What Sayeth My Heart? – The 8th Annual Valentiny Writing Contest for Children’s Writers!

Guess what?

Roses are red

Violets are blue

Valentinies rock

And so do YOU!

It’s time for. . .

The 8th 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 skeptical!  They can be skeptical in a good way or a bad way. They can be skeptical about themselves, or skeptical of someone else. They can be skeptical of a situation, event, occurrence, behavior, or performance, sky’s the limit!  Just make sure it is clearly Valentine-centered! 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 skeptical (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.)  If you are so inclined, 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 between right now this very second and Tuesday February 14th by 11:59 PM Eastern.  There will be no regularly scheduled posts for the duration of the contest (Tuesday Debut or PPBF), so the post and all of your entries will stay up for everyone to enjoy.  If you have difficulty with the comments, which unfortunately sometimes happens, you may email your entry to me using the handy CONTACT button in the menu above and I’ll post it for you. If you do so, please copy and paste your entry into the body of the email and include your title, byline (that’s you – who it’s written by), and word count. NO ATTACHMENTS (they will not be opened!)

The Judging: over the following days, my lovely assistants and I will narrow down the entrants to around 12 top choices depending on number and quality of entries which will be posted here and voted on for a winner as soon as we can get them up.   The winners and Honorable Mentions will be announced a few days after the vote. (I’m not even going to try to hazard a guess on exact dates!)

Judging criteria will include:

  1. Kid-appeal/Kid-friendliness – remember, this is a story for kids!
  2. Creativity in using skepticism, and success in making us feel the skepticism! Skepticism must be central to the story line, not just mentioned briefly in passing in a story about something else entirely.
  3. Valentine’s Day appropriateness – this is a VALENTINE story and Valentine’s Day must be central to it!
  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.

The Prizes:  Oh! What wonderful prizes!!!!!

⭐️ Rhyme & Meter Self Study Course – Renee LaTulippe Renée M. LaTulippe is the author of The Crab Ballet (Cameron Kids/Abrams, 2022) and Limelight: Theater Poems to Perform (Charlesbridge, 2024) and has poems published in many anthologies including No World Too BigNight WishesSchool People, National Geographic’s The Poetry of USOne Minute Till BedtimePoems Are TeachersThankU: Poems of Gratitude, and A World Full of Poems.

⭐️ Free Ticket #1 to Writing Picture Books With Heart Webinar – Rosie Pova

This webinar will explore the elements that give stories that edge, and the power to tug at the reader’s heartstrings, so that they stay with the reader long after they’ve closed the book. 

The webinar will offer tips and practical advice on how to write stories with heart as we use mentor texts and pinpoint the right ingredients of a heartfelt story. A handout PDF is included, and it will provide a long list of titles to use as additional mentor texts.

⭐️ Free Ticket #2 to Writing Picture Books With Heart Webinar – Rosie Pova

This webinar will explore the elements that give stories that edge, and the power to tug at the reader’s heartstrings, so that they stay with the reader long after they’ve closed the book. 

The webinar will offer tips and practical advice on how to write stories with heart as we use mentor texts and pinpoint the right ingredients of a heartfelt story. A handout PDF is included, and it will provide a long list of titles to use as additional mentor texts.

Rosie Pova is the author of IF I WEREN’T WITH YOU (Spork, April 2017), SARAH’S SONG (Spork, September 2017), SUNDAY RAIN (Lantana Publishing, March 2021), THE SCHOOL OF FAILURE: A STORY ABOUT SUCCESS (Yehoo Press, May 2022), and for Middle Grade readers, HAILEY QUEEN PRANKING MAKES PERFECT: THE ALIEN ENCOUNTER (Spork, April 2017)

⭐️ 30 Minute Picture Book Zoom Critique Session with Lynne Marie

Lynne Marie is the accomplished author of Hedgehog Goes to Kindergarten – art by Anne Kennedy (Scholastic 2011), Hedgehog’s 100th Day of School – art by Lorna Hussey (Scholastic 2017), The Star of the Christmas Play — art by Lorna Hussey (Beaming Books 2018), Moldilocks and the 3 Scares — art by David Rodriguez Lorenzo (Sterling 2019 and Scholastic 2019),  Let’s Eat! Mealtime Around the World — art by Parwinder Singh (Beaming Books 2019) and The Three Little Pigs And The Rocket Project — art by Wendy Fedan (Mac and Cheese Press 2022) and American Pie — art by Dea Lenihan (Dancing Flamingo Press, April 12, 2022)

⭐️ Rate Your Story Speed Pass from Lynne Marie

⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Tina Shepardson, author of WALKOUT (Clear Fork Publishing, September 8, 2020)

⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique (Rhyming PB or Children’s Poem) with focus on rhyme and meter from Suzy Levinson, author of ANIMALS IN PANTS (Cameron Kids/Abrams, April 11, 2023) and contributor to many poetry anthologies!

⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Katie Munday Williams, author of POET, PILGRIM, REBEL: The Story of Anne Bradstreet, America’s First Published Poet (Beaming Books, August 2021)

⭐️ Winner’s Choice: Picture Book Manuscript Critique (non-rhyming) OR a 30 minute ask me anything from Kari Ann Gonzalez, author of HOW TO HATCH A READER (Gnome Road Publishing, August 15, 2023)

⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Shelley Kinder, author of NOT SO SCARY JERRY (Spork, September 19, 2017), GOD AND ME AT THE SEA (Kregel Children’s Books, May 17, 2022), and THE MASTERPIECE (Sprok, November 27, 2018)

⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Jenny Buchet, author of LITTLE MEDUSA’S HAIR DO-LEMMA (Spork, May 11, 2021)

⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique OR signed book (winner’s choice) from Aimee Isaac, author of THE PLANET WE CALL HOME (Philomel Books, March 21, 2023)

⭐️ A signed Copy of the gorgeous MY GRANDPA, MY TREE, AND ME (Yeehoo Press, March 6, 2023) from author Roxanne Troup

⭐️ 30 Minute Ask Me Anything Zoom Chat (anything relating to writing/publishing) with Penny Parker Klostermann, talented author of THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHT (Random House 2015) and A COOKED-UP FAIRY TALE (Random House 2017) as well as the forthcoming SPIDER LADY: Nan Songer and Her Arachnid WWII Army (Astra/Calkins Creek 2025) and another as yet unannounced 😊

⭐️ 30 Minute Ask Me Anything Zoom Chat (anything relating to writing/publishing)- Becky Scharnhorst, author of MY SCHOOL STINKS! (Flamingo Books, July 2021) and THIS FIELD TRIP STINKS! (Flamingo Books, August 2022)

⭐️ 30 Minute Ask Me Anything with Rebecca Gardyn Levington, author of BRAINSTORM! (Sleeping Bear Press, 2022), WHATEVER COMES TOMORROW (Barefoot Books, Mar 7, 2023), I WILL ALWAYS BE…(HarperCollins, Spring 2024), and AFIKOMAN, WHERE’D YOU GO? (Penguin/Rocky Pond, Spring 2024)

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 post your entries!

I can’t wait to read your stories!!!

Eager Readers: Check out the comment section for all the fabulous entries! 😊

ENTRIES all entries are linked so you can jump to them easily. Anyone who feels nice can start at the bottom of the list so those entries get read too! 😊

