy still weren’t there. I was sad. “One more sleep and they will be home,” said Gigi, “Let’s decorate cookies. Tomorrow’s Valentine’s Day!” “Cookies for ME?” “Yes, for you,” said Gigi.

    That night Gigi told me I was being so brave for going to bed without Mommy and Daddy home. Only one more sleep! We snuggled and she gave me tickly Gigi kisses. The next day Gigi and I waited by the window for Mommy and Daddy to come home!

    Mommy came in the door and ran to me. She said, “I love you!” I saw Baby Penny. She’s so tiny. I asked Daddy if she was for ME. “Yes,” Daddy said, “A sister for YOU! Happy Valentine’s Day!”

  38. dealenihan says:

    Friendship Cake – 209 words
    Dea Lenihan

    Louise wound up the purple mouse her Dad sent for Valentine’s Day.
    It wiggled left and jiggled right.
    “My turn,” said Becca.
    “I just got it!” said her friend Louise.
    “You’re supposed to share,” said Becca.
    “Alright…” said Louise.
    Becca turned the key…one, two, three, four times…
    “That’s enough!” said Louise, “You’re going to…”
    “You broke it?” asked Louise.
    “I didn’t mean to!” said Becca.
    Louise started to cry.
    Becca walked home and texted Louise.
    I’m sorry. I’m going to make you a Valentine cake. Friends forever? she typed.
    But Louise didn’t answer.
    Becca waited…and waited some more.
    Still no word from Louise.
    After dinner she asked if she could make Louise a cake.
    But what if she didn’t want it?
    What if she was still upset?
    What if she didn’t want to be friends anymore?
    She decided to do it anyway.
    She made the cake extra chocolatey.
    She made it extra Valentiny.
    She filled it with friendship.
    She walked to Louise’s house and knocked.
    “I’m sorry Louise. Are we still friends?”
    “Of course!” she said.
    “I thought you might be mad forever,” said Becca. “I almost didn’t make it.”
    “Well, I’m glad you did. Come in friend, let’s have a piece.”

  39. Liz Kehrli (@Liztiz3) says:

    Be My Valentine 214 words
    By Liz Kehrli

    Dear Lucy, I hope you like this Valentine I made. I knew you’d find it here in your favorite field of flowers. Will you be my Valentine?
    -An Admirer

    Dear Admirer, Thank you for the card. I don’t have a Valentine so I’m curious who you are.

    Dear Lucy- Not sure what I was thinking. We’re too different. I don’t have lovely white wool like you. And you’d probably laugh at my crooked tail.
    Dear A, I have a slanted nose, plus I’m a terrible jumper. I can barely make it over a rock.
    Dear Lucy, I’m a good jumper. I only wish I could dance. My long legs always get twisted like tangled tree roots.
    Dear A, I won the hip-hop contest last year. I’d be happy to show you some moves.
    Dear Lucy, I could teach you how to jump-
    Hey- is it you?
    Hi Lucy, I’m Antwerp.
    Hello! I wasn’t expecting an antelope.
    Does it bother you? Hey- watch out for that puddle!
    Oops! I don’t mind, Antwerp, as long as you don’t mind me being a brown sheep.
    At least now we’re the same shade of brown! If you can swim, let’s go to the pond.
    I love swimming!
    Me too!
    Happy Valentine’s Day!

  40. Liz Kehrli (@Liztiz3) says:

    Love Story- 211 words
    By Liz Kehrli

    Tell me again, Dad- how you and Mom got together.
    Well, Cuppy, I was just a Hershey miniature when I first met your Mom. She was hanging out with some Welch guy. He was a sticky character with a grape jelly belly. When he began to sweet-talk her, I got cracklin’ mad.
    What did you do?
    Nothing! I panicked and couldn’t say a word. Maybe my wrapper was too tight.
    Aww, then what, Dad?
    When I got bigger, I played my cocoa bean bongos for her. It drove her nutty.
    My chocolate heart melted. I almost gave up.
    But you didn’t!
    No, Cuppy. When I heard the Jelly dude was trying to sandwich your Mom into marriage, I made my move.
    You know the rest!
    Please tell me again, Dad- it’s the best part!
    I broke off one of my squares, and hurled it at him. But he ducked, and it hit Mom in her creamy center! She went down fast and rolled right into a hornet nest.
    Bzzzzzzzz- the hornets chased after Jelly dude. Then Mom took one taste of my chocolate.
    And that’s when you both realized what a great combination you made?
    Yup, and how lucky we were to create you- our favorite little peanut butter cup!