1. To The Moon – Sarah Marhevsky

2. Giant Valentine – Heather Kinser

3. The Princess Is A Scientist – Anne Lipton

4. Dung For Valentine’s – Vashti Verbowski

5. Oh Mr. Groundhog, It’s Valentine’s Day – Susan E. Schipper

6. Tiny The Turtle – Chel Owens

7. ODD Love – Corine Timmer

8. My Stuffed Valentine – Elizabeth Meyer zu Heringdorf

9. The Valentine’s Cloud – Elizabth Meyer zu Heringdorf

10. The Word Party – Kelly Clasen

11. Be Mine? – Spider – Andi Chitty

12. The Valentine’s Day Vulture – Jany Campana

13. Valentine Cookies – Bru Benson

14. Love Punch – Sarah Meade

15. Bulldog and Cat Come Upon a Party – Sarah Meade

16. Baby’s First Valentine – Carrie Karnes-Fannin

17. Hand-wrapped Love – Laura Wippell

18. Daddy, Do You Love Me? – Debbie Meneses

19. Groundhog Oversleeps – Elizabeth Thoms Charles

20. Valentine’s Day Dance Moves – Stephanie Henson

21. Dragons Are NOT Welcome! – Maria P. Pope

22. Guessy Bessy – Valentine Matchmaker – Glenda Roberson

23. Card Tricks – Deborah Foster

24. Sleeping Beauty Wakes Up – Kelly Kates

25. Where Are The Valentines? – Sherry Roberts

26. Valentino’s In Love! – Marty Bellis

27. Poof Poof! – Stephanie K. Mena

28. Gloomy Gus – Marty Bellis

29. Love Is An Adventure – Lauri C. Meyers

30. Fantastic Fox Father – Kathleen Jacobs

31. Amy Ate My Valentine – Ruthie Nicklaus

32. The Great Valentino – Steve Jankousky

33. Sallie Skunk Skips Valentine’s Day – Elyse Trevers

34. P. S. I Like You – Emily Holi

35. Tucker Turtle’s Valentine’s Day Doubts – Nikki Del Vecchio

36. A Skeptical Skunk Named Scottie – Sally Yorke-Viney

37. A Perfect Valentine Card About You – Kay Medway

38. A Sticky Valentine’s Day Invitation – Angela Calabrese

39. Matilda’s New Job – Jesse Anna Bornemann

40. Skeptical V-Day – Isabel Cruz Rodriguez

41. Groundhog’s Party – Mary Rudzinski

42. A Recipe For Friend Chip – Cheryl Simon

43. A Valentine’s Surprise – Sue Lancaster

44. No Mail For R-E-X – Dawn Young

45. Refridgerdating – Jenna Elyse Johnson

46. Chip, Chip Hooray! It’s Valentine’s Day – Jenna Elyse Johnson

47. Ms. Tate’s Tots On The Matter – Jenna Elyse Johnson

48. The Skeptical Receptacle – Ryann Jones

49. Rhino In Love – S. Lee

***Comment Page 2***

50. There’s Nothing Nice About Zachary – Megan Emmot

51. Pilfering Parrots – Katie McEnaney

52. A Valentine For Sassy Cassy – Brenna Jeanneret

53. Cupid Who? – Linda Staszak

54. Milly And The Collywobbles – Colleen Fogarty

55. Capture Cupid – Nicole Garnett

56. Love Litter – Laura Bower

57. A Sister’s Valentine – Tiffany Hanson

58. The Real Surprise For Badger – Cindy Greene

59. Let’s Party – Barbara Renner

60. An Unbelievable Valentine – Susan Eyerman

61. Convincing Cupid – Daniella Kaufman

62. Love, Doug – Abby N. Wooldridge

63. A Snort For A Heart – Sharon Jackson

64. A (Not So) Nice Love Poem – Krista Harrington

65. School Daze: The Valentine Card – Jill Purtee

66. Rosas For El Senor Perez – Carmen Castillo Gilbert, PhD

67. Decisions, Decisions! – Paul Kurtz

68. An Eco-Valentine’s Day – Marla Yablon

69. Too Much Of A Good Thing – Paul Kurtz

70. Prince, Down! – Donna Kurtz

71. Doubting Thomas – Susan Gleeson

72. A Blue Valentine Story – Dwight Evans

73. Cookies, Candy and Cards – Dianne Borowski

74. Valentines: Stamped With Love – Tonnye Williams Flitcher

75. Strange Valentine – Jessica Strahan

76. Love Takes Root – Serena Gingold Allen

77. Teddy Bears Are Real! – D. Eric Herrington

78. Love Jar – Suhasini Gupta


80. A Valentine For Two – Colleen Fogarty

81. The Universe Isn’t Big Enough – SJ Korzelius

82. Bug Me – Danna Zeiger

83. Goojeepers and Mistdoo – Eleanor Ann Peterson

84. Willie’s Heart – Jean Martin

85. Universal Truth – Kara Williams

86. Can We Love Without Our Words? – Jessica Milo

87. Valentine Horse – Emmie R. Werner

88. My Heart Is Yours! – Donna Kurtz

89. The Valentine Box – Ranessa Doucet

90. Loved To The Bone – Celeste Peterson

91. Cranky Old Cranston – Linda Jacobs

92. Tippy’s Magical Forest – Linda Jacobs

93. Love Day – Poupette Smith

94. Chocolate Covered Mealworms – Amanda Perry

95. One Last Valentine Invitation – Lynn Moore

96. My Homemade Valentine – Katie Lee Reinert

97. Tula Tango – Jessi Kay

98. I Don’t Think So – Joan Leotta

99. Roses are red… – Deborah Kim

100. The Love Cookies – Suhasini Gupta


102. A Jellyfish Valentine’s Day – Debi Boccanfuso

103. Chocolate For Valentine’s Day… Again? – Renee Bolla

104. Finding Stray Love – Pamela Swanson

105. Untitled – Deborah Williams

106. Valentine Smile – Ellen Akemi Crosby

107. Heart-Shaped Pancakes – D. Eric Herrington

108. Trick Or Treat? – Colleen Murphy

109. Stupid Cupids – Liisa Walimaa

110. The Valentine’s Day Shoebox – Alison Marcotte

111. It’s Just A Flower, Right? – Kathleen MacEachern

112. Land Meets Sea – Julie Hauswirth

113. Cupid Shmupid – Denise Seidman

114. 2nd Grade Casanova – Kimberly Horch

115. Ladybug Footprints – Kelly Adamson

116. Thanks For Being My Valentine – Sherri T. Mercer

117. Fish Out Of Water – Bridget Magee

118. Dad’s Heart – Kendra Bell

119. Mother’s Valentine Message – Sharon McCarthy

120. The Flavor Of Love – Connie Bergstein Dow

121. Fireworks At Deadman’s Bluff – Aly Kenna

122. Shiver Me Timbers! – Nadia Ali

123. Gifts From The Heart – Helen Lysicatos

124. The Power Of Love – Barbara Kimmel

125. Divine Valentines – Gayle Veitenheimer

126. You’ll See – Lori Dubbin

127. Me And My Best Friend – Mona Pease

128. Wings-a-glow – Jessie Raspbury

129. Pepper’s Perfect Poem – Bri Lawyer

130. Love At First Light – Patricia Finnegan

131. Glenn’s Valentine’s Hope – Nicole Loos Miller

132. Bear’s Chocolate Valentine’s Heart – Anglea Hawkins

133. I Love You Mommy! – Lisa M. Horn

134. Valenterriable – Aundra Tomlins

135. Valentine – Julie Kurtz

136. The Lonely Heart – Anne Bromley

137. Trick Or Treat – Jessie D. Phillips

138. Sally’s Two Valentines – Una Belle Townsend

139. Words Matter – Elizabeth Volkmann

140. How I Almost Forgot Valentine’s Day! – Julie Fruitticher Schroeder

141. Jaden’s Surprise: A Valentine’s Story – Susan Schwartz Twiggs

142. Groundhog’s News – Judy C. Hughes

143. A Change Of Heart – Jill Sbi

144. All You Knead Is Loaf – Alicia Meyers

145. Cupid’s Skeptic – Becky Goodman

146. (Probably) Stolen Valentine – Hannah Kruman

147. A Big Valentine For Little Friends – Marie Key?

148. Just Cal – Elizabeth Muster

149. What Love Looks Like – Ashley Sierra

150. Love Is. . . – Ashley Sierra

151. Peaches’ Valentine – Thelia Hutchinson

152. Valentines Gone Astray – Elise Teichert

153. Kind Hearts – K. Olmstead

154. What Was Up With Valentine’s Day? – Reed Ambrose

155. Lexi’s Plainly Special Valentine – Lisa Billa

156. Stay Away, Red Heart Day! – Terri Dorow

157. Otto’s First Valentine’s Day – Annette Bethers


159. Heart Balloon And Its String – Kate Rehill

160. Jaded Cupid – Effie Koliopoulos

1,021 thoughts on “What Sayeth My Heart? – The 8th Annual Valentiny Writing Contest for Children’s Writers!

  1. Teacher on Hiatus says:

    To the Moon
    by Sarah Marhevsky
    214 words

    Peering through the window, I see the sliver of moon, just like a smile, and I smile back, then glue down the final purple sequins. Using my favorite pink crayon, I print I LOVE YOU on my big sister Vivi’s valentine.
    “It’s beautiful!” Vivi hugs me. “I love you more!”
    “I love you most!” I squeeze her back.
    “I love you to the moon and back!” Vivi winks.
    I put my hand on my hip. “You can’t! We can’t get to the moon!”
    “Sure we can.” She hops. “We can get on your pogo stick and bounce to the moon!”
    I shake my head. “I couldn’t even jump over your Valentine.”
    Vivi laughs, then points to a box of brownie mix on the counter. “I could add lots of baking powder, and the brownies would rise so high, we’d ride ‘em straight to the moon!”
    I giggle. “That’d never work.”
    Vivi snaps. “Wait here and close your eyes!”
    I hear clanking and the whoosh of the door opening and closing.
    “Come!” Holding my hand, she leads me outside. “Open them and look here.”
    I do, and I’m peering through our telescope…at the moon. It’s still smiling, and I’m smiling back again.
    “You’re right, Vivi—you do love me to the moon and back!”

  2. Heather Kinser says:

    by Heather Kinser
    214 words

    Giorgio the Giant was BIG.
    But his confidence was small.

    Long ago, the villagers’ taunts had driven him to hide away—
    up-up and away, in a castle on a cloud.

    There he stayed, hiding from Jacks and beanstalks.
    Until he saw…her!

    Thumbelina glided by, on the back of a singing swallow.
    “Hello, friend!” she waved.

    What joy Giorgio felt in having a friend.

    how would he ever see her again?

    He picked up his giant paper and pen
    and wrote Thumbelina a Valentine…

    I doubt you’ll be my Valentine.
    Why should you? After all…
    my feet are big as pizzas
    and I’m ninety inches tall.
    I can’t make conversation;
    all I say is, “Fee Fie Foe.”
    And my castle in the sky
    would only give you vertigo.

    Giorgio folded his note into a paper plane.
    Whoosh! Down it went.

    The next day, by spAIRrow mail, Giorgio’s reply came.

    It’s true, you gentle giant.
    I’m as tiny as a thumb!
    But I’ll gladly be your Valentine,
    so please don’t be so glum.
    I can see your heart is tender
    as a Valentine in lace,
    and this teeny Thumbelina
    has a heart with LOTS of space!

    In swooped a swallow…

    and there was Thumbelina!

    With open arms, she greeted him—
    “I’ll be your ValenTINY!”

      • Carrie Karnes Fannin says:

        “I doubt you’ll be my Valentine.
        Why should you? After all…
        my feet are big as pizzas
        and I’m ninety inches tall.”

        I love this so much!! And it was clever how you worked in the contest’s name. Good luck with your entry!

      • angiecal76 says:

        “My feet are big as pizzas.” What a great line that kids would eat up. You did a great job seeding Giorgio’s skepticism that Thumbelina would ever care for him. An endearing story with a warm and satisfying ending.

    • catchandi says:

      Aww, this made me smile so much!! I love that Giorgio went for it, even though he didn’t think he stood a chance. Also… “spAIRow mail”, hahaha!

    • Teacher on Hiatus says:

      I’ll be your ValenTINY – ha! What a clever way to connect story and contest! I like the spAIRow mail – and “a heart with LOTS of space.” I also love that the giant (who is generally a maligned character in the fairy tales!) gets some positive reinforcement here.

    • Laura Wippell says:

      Want to shout my appreciation for Giorgio – so brave in putting his feelings out there! A gorgeous story, thanks for sharing

    • jesseannabornemann says:

      As always with your stories and poetry, there’s a lot to love here! Such a fun concept for a Valentine’s Day tale, and the rhymes made me smile (“Fee Fie Foe” / “vertigo” is inspired, not to mention “feet as big as pizzas”!). Well done!

  3. Anne Lipton says:

    The Princess is a Scientist
    by Anne Lipton
    212 words

    The princess viewed her valentines
    and her eyebrows rose.
    She didn’t buy such phony lines,
    trite verse, or sappy prose.

    What would her subjects say to her
    if she did not wield power?
    Would they still send valentines
    or storm her high-rise tower?

    The princess bolted shut her door
    and left behind her crown.
    She pushed a stone to open up
    the well-lit passage down.

    She hurried on some tight-fit gloves
    and donned a snow-white gown,
    then slipped into a science class
    held in Ye Olde Mid-Town.

    She learned how to hypothesize.
    She journeyed on a quest.
    She gathered all her questions
    and put them to the test.

    The survey she compiled
    explored her subjects’ views:
    Is our princess best for us?
    Or does she mean bad news?

    She totted up her subjects’ thoughts,
    instead of just their taxes,
    and plotted out her data points
    upon an x-y axis.

    Her findings showed the well-to-do
    deemed her as good as queen,
    while peasants only scraping by
    saw her as cold and mean.

    The princess is a scientist
    who also wears a crown,
    and when her research proved to her
    how she’d let people down—

    she handquilled heartfelt valentines
    and slashed her lavish spending,
    then gifted everyone a vote
    to pick their happy ending!

  4. Vashti Verbowski (@VashtiVerbowski) says:

    by Vashti Verbowski
    214 words

    When Dunphy crawled out of his hideout, he saw patches of snow. But the deer were grazing, and for a dung beetle, that meant one thing: breakfast!

    “Whatcha waiting for?” asked a butterfly.

    “You’ll see,” said Dunphy.

    As they waited, Dunphy and the butterfly played a game of pass the pinecone.

    “I’m Dunphy, by the way.”
    “Call me Florence,” said the butterfly.

    “Do you want to exchange valentines for Valentine’s Day?” asked Dunphy.
    Florence fluttered happily, “Sure!”

    Just then, the deer stopped munching—
    Plop! Plop! Plop!

    Dunphy formed the deer droppings into tiny balls and ATE one.

    “Oh no!” thought Florence. “I’ve made a terrible mistake.” She could only imagine what kind of valentine a dung beetle would give.

    After rolling the rest of the dung into his hideout, Dunphy waved goodbye, “See you on Valentine’s.”

    When Valentine’s Day arrived, Florence thought about hiding in the treetops, but she wanted to give Dunphy his surprise.

    “It’s a connect-the-dot scavenger hunt,” she exclaimed. “The dots are dung!”

    Dunphy smiled, “Thank you, Florence. I made a similar valentine for you.”

    “Of course,” thought Florence, more dung.

    But what Dunphy gave her, filled the air with unexpected fragrance.

    “Dung is the perfect fertilizer for flowers!” beamed Dunphy.

    Florence laughed. Dung for Valentine’s wasn’t so bad after all!

  5. seschipper says:

    Oh Mr. Groundhog, It’s Valentine’s Day
    Susan E. Schipper
    WC 214

    Is it a shadow or will springtime soon be here? Gabe Groundhog was beside himself. Gabe was unsure. He had to get it right. Early spring? More winter? “Oh dear, oh dear, what if I make a mistake? Everybody is depending on me, especially Penelope Porcupine!” Gabe’s heart began to race! “Penelope will never feel the same about me. She thinks I can do anything. I’m pretty skeptical about that!”

    Gabe ‘s mind went to when he got it wrong. He thought he saw his shadow and raced back into his burrow! Spring, however, turned up the next day! “This is why I’m questioning myself.” “Oh me, Oh my!”

    Winter, Spring, Winter, Spring “BRINNG”!
    Gabe’s burrow bell was ringing nonstop! He attempted to get out of bed.
    “Bed!”, he shouted, “why am I in bed? Am I dreaming? Did I miss February 2nd?” Scrambling to get to his door, he saw his calendar! Then he remembered marking off the days AFTER February 2! “I thought I saw my shadow, but.. ” “It’s Valentine’s Day, and Penelope …Yikes!”

    With an incredulous gasp, he opened the door. There she stood, holding the biggest bouquet of dandelions, alfalfa and clover!
    “Hi Gabe! ”Quill” you be my Valentine?” …

    Back Matter
    Groundhogs’ favorite foods include Alfalfa, clover, dandelions.

  6. Chel Owens says:

    Tiny the Turtle

    Tiny, the turtle, had a not-so-tiny fear
    That nobody would be his friend for Valentine’s, this year.
    His teacher, Mrs. Elephant -with not-so-tiny ears-
    Had said he would get lots of cards from someone very dear.

    “It’s Valentine’s,” she’d trumpeted, as elephants will do,
    “A holiday of fun and treats, and cards with hearts for you!”
    But Tiny -in his tiny shell, and tiny heart- just knew
    That, out of all the animals, he’d get but one or two.

    “I’ll have a bunch!” barked Douglas Dog, as sure as he could be.
    Chirped Betty, quite the happy bird, “You won’t get more than me!”
    And Cora purred, as cats like to, “I want three-hundred-three,
    “From all my friends -and candy, too! Oooh! Just you wait and see!”

    Tiny made some cards with hearts, to sadly give away.
    With not-so-tiny fear, he thought, No one will care; will say,
    “Thank you, Tiny. How’d you know? Come be my friend; come play!”
    Poor Tiny, in his tiny heart, feared Valentine’s that day.

    But Tiny’s doubts and Tiny’s fears; his not-so-tiny cares
    All flew away, like Betty Bird, when he got to his chair –
    For, at his desk, and on the floor, and falling everywhere;
    Were valentines and candy hearts, from everyone. They cared!

    ©2023 Chel Owens
    211 words, according to Wordcounter.net.

    Tiny the Turtle, for the 8th Annual Valentiny Writing Contest

  7. Corine Timmer says:

    ODD Love
    Corine Timmer
    214 words

    “Look at that anemone,” Clownfish said, as her eyes lit up.
    “I wouldn’t snuggle up to Stichodactylidae,” Shrimp said,
    “haven’t you heard?”
    “What?” Clownfish said, as she drifted closer to Anemone.
    Hir tentacles turned a blush pink.
    “That type will sting you then eat you whole,” Shrimp said.
    Clownfish gulped. Her body quivered.
    “I like the way you smell,” Anemone whispered,
    as sie put all hir arms all around her.
    Clownfish stared at her puckered pink lips.
    “Yikes!” Shrimp shrieked.
    Then there was silence.
    When Shrimp opened his eyes,
    Clownfish was swaying in Anemone’s arms.
    “You’re the only fish that hasn’t died in my grasp,” Anemone said,
    “will you be my Valentine?”
    Clownfish beamed.
    Then Anemone started to sing:
    “You’re the flow between my arms,
    my eyes in the dark.
    I love you more than I love myself,
    more than sunlight.”
    Clownfish gasped. “I love you more than romance,” she said,
    “you complete me.”
    “Gross,” shrimp said, as he scurried away.
    “I love you more than boneworms love a carcass,” he mumbled.
    “I heard that,” a sweet-sounding voice said.
    Shrimp looked up.
    The most exquisite goby he had ever seen
    was hovering near him.
    Hir translucent body adorned with
    fluorescent orange spots.
    Shrimp’s whiskers quivered.
    At once he started digging hir
    a hideout.

  8. Elizabeth Meyer Zu Heringdorf says:

    My Stuffed Valentine
    Elizabeth Meyer zu Heringdorf
    193 words

    Anna and James sat next to each other in class.
    Sometimes Anna sneaked a peek at him,
    but they never looked at each other,
    and they didn’t speak.
    A tiny stuffed wombat sat on James’s desk.
    It’s very cute, thought Anna.
    Valentine’s Day was tomorrow.
    She wanted to make James a valentine,
    but terror made her chew her pinkie.
    I’ll make the wombat a valentine.
    At home she looked around for inspiration.
    Vacation gear and groceries were piled together,
    next to Anna’s beat-up stuffed rabbit.
    So Anna drew the rabbit wearing a ski mask
    and carrying a tiny zucchini.
    But would James like it?
    “What are you doing?” asked Anna’s brother.
    “Making a valentine for a wombat.”
    “Oh god, you’re so weird.”
    “Who cares?” snapped Anna.
    But is it too much?
    The next day Anna held her breath,
    and shoved the valentine over to James.
    She clutched her desk as he picked it up.
    “It’s for your wombat, from my rabbit.”
    James opened it up and then read it.
    Then he looked over at her.
    “Bring your rabbit tomorrow,
    And they can eat the zucchini.”
    And they looked at each other and smiled.

  9. Elizabeth Meyer Zu Heringdorf says:

    The Valentine’s Cloud
    Elizabeth Meyer zu Heringdorf
    138 words

    On a bright and early fourteenth
    When the sky was palest blue,
    A heart-shaped cloud appeared there
    With the Valentine’s Day dew.
    “I don’t believe in valentines,”
    a man sniped all the while.
    But as the cloud passed over him
    His pout became a smile.
    At the corner by the bookstore
    The kids shoved in a huddle.
    But as the heart cloud floated near,
    They all began to cuddle.
    A cleaning lady scrubbed the stairs
    with washing pail and mop.
    But as the cloud came by her way,
    She turned and kissed a cop!
    With all this love the cloud filled up
    And there were several showers.
    Small plants sneaked up from underground
    with valentine-shaped flowers.
    The flowers rose up in the air
    And flew to everyone
    So all can have a valentine
    And after rain, the sun.

  10. kellyclasenwriter says:

    THE WORD PARTY (edited)
    By Kelly Clasen
    213 words

    My teacher is destroying Valentine’s Day.

    She said this year we’re trying something different.

    A Word Party.

    No cards, she said. No need for Valentine boxes.

    This year, we’ll swap kind words about our classmates.

    Adjectives, she said.

    But I’m skeptical.

    What’s a Valentine’s Day party without Valentines?

    Without candy?

    What ON EARTH am I supposed to say about Henry Murdock?

    Last week, he put glitter glue on my braids.

    The other day, he stole my pencil.

    I am not at all sure about this Word Party.


    And yet Valentine’s Day is here.

    “Mia, please get us started,” says my teacher.

    Me? First?

    Pink roses bloom on my cheeks.

    But then I look at my best friend Lily, and she grins.

    “Fun,” I say. Lily’s smile widens.

    Classmate by classmate, the words fill my mouth with sweetness.



    “Super-duper fast!”

    I look at Henry and hesitate.

    “Brave,” I say.

    By the time I’m done, good vibes hum in the classroom.

    But then it is Henry’s turn.

    I’m dreading this.

    At last, he gets to me.

    “Perfect,” he says.

    My face flames like a heart-shaped box of chocolates.

    “OK, Henry, let’s move on,” my teacher says.

    But the word hangs in the air.

    The Word Party could have been worse, I suppose.

  11. catchandi says:

    Be Mine? -Spider
    by Andi Chitty
    204 words

    Dearest Fly,

    Roses are red.
    Violets are blue.
    Dewdrops are sweet,
    And so are you!

    Be mine this Valentine’s Day?