  41. Lisa L Furness says:

    Ahhh – late to the party but here’s my entry. Thanks, Susanna for hosting this fun contest!

    Love Birds
    by Lisa Lee Furness
    212 words

    Valentine’s Day was almost here and love was in the air.
    Red the Cardinal was the most popular bird in the flock. I bet he’ll get all the valentines. Blue Bird thought.
    But who will Red pick for his valentine?
    “I hope he picks me because I love him,” said Ruby.
    “I love him more,” argued Robin.
    “I know he’ll pick me,” said Rose.
    “I love him too, but Red will never pick me,” said Blue Bird.
    When Valentine’s Day arrived Red opened his valentines.
    Ruby’s said, “You’re so tweet!
    Robin’s said, “Some birdie loves you.”
    Rose’s said, “Be my tweetheart.”
    These were nice but Red wanted to give his valentine to someone who really needed a friend.
    And Blue Bird determined to give Red his valentine, waited for Red to leave his nest.
    While the others weren’t looking, he placed his valentine inside. But what if Red and the others laughed at him?
    When Red returned from his secret errand, he found it!

    Dear Red,
    Will you be my valentine?
    Love, Blue

    And when Blue Bird returned to his nest – there was something waiting for him.

    Dear Blue,
    I would love to be your valentine.
    Love, Red

    “How did you know?” asked Blue Bird.
    “A little birdie told me,” said Red.

  42. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    MR. GRUMPY -214 words
    Mary A. Zychowicz

    Every day when Owen walked to school he’d greet everyone he saw on the way.
    They greeted him back. All except Mr. Grumpy. That’s what Owen called him–in his head.
    When Owen walked by his house, Mr. Grumpy sat on his front porch, all scrunchy faced.
    When Owen said “Hi”, he would grimace, groan and growl.
    Owen would run away with shaky legs and a quivering heart.
    One day, Owen took a deep breath, got very brave, walked right up to Mr. Grumpy and said, “Why do you growl at me when I say hello?”
    “I growl because I’ve been alone so long and I like it that way.”
    That night as Owen was writing out Valentines for his classmates he kept thinking about Mr. Grumpy. He wondered if he really liked being alone. Then Owen thought of something.
    The next day on his way to school, Owen walked up to Mr. Grumpy’s porch, reached into a bag, and pulled out a little red envelope and handed it to him.
    Mr. Grumpy opened the envelope, and pulled out a Valentine and read it.
    His grimace grew soft. He looked at Owen. “Hello. My name is Henry” he said.
    Then Owen knew Mr. Grumpy had a name and Henry knew he had a friend.

  43. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Feep and Meep: (213 words)
    by Echo Roben

    Feep ran a race with Meep. Feep lost, again.

    “I’ll never be fast enough to get to the other side of the road,” said Feep.

    Feep went home and hugged his prized heart-shaped nut. It would be the perfect Valentine to give Nougat. But she lived across the street.

    “I wish I could fly.” But Feep wasn’t a sugar glider.

    Feep held the nut like a football, ran to the where the branch of his tree got thin and lept. “Wheee!” Feep tucked and rolled. But the nut rolled into the middle of the street. “Yeeps.”

    “Vrooom,” went a car. The nut teeter-tottered.

    Feep looked both ways, and ran as fast as he could. When Feep scooped up the nut, he stumbled. The nut went sailing through the air. Feep ducked as a car roared over his head. “Squeep,” yelled Feep, and he scurried to the other side of the road. But where was the nut?

    Meep squeaked halfway up Nougat’s tree, gleefully carrying Feep’s Valentine.

    “That’s mine,” yelled Feep.

    “The fastest squirrel catches the girl,” laughed Meep.

    “Hi Feep,” said Nougat, blushing at Feep.

    Meep bumped into a branch, and the nut fell right into Feep’s arms.

    “Hi Nougat. I brought you a Valentine.”

    Feep never had to cross the street again.

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