    Your admirer,



    My mom told me not to talk to spiders.

    Skeptical at best,


    My Dearest Fly,

    I love your wings, your flawless skin.
    Your sweet aroma sucks me in.
    I love the way you slurp up goop,
    And how you love to dance on poop.

    Please don’t doubt me, I’m sincere.
    All I want is you my dear.




    Yeah… I don’t think I want to be “yours”.



    My Love,

    Your hesitance is a mistake.
    You clearly are not thinking straight.
    I spent all day on your surprise.
    I’ll meet you at my web at 8.

    Sending love,



    Nice try.

    Never yours,


    Silly Fly,

    You’re really funny, yes it’s true!
    Another thing I love about you.

    Please bring a glass of blood-red wine
    To enjoy while I –er, we dine.

    One last request, my yummy one.
    Please eat before you come.




    Changed my mind. See you at 8!

    P.S. Bird will be joining us.



    Just realized you’re the wrong fly. Sorry. You all smell alike.

    Don’t come.


  12. Jany Campana says:

    By Jany Campana
    Word Count 159

    Vultures don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day.
    But Vincent does.
    “It’s my favorite holiday,” he tells his best friend, Valerie. “And this year, I’m bringing Valentine’s Day to the vulture community.
    Valerie is skeptical. “Vultures celebrate meat and nothing else.”
    Vincent explains. “That’s why we need a day to express our love for all things vulture.”
    He begins his campaign by making hundreds and hundreds of cards.
    On Valentine’s Day, Vincent delivers each one.
    Then he waits.
    Just as Vincent is ready to agree with Valerie, the other vultures venture outside.
    Vincent shouts, “Happy Valentine’s Day!”
    “Vultures don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day,” says the biggest vulture. “It’s meat collecting day!”
    Vincent plops down. He watches the flock fly off.
    Valerie joins him. “Happy Valentine’s Day.”
    “You don’t celebrate today.” Vincent’s beak droops.
    “I do now,” Valerie says. “Because of you.”
    Vincent’s heart swells. “That means, the number of vultures celebrating Valentine’s Day has doubled.”
    Vincent’s eyes open-wide. “Imagine Valentine’s Day next year.”

  13. readmybook2002 says:

    Valentine Cookies
    By Bru Benson
    Word Count: 211

    Crowfert the rooster saw them first, Valentine cookies in the bakery window.
    “I love cookies too,” Kanga, his best kangaroo friend, said.
    “Let’s get two cookies! ” Crowfert said.
    “Can I help you?” the baker asked.
    “We want one red and one white Valentine cookie, please,” Crowfert said.
    “That’ll be four cents, please,” said the baker.
    Crowfert checked under his wing.
    Kanga searched in her secret pouch.
    Uh Oh!
    I only have one penny,” Crowfert said.
    And I only have one penny,” Kanga said.
    “One and one is two, not four; just enough for one cookie, not two,” Crowfert said, “Let’s go. We’ll never get both.”
    “Baker, can we barter? I can hop up to the tallest shelf for you,” Kanga said.
    “No, two cookies, four cents,” the Baker said.
    “I can wake you without an alarm clock,” Crowfert said.
    “Nope. Four cents, please.”
    Crowfert looked at the cookie tray.
    “Well, if two cookies are four cents, then one is two cents. “Isn’t that correct, Mr. Baker?”
    “Yes. Two cents.”
    “Can I have the broken half of that red cookie and the broken half of that white cookie to make ONE cookie?” Crowfert asked, “We both can have the cookie we like.”
    “Happy Valentine’s Day!” they said, chewing on their cookie half.

  14. Sarah Meade says:

    Love Punch
    By Sarah Meade
    Word Count: 214

    Ringtail ran excited circles around her neighbor.
    “Peccary, are you coming to my Valentine’s party?”
    “Doubt it,” Peccary mumbled.
    “Why, friend?!”
    Peccary sighed. “Just not feeling the love.”
    Ringtail twirled her tail. “My love punch will help!”
    “Doubt it.” Peccary pouted.
    “You’ll see!”
    Inside, Ringtail reviewed her recipe.
    She sliced strawberries, sprinkled sugar, and cracked a can of sparkling soda.
    She stir-stir-stirred, then sipped. “Hmm . . .”
    Ringtail peeked outside at Peccary lounging under his lime tree– and smiled to herself.
    “Peccary,” Ringtail called, “my love punch is missing something!”
    Peccary opened one eye.
    “Maybe you can help?” Ringtail asked.
    “Doubt it.” Peccary pouted.
    Ringtail twirled her tail. “It needs something . . . sour.”
    Peccary perked up. “Try a lime,” he suggested. “Here you go. Take two.”
    “Thank you, friend!”
    Ringtail smiled as she squeezed lime juice into the love punch.
    She sampled. “Perfect!”
    Ringtail checked her decorations. “Delightful!”
    Soon her friends arrived. “Party time!”
    Ringtail spied Peccary peeking inside.
    She smiled and served cups of love punch.
    “Truly tasty!”
    “Peccary helped!” Ringtail exclaimed. “His secret ingredient saved my love punch!”
    “Yay, Peccary!” Everyone cheered.
    Peccary blinked, then . . . beamed.
    He stepped inside and slurped up some love punch.
    “You were right, Ringtail. I’m feeling the love.”
    Ringtail ran excited circles around Peccary.
    “Happy Valentine’s Day, friend!”

    2023 Valentiny Stories

  15. Sarah Meade says:

    Bulldog and Cat Come Upon a Party
    By Sarah Meade
    Word Count: 205

    Well, well, well. What do we have here, Cat?
    Wow, Bulldog! Looks like a Valentine’s Day party!
    You sure about that, Cat?
    Oh, without a doubt! See the red balloons? Valentine’s party!
    You sure about that, Cat? Could be a birthday party. Did you know every day nearly 17.7 million people around the world celebrate their birthdays?
    But Bulldog, see the heart-shaped streamers? Valentine’s party!
    You sure about that, Cat? February IS American Heart Month. Perhaps this party is for everyone to focus on their cardiovascular health.
    But Bulldog, see the boxes of chocolates? Valentine’s party!
    You sure about that, Cat? February fourteenth IS National Cream-Filled Chocolates Day.
    But, Bulldog. . . Look at the cupids hanging from the ceiling! Red roses! Conversation hearts! If this isn’t a Valentine’s party, I don’t know what it is!!
    You sure about that, Cat? What are all those books?
    Hmmm. I don’t know . . . Hey, Bulldog? What’s that banner say?
    It says . . . “Happy Library Lovers’ Day!”
    Wow. . . Well . . . Wow. I stand corrected, Bulldog. It’s NOT a Valentine’s Day party.
    I do love libraries. Let’s check it out!
    But, Cat, what about Valentine’s Day?
    We can celebrate both! It’s all about the love today, Bulldog.
    I’m sure about THAT, Cat.

    2023 Valentiny Stories

  16. Carrie Karnes Fannin says:

    Carrie Karnes-Fannin

    (78 words)

    might not believe this
    ​right now…

    might not feel it,
    with my small, sticky hand flung
    across your face, with just one hour left
    to sleep.

    might be pressed
    to imagine this as you discover the two bites
    I took from the very last piece
    of double-chocolate

    might not see it,
    while you scrub those knee-high crayon marks
    from the bathroom wall.

    might not believe this
    right now,

    …I love you.

  17. Laura Wippell says:

    Hand-wrapped Love
    By Laura Wippell
    200 words

    I am love.

    I am little Benny’s love.

    I am little Benny’s love for his mom.

    I am little Benny’s love for his mom, who needs to be gift-wrapped for Valentine’s Day!

    Will Little Benny find something special enough to wrap me in?

    I’m not sure…

    Love deserves special wrapping, you know.

    Little Benny drags me off on a hunt for the loveliest wrapping.

    A cardboard box?

    No thank you! Too hard for my soft, cushy bottom!

    A watering can?

    Not a chance! Too wet for my warm, sunny soul.

    A pair of his favourite socks?

    Never! Too dirty for my bright, gleaming heart.

    “It’s hopeless, Little Benny!”

    “I knew it, no wrapping is special enough!”

    Am I not meant to be shared?

    What is love if it isn’t shared?!

    Little Benny calms me down.

    Little Benny has a plan.

    I have my doubts…

    Love deserves special wrapping, you know.

    But Little Benny convinces me to give it a try.

    So we give it a try for Mom.

    Carefully Little Benny wraps me up.

    He wraps me in something soft but supportive, and cosy, but uncluttered.

    “Happy Valentine’s Day, Mom!”

    Slowly, I am revealed,

    As Little Benny opens his hands…

  18. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Daddy, Do You Love Me?
    by Debbie Meneses
    204 words

    Daddy, do you love me? You hardly tell me so.
    Maybe I am skeptical. Your words don’t always flow.
    Daddy, do you miss me? You never hold me, though.
    Maybe I am skeptical. You’re not for hugs, I know.

    Daddy, do you hear me? You haven’t called me much,
    Haven’t shown me where you go, or even told me such.
    Daddy, do you see me? I’m hurting very much.
    It’s been really hard for me. Why don’t you stay in touch?

    Daddy, do you need me? You’ve walked about adrift.
    You’ve lived beyond the shady tree, unstable and in shift.
    Mama says you’re homeless. Your spirits need a lift.
    Dad, I left a heart for you, a Valentine’s Day gift.

    I wandered to that tree again. I saw my card had stayed.
    This time I found a Valentine, a card that YOU had made.
    I’ve read your letter once again, the message you relayed.
    You’re sad, alone, and hurting too. You’ve been a bit afraid.

    Daddy, now I realize, you’re feeling scared and low.
    Meet me at this shady tree, to talk or wave hello.
    I’ll come on Sunday mornings, hoping that you’ll show.
    Dad, you are my Valentine. I’ve wanted you to know.

  19. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Groundhog Oversleeps
    by Elizabeth Thoms Charles
    196 words

    Gerry Groundhog stretched and leapt from bed.
    “It’s here. It’s here. Groundhog Day is here.”
    Gerry’s head popped out of the burrow. “Where are the lights, the cameras, the people?”
    While combing his fur, Gerry wandered over to the neighbor’s hole. “Hi Francis.”
    “Hi Gerry.”
    “What are you doing,” Gerry asked?
    “Getting ready for Valentine’s Day. We all give hearts; some are paper; some sweet.”
    “What? That holiday doesn’t exist. Why would anyone do such a thing?”
    “It expresses affection, caring.”
    “That’s gross. This holiday doesn’t exist.”
    “Silly. It can be romantic but it doesn’t have to. I’m giving these hearts to the neighbors as a sign of friendship,” Francis said.
    “What? No. It’s all about shadows, cameras and publicity,” Gerry said.
    “Actually, it’s not.”
    “Want to help me, hand out Valentines,” Francis said.
    “No. No. No,” Gerry said.
    “Suit yourself.”
    Francis scurried off. She dropped a paper heart and a candy heart at the neighbors’ burrows. She dashed back, dodging a hawk as she ran.
    “Candy and paper Valentines for you, Gerry.”
    “This tastes good. Thank you,” Gerry said.
    “You’re welcome,” Francis said.
    “Happy Valentine’s Day.”
    “Happy Valentine’s Day.”
    Hawk circles with a Valentine.

  20. Stephanie Lupo Henson says:

    Valentine’s Day Dance Moves
    By Stephanie Henson
    208 words
    stephahenson@msn.com @stepha_henson Twitter

    Valentine’s Day at school is always electric.
    The energy can be felt pulsating across desks,
    through the tapping feet of excited children.
    A sugar rush of crushes and notes of friendship.
    And the Valentine’s Day class dance has everyone excited . . .
    but not the new kid.
    He was skeptical about this beloved holiday.
    His heart was beating like a drum.
    Not only because he’s at a new school but because he’s not very cool.
    He stumbles across sentences and sidewalks.
    He trips over toes and shoes.
    He has two left feet!
    How can he possibly not make a fool of himself?
    Will anyone give him a chance at the dance?
    Sometimes it takes a leap of faith to land smoothly.
    Cards and candy are passed around the room.
    The dance will begin soon.
    Tummies flutter with nerves.
    As the new kid opens an especially sparkly card with a disco ball on the outside,
    he’s surprised at what’s on the inside.
    A note that says “save a dance for me.”
    From the most popular girl in class!
    Maybe this holiday isn’t so bad after all!
    All it takes is some confidence and convincing,
    for views to be less skewed.
    Cupid’s arrow has struck
    and his dance moves are now unstuck!

  21. Maria Pope says:

    Dragons are NOT Welcome!
    by Maria P. Pope
    214 Words

    The magical creatures from Enchanted Woods were getting ready for their big Valentine’s Day Friendship Celebration!

    Everyone but Petunia. Dragons were NOT welcome.

    Last year, Petunia destroyed almost everything!

    When she tried to help with the streamers…POOF! Her fiery breath set them ablaze.

    When Petunia tried to string balloons …POP! They were no match for her razor-sharp claws.

    When she adorned the table with chocolate hearts…PLOP! Her toasty touch melted them into puddles.

    Everyone was invited to the party again this year.

    Everyone but Petunia.

    “Dragons are not good at parties!” they said.

    Unfortunately, dragons love parties. And when dragons aren’t invited to parties, dragons get MAD.

    This was NOT friendship!

    Just as Unicorn was about to hang the last streamers, POOF! Up in flames they went.
    “Was that Petunia?”

    The gnomes finished blowing up the balloons when…POP!
    “Oh no, not Petunia!”

    When the fairies decorated with chocolate hearts …PLOP! Chocolate puddles.

    Petunia fluttered down from above the trees.
    “I just wanted to be part of the fun!” huffed Petunia, her tail between her legs.

    Feeling bad for their friend, Unicorn, the fairies, and the gnomes put their heads together.


    Petunia’s fiery breath, razor-sharp claws, and toasty touch were perfect for chocolatey-gooey treats.

    Everyone had a blast at the party.

    Everyone…including Petunia.

  22. Glenda Roberson says:

    Guessy Bessy—Valentine Matchmaker (214 words)
    Glenda Roberson

    Bessy the cow was a wannabe matchmaker—an unsuccessful one.
    On Valentine’s Day, Bessy convinced Boariss that Piglotta was sweet on him. She wasn’t.
    Boariss complained to Roger Rooster. “It was only a pigment of her imagination.”
    Roger sighed and nodded. “She’s more of a Guessy Bessy.”
    Bessy told Ewenuss, “Rambo wants you to be his Valentine.” It wasn’t so.
    Roger frowned and shook his head.
    “You’re a baaad matchmaker, Bessy!” said Ewenuss. But that went in one ear and out the udder.
    “Roger,” said Bessy, “Henrietta likes you a bushel and a peck.”
    Roger cried fowl. “That’s a guess!”
    “My matchmaking skills are impeckable,” Bessy huffed
    Roger hoped she got this one right. He brought Henrietta a grasshopper, which she swallowed whole.
    “Will you be mine, Henrietta?”
    “That’s your idea of love?” Henrietta turned tail and strutted away.
    Roger scratched the dirt and pondered what to do. Wasn’t a hopper enough? What else could she possibly want?
    A pumpkin seed—rejected.
    A caterpillar—nope!
    Roger fumed. “You’re wrong again, Guessy Bessy!”
    While flapping his wings during a dust bath, it came to him.
    He put his wing around Henrietta, “Will you be my Valentine?”
    Henrietta cluck-clucked and fluffed her feathers. “About time you finally put a wing on it.”
    “Bessy,” Roger crowed, “you’re a match-making genius!”

  23. Deborah Foster says:

    Card Tricks
    By Deborah Foster
    214 Words

    Every February 14th Abigail made valentines for everyone, Mom, Grandpa, their grocery delivery man, and even the cat.

    But she refused to make one for her older brother Shaun!
    He was always playing cruel tricks on her; jumping out of dark hallways, putting dye in her shampoo, and claiming that her hamster died. (It really didn’t!)

    So, when she came home from school to find a valentine that read:

    To: Abigail
    From: Your loving brother, Shaun

    She knew it had to be another trick!
    Abigail eyed the valentine, looking for fishing line traps.
    She poked it to see if it made any strange noises.
    She asked Mom to open it for her, but Mom was too busy feeding her baby brother.

    Ever so carefully, Abigail lifted the card from the counter.
    She flinched – waiting for an evil surprise…
    But nothing happened.

    Holding her breath and closing her eyes, she flipped open the card.
    She peeked…
    The card read:

    Dear Squirt,
    You are an amazing Sister!
    Happy V-day,

    Awe, Abigail thought. Maybe her brother had a sweet side after all.

    But that’s when she heard it…
    Glitter rained down, covering Abigail.
    “Got Ya! Happy Valentine’s Day, Squirt!”
    “Grrr. Next year I’ll make you a very, very special Valentine’s card,” Abigail mumbled.

  24. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Kelly Kates

    The prince used his sword to hack through the locked door. He burst into the chamber and–finally–there she was, sleeping peacefully. He crept close and leaned in with a kiss. “Please be my valentine.”

    She sprang up and screamed. “Who are you? What are you doing in my bedroom?”

    “I have come to save you. Your kingdom has been asleep for 100 years and my kiss broke the evil spell. Now we can be valentines forever!”

    “Are you crazy? I don’t even know you. I’m sure I’ve got the worst case of bed head in history. And talk about morning breath!”

    “But I defeated the evil dragon and fought my way through thorns and fire to get to you.”

    “And I really appreciate that, but what would help me right now is if you could tell me where to get a burger. I’m starving!”

    This was not going according to Prince Charming’s plan. Sleeping Beauty felt badly seeing him look so disappointed.

    “I am sure you are a great guy, but I have a lot to catch up on. Family, friends . . . So what do people do for fun these days?”

    “Well . . . there is this new game called pickleball and I’ve been looking for someone to play with me.”

    “Now that sounds like a date!”

  25. muskoshe says:

    Where are the Valentines?
    By Sherry Roberts
    WC: 214

    Mila and Chrissy are best friends, but today Chrissy is grumpy with everyone. Especially her friend, Mila. Nothing is making Chrissy happy.

    Mila tries to ask Chrissy what’s wrong, but Chrissy turns her back. Mila couldn’t figure out why her best friend is being so mean.

    Usually, Chrissy is a fun friend but not today. She keeps throwing her arms in the air and yelling.

    “What’s wrong with you? Are you mad at me?” Mila wants to know. “Did I do something wrong?”

    Chrissy gives a huff and looks around. Finally, she whispers. “No one gave me a Valentine. I saw kids put Valentines in your box but not mine.”

    “What? Did you look in your box?” Mila asks. Chrissy nods. “Maybe you should look again. I’ll go with you.”

    “It won’t matter. No one likes me.”

    Gabbing Chrissy’s hand, Mila ran to check their Valentine’s boxes.

    Chrissy watches as Mila opens hers. “See, you got so many, but I know my box is empty.” Chrissy began to cry.

    Mila hands Chrissy’s box to her. “Just look.” There inside were beautiful cards, even some with lollipops. Chrissy couldn’t stop smiling.

    “They do like me.”

    “You looked to soon. Not everyone had handed out their cards.”

    Together the girls laughed and read all their cards.

  26. marty bellis says:

    Marty Bellis
    214 wc

    The flower shop hummed with excitement, as customers made selections for their special someones.
    Valentino hummed with excitement, too, as he entered the shop.
    He’d find the perfect valentine for Francesca and win her heart.
    He sniffed the red roses.
    Mmmm, nice. But . . . not quite right.
    He checked the crinkly pink carnations.
    Frilly, yes. Right for Francesa?
    No, he didn’t think so.
    All Valentino could think of was, “Loves me; loves me NOT!”
    Can’t take that chance, he thought.
    Valentino stopped humming.
    What to do? Nothing felt right.
    He’d never win Francesca with any of these.
    He drooped, letting out a sad sigh.
    Then a philodendron plant caught his eye.
    It was green, glossy, and best of all, had . . .
    . . . heart-shaped leaves!
    Hum. Hum. Hum!
    Would this do?
    Still uncertain, Valentino pondered.
    Then sighed again.
    Nooo. Too smooth. Too plain. Francesca deserved . . .
    His eyes lit up!
    Valentino bought it on the spot, adding his message:
    ‘This reminded me of you. Be my Valentine?’
    Gathering his courage, he delivered it straight away.
    Francesca took one look at the prickly, plump, pretty little cactus,
    ruffled her perfect porcupine quills, and said sweetly,
    “I’m stuck on you, too. We were made for each other.”
    Valentino’s hedgehog heart flip-flopped.
    And he hum hum hummed . . . all the way home!

  27. stephmena7299 says:

    By Stephanie K. Mena
    214 words

    Alex went exploring after last night’s wicked weather knocked down trees, tore tall grasses, and even crashed bird-like objects.
    “What kind of feather is this?” Alex thought.
    A few steps further, he found three more.
    “Owe,” Casey whimpered rubbing his wing.

    “Are these yours?”

    “I couldn’t find shelter.”

    “What kind of a bird are you?”

    “I’m not a bird. My wings got twisted around the quiver. Feathers flew everywhere! I broke two arrows,” Casey pouted.

    “You’re not a bird. You have arrows, a quiver and wings. Who are you?”

    “I only fly once a year.” Casey sighed.

    “You fly only in February…. with arrows…You’re Cupid!”

    “I bring happiness.”


    “That’s Scrooge’s line, Alex.”

    “I wrapped your wing. It’s all good.”

    “Thanks. You’re not a fan of Valentine’s Day?”


    “Still Scrooge’s line. This cat and dog are on my list. They fight non-stop. Two quick arrows aimed at their butts, POOF POOF!”

    “Let’s stop fighting, friend.”
    “Sure, buddy. Happy Valentine’s Day.”

    “You help animals, too?”

    “Furry friends need love, too.”

    “Valentine’s Day only sells candy and cards.”

    “Look who’s next. Remember Mikey?”

    “He’s a crybaby? He’s annoying. He’s a pest.”

    “He’s your cousin.”

    “Hi, Alex!”
    “Oh, great. Hi, Mikey.”


    “Owe, my butt!

    Happy Valentine’s Day.

    Every one!”

    “Tiny Tim’s last line, Alex.”

  28. marty bellis says:

    ‘Gloomy Gus’
    Marty Bellis
    208 wc

    “I’m making the new neighbor a Valentine,” said Toby.

    “You mean ‘Gloomy Gus’? Why bother?” said his sister, Nan.

    “I don’t know. I just think he might be lonely – or sad – or . . . “

    Toby didn’t really know, because ‘Gus’ refused to talk to him.

    But Toby did know he wanted to try.

    “I’m drawing a funny picture to cheer him up.”

    “Nothing can cheer up that sourpuss,” said Nan.

    “And I’m adding a candy bar. That should make him smile.”

    “He never smiles.”

    “Well, maybe he’s shy. I’ll take Sam along. Everyone loves dogs.”

    “I don’t think it will work.” Nan shrugged.

    Toby finished the card and snapped on Sam’s leash.

    ‘Gus’ was sitting on his front step.

    Toby held out the Valentine. “I made this for you.”

    ‘Gus’ just stared.

    Toby tried again. “This is Sam.”

    Then a woman opened the door.

    “Hola,” she said, followed by a string of words Toby didn’t understand.

    Except . . . now he did understand.

    “Toby,” he said, pointing to himself, “and Sam.”

    Sam sniffed ‘Gus’s’ hand, then licked it.

    “Ricardo,” said the boy, smiling.

    Toby smiled back, held out the candy bar, and sat down to show Ricardo the card he’d made.

    He liked the name Ricardo.

    It was much nicer than ‘Gus!’

  29. Lauri Meyers says:

    Love is an Adventure (214 words)

    By Lauri C. Meyers

    Dad unwrapped a balloon. Mom opened a scarf.

    “You guys give boring Valentine’s gifts,” I said.

    “Boring?” Dad gawked. “These remind us of falling in love.”

    “Literally falling! I skydived past your Dad’s hot air balloon,” Mom explained. “He was cute, so I yelled ‘Call me!’”

    I raised my eyebrows. Mom doesn’t skydive!

    “But I didn’t know her number!” Dad said. “Luckily, the next day while bull riding, I saw your mother in a barrel. I yelled, ‘Number?’ Then I got bucked off.”

    “I miss rodeo clowning,” Mom sighed

    I rolled my eyes. Dad hate clowns!

    “The next week, I was snowshoeing a glacier. Your Dad raced by on a dog sled. I yelled, ‘534-’”

    “But a polar bear chased me away! I couldn’t hear the rest.”

    My mouth hung open. My parents hate snow!

    “Later that month, I flipped my kayak in a dangerous swamp,” Dad whispered.

    “I was training alligators nearby. I heard the splash,” Mom said. “Snappy Al married us right then and there.”

    “An alligator married you?!” I squinted at them. “How did you really fall in love?”

    They winked. “Open your gift!”

    “A week at Pirate Adventure Camp?” I read the pamphlet. “Plank diving! Shark riding! Sword fighting!”

    “Create your own story about falling in love … with adventure.”

  30. kathleenannajacobs says:

    By Kathleen Jacobs
    212 Words

    Fox delivered heart-shaped cards to Owl and Cardinal and …

    Carrot valentines to Rabbit and her kin.

    Done with his rounds, Fox spied three orphaned skunks.

    “Mew, mew, mew,” they cried.

    “Matron Hedgehog is away,” he said. “But I’ll take good care of you until she returns.”

    “You don’t know a thing about babies!” Rabbit said. “Give them to me.”

    Baby bunnies hopped EVERYWHERE so Fox replied. “I’ll manage.”

    “Feed them shredded worms,” Owl advised.

    “Regurgitated food is the way to go,” Cardinal added.

    Rabbit raised an eyebrow. “Baby mammals need milk!”

    Fox prepared the bottles.

    He fed them milk.

    And more milk.

    And even more milk!

    He changed stinky diapers.

    Goodness, feeding time again!

    But when the skunks nuzzled against him, his heart skipped a beat.

    Fox wanted to be their father. FOREVER!

    Before long, the skunks opened their eyes and followed him everywhere.

    Fox fed them berries for breakfast and lettuce for lunch.

    When they were ready, he taught them how to dig for worms.

    “How sweet,” Owl and Cardinal said.

    “They’re my Valentine Daughters,” Fox said as he scooped them into a big fox hug.

    “Papa, papa, papa!” the skunks sang.

    “I say!” Rabbit exclaimed. “This is most irregular. However, you’ve proved yourself

    to be a fantastic fox father!”

  31. Ruthie Nicklaus says:

    By Ruthie Nicklaus
    214 words

    “MOM! Amy ate my valentine!”

    My sneaky baby sister bounced on the couch, chewing something. Probably my valentine.

    I made a Valentine’s Day card for my teacher, Ms. Milli. It was a pink paper airplane with a red panda (her favorite) and glitter glue on the wings, but I forgot to sign, LOVE ZACH.

    “Check your backpack.” Mom called.

    I checked. No card.

    I flopped on the floor.

    But then…

    “What IS all this, under the couch?” Marbles, cheerios, a feather. A lot of dust. Amy’s binky. The remote control, the glitter glue. Pink paper. “My valentine!”

    I tried to squeeze under, stretching my arm as far as I could. Not far enough. And I couldn’t move it. That couch was heavy!

    “Amy do it!” My sister scooted lizard-style on her belly.

    Her diapered bottom disappeared, fast. Only her pajama feet poked out.

    “What’s that scuffling?” Mom called.

    “Nothing!” I lied. No way Mom would be ok with the baby crawling under there.

    But then Amy popped out with dust in her hair, the feather stuck to her nose and the card in her fist!

    “You did it!”

    Amy squealed, delighted.

    I ruffled her dusty hair.

    She shared her crusty cheerios.

    I bounced on the couch with my gutsy baby sister.

    “I love you.”

  32. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    THE GREAT VALENTINO by Steve Jankousky (214 words)

    It started in January. Dad asked, “Did you take out the trash? You know, The Great Valentino is watching…”

    Then school started. “Did you finish your homework? The Great Valentino is watching.”

    He asked me to help put away laundry. “You know…”

    “The Great Valentino is watching. I know. I know! But who is this Great Valentino?”

    So Dad says, “On Valentine’s Eve, The Great Valentino flies through the air on a heart-shaped box of chocolates carried by eight cupids. He delivers valentines and treats to all the good people of the world.”

    What? How come I’ve never heard of this before?

    So I asked my friends. My teachers. Even the cooks in the lunch line. Nobody ever heard of The Great Valentino!

    “Really?” asked Dad. “So you don’t believe in The Great Valentino? There are two ways to test your skepticism. Keep being a good kid and see what happens. Or don’t, and see what happens.”

    Aaaaagh! Those were rotten choices!

    So I was good. And on Valentine’s Day, there was a valentine and a big box of cookies for me!

    At least I could quit worrying about The Great Valentino.

    Then Dad asked, “Are you taking those cookies to school? There’s plenty to share. You know, the Easter Bunny is watching…”

  33. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Sallie Skunk Skips Valentine’s Day
    By Elyse Trevers
    (197 Words)

    Can’t go to school today!

    Got a tickle in my throat,
    pain in my belly,
    ache in my head.

    “But you’ll miss the Valentine celebration.
    What about the cards you and gifts you made for your friends?”

    What friends? thought Sallie

    Ever since that awful ‘accident,’
    the smell she couldn’t control,
    she felt alone.

    She was skeptical about having any friends left.
    “No one will want to be with me.”

    So Sallie stayed home
    and sulked and sobbed.

    The day passed.

    Wonder what everyone’s doing now?
    Bet no one misses me.
    “I doubt anyone notices that I’m not there. ”

    A tear rolled down her face.

    Then the doorbell rang. Her friends stood there bearing Valentine gifts.
    “We missed you so we brought Valentine’s Day to you! ”

    “I didn’t think you’d be friends with me anymore since my ‘accident.’”

    “What kind of friends do you think we are? You are our good friend.”
    “You laugh at my sly tricks,” said Ferdie Fox.
    “You never mind my ‘trash’ talk,” said Rosa Raccoon.
    “You always wait for me to catch up,” added Simon Sloth.

    True friends are always there for you –
    for the good and the bad…and the smelly.

  34. Emily Holi (@EmilyHoli13) says:

    P.S. I LIKE YOU (158 WORDS)


    Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day—a day to share our hearts with one another! Please write a Valentine for each of your classmates explaining what you love about them. NO EXCEPTIONS. Have fun!




    Mrs. Ferg says we have to write Valentines to everyone in class. Everyone! I guess that includes you. I’m not sure I have much to say, if I’m being honest. But here goes nothing.

    Your feet stink. Your hair looks crazy. And your fascination with ferrets is frustrating.

    Happy Valentine’s Day.



    P.S. I think you’re sort of cute.


    Mrs. Ferg made me write this, just so you know. I am not a fan of Valentines Day AT ALL. But, since I don’t have a choice, here goes nothing.

    Your scrunchies are silly. Your glittery lunchbox is boring. And your dislike for dinosaurs is disappointing.

    Happy Valentine’s Day.



    P.S. I like you.

  35. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Tucker Turtle’s Valentine’s Day Doubts
    Nikki Del Vecchio

    “Don’t forget your Valentine’s cards tomorrow!” Miss Bunny said as she dismissed the class.

    While the other students looked forward to passing out cards, Tucker Turtle was nervous. He’s always been quieter than his classmates. He wasn’t sure they even noticed him, and doubted anyone would put a Valentine in his box.

    Still, Tucker spent the evening personalizing cards for the others. It took so long he didn’t have time to decorate his card box. He decided it was better not to draw attention to the box that would surely be empty, anyway.

    The next day, everyone lined up to deliver their cards. Tucker went last so no one would feel bad about forgetting him.

    “Okay, class. You may open your boxes.” Miss Bunny said.

    Tucker sat quietly and watched as his classmates chatted and opened their boxes. He picked up his box to hide it away, but it was heavier than expected.

    Hesitantly, Tucker lifted the lid. He couldn’t believe it; his box was full of cards!

    Tucker looked around and saw his classmates eagerly waiting to see him open to their cards. Each one was special just for him. Tucker smiled and joined in the celebration. His heart was as full as his Valentine’s box.

  36. syorkeviney says:

    A Skeptical Skunk Named Scottie
    by Sally Yorke-Viney
    Word Count: 180

    A skeptical skunk named Scottie,
    Had a friend that he liked, called Dottie.
    He doubted his worth,
    As he dug in the earth,
    With his nose to the ground, he was snotty!

    He doubted and questioned his merit,
    Unsure as a flat-footed ferret!
    He wanted to bring,
    A valentine thing,
    Uncertain, he should even dare it!

    He hoped he could tell her his feeling,
    But instead of a coo, he was squealing!
    “I like you” he hissed.
    “Why can’t we co-exist?
    You may think my stink is appealing.”

    Dottie turned as she heard all the racket,
    Looked at Scottie’s smart black and white jacket.
    “While your nose may be snotty,
    At least you’re not haughty!
    Believe in yourself, you can hack it!”

    Disbelieving, he smiled, and he snorted,
    With Dottie he jumped and cavorted!
    He gave her a grub,
    ‘Neath an evergreen shrub!
    He truly felt loved and supported!

    So, this story of lack of self-worth,
    Of a skeptic who dug in the earth,
    Had a non-stinky end,
    When he found a true friend,
    Filled with Valentine sweetness and mirth!

  37. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    A Perfect Valentine Card About You
    Kay Medway

    Create and craft Valentine’s Day cards here today.
    That’s what the Creative Kids Club’s sign seemed to sing and shout out to the busy room, shaping cupid’s arrow in gold and collecting paper collage hearts in crimson red, candyfloss, and cerise pink vibrant colours were what we had to do.
    We were sceptical about using blossom colour confetti and our favourite fluorescent orange and green paints and patterns.
    I said the poster paint is perfect for painting pumpkins, slime and potions in October’s holidays.
    The sparkling silver sequins can create a surprise at Christmas time.
    I doubt we will need these dinosaur prints to decorate our paper pages today.
    My friends were still feeling doubtful that we had the colours and creations to make Valentine’s Day celebrated.
    But I stopped and said hey, I have a memory.
    That Valentine’s Day can be for everyone, and what interests you is bright on this day of hearts and flowers as every other time of year.
    I can paint and pencil a watercolour rose in bloom.
    But I am sure I’ll choose a poem about your favourite place in nature or a joke and spaceships too.
    Everyone’s creations are different and unique.
    That’s the joy of arts and crafts and friendship too.

  38. angiecal76 says:

    By Angela Calabrese

    Letter L waved his invitation. “R U going?”
    “Going where?” asked V.
    “The Vowel’s Valentine’s Day party.”
    V pouted. “I wasn’t invited.”
    “Of course, I was invited. He’s a vowel and helped plan the party.”
    V grumbled. “I meant I as in me, silly! I’m not invited.”
    “They wouldn’t leave U out!” said L.
    “U wasn’t left out. They left me out! Me! Me! Me!”
    “OK. Chill!” snapped L.

    H overheard. “I can C Y you’re upset, V, but the Vowels are your friends. Y wouldn’t they invite you?”
    V shrugged. “Beats me.”
    “Something doesn’t jive.” H said. “Maybe your invitation is wedged in back of your mailbox.”
    “Let’s check and C,” said V.
    No such luck.
    H frowned. “It’s MT.”

    “An EZ solution,” said L, “would be to simply ask the vowels.”
    V gasped. “Y?”
    L sighed. “So U can find out the truth!”

    Just then, M sprinted toward V. “I didn’t C this before, V. Sorry!”
    V scratched her head. “Didn’t C what?”
    M cleared his throat. “This.”
    A second invitation was stuck to M’s.
    It was addressed to:
    Miss Letter V
    22 Alphabet Lane,
    Lettertown, USA.

    M handed V her sticky invitation.
    “Mystery solved,” said L.
    “I think you know what to do now,” said H.
    V giggled. “RSVP ASAP!”

  39. jesseannabornemann says:

    Matilda’s New Job
    By Jesse Anna Bornemann
    Word Count: 206

    Life as a shoebox was perfectly sweet—
    Matilda loved shoes, and she didn’t mind feet.
    She wasn’t in search of a change or a switch.
    When it came to risk-taking, she just lacked the itch.

    So, Matilda was filled with an odd sense of dread
    When a small hand removed her from under the bed.
    The hand of a kid! Now, what could that mean?
    Matilda held loafers—a men’s size 13.

    The kid grabbed some ribbons, red paper, and tape.
    Matilda could see a new job taking shape.
    This role would be tricky, if not downright hard.
    Goodbye, dear old shoes. Hello, Valentine’s cards!

    When she got to the classroom, Matilda’s lid shook.
    She wasn’t quite sure that she had what it took.
    Like a tight pair of sneakers, this job might not fit.
    (Still, her glitter felt lovely, she had to admit.)

    Somewhere behind her, she heard several squeals.
    “Did you once store loafers? We carried high heels!”
    “Gym shoes for me,” growled a deep baritone.
    Matilda soon gathered she wasn’t alone.

    No longer uncertain, she shimmied with glee!
    “Everyone’s new here—it isn’t just me!”
    She’d rise to this challenge! She knew that she could.
    And what’s more, she noticed…the cards tasted good.

      • jesseannabornemann says:

        Thank you! I didn’t think I was going to be able to come up with anything for the Valentiny contest this year, but I got inspired by my messy shoe collection!

      • Deborah Williams says:

        I used to love decorating shoe boxes. What a great idea to tell your story from the point of view of the box! Great rhyme and rythym, too. Love this!

      • jesseannabornemann says:

        Thanks, Katie! Same here—just decorated a box for my 2nd grader’s Valentine’s Day party! Fortunately, my 2 year old’s class doesn’t need boxes this year. I’m not sure I have the mental energy for two “Matildas.” 🙂

    • Heather Kinser says:

      Oh, I feel certain you are the first person on Earth ever to have personified a shoebox. Now that’s thinking “outside the box”! This is beautifully rhymed and characterized. Fun all the way through to the surprising ending!

    • Sarah Meade says:

      This is SO MUCH FUN! I loved reading it aloud to my daughter. At the end, she shrieked, “What?! She ate the cards?” and we laughed. Love the rhyme, quirky main character, and delightful ending. Nicely done!

    • Teacher on Hiatus says:

      Natural rhyming, a fresh and clever perspective on a Valentine’s story, some original details (“Like a tight pair of sneakers, this job might not fit” – great simile!), and humor: this one’s a total winner, Jesse!

      • jesseannabornemann says:

        Thank you! The generous word count worked in my favor—anything shorter makes me shake in my boots!

    • Anne Lipton says:

      I am in awe, Jessica, of how you’ve taken your highly original concept and run with it! I love how you evoke Matilda’s trepidation, transformation, and sense of togetherness with her fellow boxes. You have given a shoe box soul.❤️

    • angiecal76 says:

      What a brilliant idea, creating a believable character for a shoebox! Personification at its best. You not only pulled it off but actually made me feel like Matilda had a real heart and “sole.” Incredibly well done, Jesse.

      • jesseannabornemann says:

        Thank you so much! Loved your clever story, too. I’m glad we’re neighbors in this competition!

      • jesseannabornemann says:

        It’s definitely what we save them for at my house! We successfully turned a shoebox into a taco for my 2nd grader’s card exchange yesterday. Hope the box was happy about it . . . the kid was!

      • Chel Owens says:

        That sounds awesome! We bailed and just used a Costco Oreo cookie container (I convinced my son it was funny because they’d expect it to be full of cookies and it was full of his valentines instead!). Your taco sounds way better.

  40. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Skeptical V-Day
    Author: Isabel Cruz Rodriguez
    Word Count: 67

    Skeptical Miss Skeptical
    Not easily convinced
    Sat pretty on the park bench
    Wondering if I’d commit.

    Skeptical receptacle
    I washed and then I rinsed
    Convinced that it’s acceptable
    To hold the buds I picked.

    “Hello, Miss Little Skeptical,
    I love you” then, I winced.
    Just as she planted one big kiss
    And I was then convinced
    For me and for Miss Skeptical
    This V-Day would be bliss!

  41. icrgraphics@aol.com says:

     Hi, SusannaI submitted my entry: Skeptical V-Day Thanks again for your FUN contests……I look forward to them each year!Happy Super Bowl Sunday!BlessingsIsabel——————————————————-

  42. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Groundhog’s Party
    By Mary Rudzinski
    212 words

    Three o’clock and Groundhog’s party guests would soon arrive. He tidied the candy hearts and poured pink lemonade for Possum, Raccoon and Skunk..
    Red balloons. Cherry drops. Best of all, chocolate cupcakes with marshmallow frosting.
    Then he watched the clock.
    At 3:15, Groundhog peeked out his hole.
    He listened for Possum’s mumbling, watched for Raccoon’s beautiful face, and sniffed the air for Skunk.
    No sounds or smells or… friends.
    He paced the floor.
    Groundhog had made sure to deliver each invitation in person.
    Where were his friends?
    Maybe Possum forgot- Possum even forgot his own birthday.
    Perhaps Raccoon lost track of time in his garden.
    Skunk probably took a nap- Skunk liked naps.
    Groundhog decided to find his friends.
    But Possum was not at home.
    Raccoon’s hole was empty.
    Skunk did not answer his door.
    Was everyone at another party?
    Did everyone forget the invitation?
    Maybe they forgot me, thought Groundhog.
    He trudged home.
    But there, under his oak tree, sat Possum, Raccoon and Skunk… each with a marshmallow mustache.
    “Where have you been? The cupcakes are delicious!” they shouted.
    “ I tried to find you- I thought you forgot!”
    “Never! Your Valentine’s parties are the best ever! And you are unforgettable!”
    Groundhog smiled and took a big bite of a cupcake.

  43. Cheryl Simon (@cmsimon18) says:

    A Recipe for Friend Chip
    by Cheryl Simon
    180 words

    Chocolate Chip was the happiest ingredient in the bakery.

    After all,

    he was the yummiest,

    the most popular,

    and could blend with anyone.

    Mixing into cookies, brownies, cakes…

    life was sweeter with Chocolate Chip.

    Chocolate Chip was busy baking up a plan for Valentine’s Day.

    “I’ve got everything I knead for a delicious treat,” melted Chip.

    Suddenly, the bakery door burst open!

    “It’s crunch time!” said Potato Chip.

    “What are YOU doing here?” cried Chocolate Chip

    “I’m here for the new Valentine’s Day recipe.”

    “I’m the only Chip in town!” said Chocolate Chip, sounding salty.

    Mrs. Baker appeared “You two Chips better start getting along! I’m adding you both to the mix.”

    Chocolate Chip crumbled, “How can you take the whisk? Everyone loves sweet treats on Valentine’s Day.”

    Mrs. Baker replied, “Don’t be so bitter. This salty sweet combination is a legend in the baking.”

    Chocolate Chip decided to dough with it.

    Sometimes you need to mix it up to make the world a butter place, he thought.

    A new friend chip was born and it couldn’t have been sweeter.

  44. Sue Lancaster says:

    A Valentine’s Surprise
    By Sue Lancaster (126 words)

    These cupcakes look delicious,
    but they’re making me suspicious;
    Has someone left these tasty treats for me?
    The icing looks inviting,
    with its bright-red swirly writing.
    A message made of sugar… meant for me?
    My nose is actually twitching,
    for their smell is SO bewitching.
    It’s clear that someone thinks the world of me.
    My mouth is salivating…
    I can’t wait, I’m going straight in.
    Yummy-yum! They taste incredible to me.
    Oh, look… Here comes my master!
    But – oh-no – I sense disaster.
    Perhaps the cupcakes were not left for me?
    He’s yelling… yep, he’s mad.
    This is really, really bad.
    Apparently, the words were: MARRY ME?
    I’ve spoiled his big surprise,
    So, despite these puppy eyes,
    I guess it’s in the doghouse now for me.

  45. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Dawn Renee Young
    Skeptical (WC 214)

    Every day, Rex checked the mailbox.
    Every day, he examined each piece of mail, looking for the letters R-E-X.
    He sorted envelopes in one pile and advertisements in another.
    No R-E-X!
    I’ll never get mail.
    Mom, Dad, and Sissy get mail almost every day.

    Maybe no one knows where I live.
    Rex made a sign and taped it to the mailbox.
    R-E-X Lives Here!

    “Why don’t I ever get mail?” Rex asked Mom.
    “You’ll get mail when you are older.”
    “I doubt it.”

    “Dad, why don’t I ever get mail?”
    “Sometimes you have to send mail in order to receive mail.”
    “I don’t know how to write letters.”

    Valentine’s Day is coming. I’m going to draw Grandma a
    picture and ask Sissy to mail it.
    Grandma will send me mail.
    But she probably won’t. She’s always busy!

    On Monday … No mail for Rex.
    On Tuesday … No mail for Rex.
    On Wednesday … No mail for Rex.
    On Thursday … No mail for Rex.
    Did my sign blow away?
    On Friday the sign was still hanging by a thread … No mail for Rex.

    On Valentine’s Day,
    Rex tugged open the mailbox.
    He couldn’t believe his eyes …
    Out popped a balloon with the letters R-E-X …
    and an envelope from Grandma.

  46. jennaejo says:

    By Jenna Elyse Johnson
    204 words

    Mom’s acting strange. 
    She’s dancing, when there’s no music.
    She’s laughing, when nothing’s funny.
    And she’s cooking, when we ordered take-out. (Heart-shaped pizza pie!)
    “I’ve been struck by cupid’s arrow! I have a new love!” Mom declares.
    “What? Mom, I think you’re taking Valentine’s Day a bit far…”
    Dad’s only been out of town for a few days.
    And I don’t think Mom would date anyone else…
    Time to investigate.
    “So, who’s the guy?” I ask, flipping my notebook open.
    “He’s cool. Chill. Tall and very open. A family guy.”
    All great qualities. But I need more data.
    “What do you like about him?”
    “He’s always running. And we watch the same shows together. He even regulates his temperature.
    Temperature? Grown-ups care about that?
    “The whole family will LOVE him. Especially your brother. He’s a growing boy!”
    Okay, this is getting weird.
    “He’s clean. Tech savvy. Always hydrated and has room for leftovers.”
    Doubtful she found a man that checks more boxes than Dad, I check over my notes…
    Chill, hydrated, leftovers, running.…
    “Hold on, are you talking about our new refrigerator?”
    “Of course! He’s the perfect Valentine’s Day gift.”
    Rolling my eyes, I shut my notebook. The answer’s clear.
    Moms are just weird.

  47. jennaejo says:

    By Jenna Elyse Johnson
    203 Words

    Dear Ms. Tate,
    Everyone thinks that chocolate is the king of Valentine’s Day.
    But do you know what the new “chocolate” is?
    Let’s have potatoes at our class Valentine’s Day party.
    Hear us out!
    Firstly, a potato allergy is rare. Unlike dairy. And we won’t get a sugar high like we would from those chalky-candy hearts.
    Second, think about ALL the ways to prepare a potato! 
    You can mash it, bake it, fry it, hash it, boil it, roast it, tot it, chip it, soup it, and even cake it!
    Third, potatoes can PLAY!
    What’s better for kids than play? (It’s our job, you know?)
    They can be stamps, play dough, heads and bodies!
    We dare you to play with chocolate. (Spoiler alert: it melts and gets EVERYWHERE!)
    Potatoes can also be great valentines.
    YES, valentines.
    Think of the wordplay. (We know you love your words.)
    We could make cards saying:
    You’re TOT-ally awesome!
    You’re my sweet potato.
    You’re so a-peeling.
    Time fries with you!
    You’re all that and a bag of chips!
    I value our friend-chip.
    And what is more wow than a heart-shaped box of potatoes?
    We hope you’ll make this inclusive decision.
    The lactose-intolerant students of Room 9

  48. jennaejo says:

    By Jenna Elyse Johnson
    187 words

    Dear Lactose-Intolerant Students,
    I received your letter regarding potatoes for our Valentine celebration.
    Frankly, I’m feeling a bit salty.
    First, while it’s true a potato allergy is rare, potatoes aren’t sugar-free.
    They’re carbohydrates and will cause your blood sugar to spike and fall.
    I might as well give you a cola!
    Second, you’re right that there seems to be endless ways to prepare a potato.
    But do you really expect me to cook pounds and pounds of potatoes for our party?
    Third, potatoes can play?
    I’m going to test out your hypotheses…
    Cheese and crackers, you’re right! I made a ton of tater-tot-sized potato stamps! (Heart-shaped, of course.)
    Then, I made a Mrs. Potato head and a bunch of petite potato-spuds as students.
    And, let me tell you, that potato playdough smells delicious.
    I do have to say, your wordplay is spudtacular!
    I like your suggestions a latke.
    You’ve buttered me up.
    Oh, what the heck? Yukon do it!
    Have your potato party. I won’t fry and stop you.
    A heart-shaped box of potatoes does sound a-peeling!
    Chip, chip, hooray, Happy Valentine’s Day!
    Ms. Tate

  49. Ryann Jones (@RyannJones117) says:

    By Ryann Jones
    178 words

    I’m the Skeptical Receptacle,
    I hold your trash and gunk—
    but also help by checking twice
    the stuff you think is junk.

    You’re lucky that I’m here today
    to search through odds and ends.
    I’ve found some awesome Valentines
    made just for you by friends!

    I’m not so sure these things belong
    with all my other litter.
    Don’t you love these googly eyes
    on monsters made of glitter?

    This rose made out of mushy dough
    is super duper classy.
    And Jelly Beans? Why toss these?
    Unless they make you gassy.

    Oh, here’s a card! “I MUSTache you
    to be my Valentine.”
    Unique! And so much better than
    a plain ol’ “Please Be Mine!”

    In my opinion, gifts of love
    are something you should savor.
    So why’d you chuck these candy hearts
    with fruity, chalky flavor?

    Do humans not appreciate
    the treats they throw away?
    Receptacles have got to eat—
    but not an art buffet!

    So keep your Valentines today!
    They’re special, sweet, and kind!
    And if you don’t, I’ll keep them safe,
    in case you change your mind.

  50. sslee1 says:

    By S. Lee (214 words)

    Mosi watched as smitten wildebeests and lovestruck zebras drifted across the grass. Meanwhile, rhinos lounged apart like any other day.

    Rhinos hide their feelings under thick skin. But Mosi often worried his skin wasn’t thick enough. Especially on Valentine’s Day.

    So when Niara caught his eye and waved her horn hello, Mosi blushed—and hid in a mud puddle.

    When Niara invited him to play herd and seek, he plunged his head in the watering hole.

    When she asked him to play shoots and ladders, he almost spilled his feelings. Instead, he fled behind a bush.

    Mosi’s eyes welled up. Oh no. Rhinos are NEVER supposed to cry!

    He burst into sobs.

    Mosi cried and cried until his tears formed a stream in the dust.

    But as the tears flowed, Mosi felt lighter. Maybe rhinos didn’t always have to hide their feelings.

    He watched his tears course downhill, towards Niara.

    He waved his horn hello. She didn’t wave back.

    He called out her name. Her shoulders drooped.

    So Mosi plucked a heart-shaped leaf from a brush and placed it in the stream. It floated down to her feet…

    And Niara smiled. Mosi ran to join her.

    Maybe Mosi didn’t have thick skin. Maybe he wasn’t the only one. And maybe it didn’t matter, after all.

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