2023 Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Challenge Week #2!

Aaaand. . . they’re in the starting gate!

It’s time for Week #2 of the 2023 Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Challenge!


Mix ‘n’ Match Mini is a writing challenge for anyone who needs a little boost or a little encouragement to get writing….or maybe just a little fun!

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

For a full description of the challenge or to enter your Week #1 entry, please go HERE.

Let’s jump into Week #2!

Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Prompt #2 for Week of May 15:

Today, we’re going to write an Origin Story! (At least, the origin of certain characteristics if not exactly the origin of the creature itself.) In the tradition of Rudyard Kipling’s “How The Camel Got Its Hump” and “How The Leopard Got Its Spots”, we’re going to give some characteristics to some other members of the animal kingdom.

Will we stick to exact facts? Only if we want to! Be as factual or as imaginative as you like! Maybe sea horses got their home in the ocean because they complained about the dry heat of the desert… but as a result they lost the breathtaking speed of their four-legged, land-living horse counterparts!

Choose a critter from Column A, a verb from Column B, and a characteristic from Column C and write a story entitled How The _______ _______ His/Her/Its _______ (i.e. How The Camel Got Its Hump, How The Turtle Lost His Speed, How The Tsetse Fly Found Her Home . . )

Column AColumn BColumn C
Owl Home
Rattlesnake Temper
Snail Pattern
Ladybug Speed
Whale Voice

  • Stories can rhyme or not – totally up to you!
  • You can go under or over 100 words if you want to – also totally up to you! – 100 is just a guideline
  • If you’re deeply inspired by another set of words, go for it! – the purpose here is inspiration and to get you writing! Just tell us what words you’re using!
  • For simplicity’s sake (and to aid skimming readers who might be interested in a particular thing) please say which column items you’re using at the top of your entry along with your name, title, and word count.
    For example:
    How The Camel Got His Hump
    by Marcia Writer
    107 words
    camel, got, hump

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

Post your Week #2 story in the comment section below, or, if you have trouble for any reason and can’t post yourself you may email it to me using the Contact Form and I will post it for you.

Ready, set, WRITE! 😊

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

Check out the Week #2 stories!

How the Jaguar Got His Wings – Elizabeth Meyer zu Heringdorf

How the Owl Lost Her Voice – Katie McEnaney

How the Owl Lost His Voice – Elyse Trevers

How the Rattlesnake Got Her Voice – Kelly Clasen

I Am Rafi – Dianne Borowski

How The Rattlesnake Got His Name – Tomi Rues

How Whale Lost His Voice – Leslie Degnan

How Gail The Snail Found Home – B. Holland Paley

How Bubbles Butterfly Got Her Wings – Dawn Renee Young

How Dung Beetle Lost His Dinner – Ryann Jones

How Snail Lost His Speed – Kelly Kates

How the Butterfly Got Its Name – Debbie J. Arnn

How The Snail Got Her Wings – Tiffany Hanson

The Ugly Caterpillar – Ellie Langford

How the Rhinoceros “Found” His Temper – Susan E. Schipper

How the Rhinoceros Got His Temper – Elizabeth Thoms Charles

How The Ladybug Got Its Dots – Haley Hendrickson

How The Ladybug Got Her Wings – Julie Hauswirth

How Sloth Lost Her Speed – Sara Kruger

Ladybug Finds Her Temper – Linda Schueler

How Snail Found A Home – Lyn Jekowsky

How Crow Lost its Song – Marie Prins

How Snail Got His Temper – Angel Gantnier

How Rhino Lost His Wings (…And Got His Horns) – Bri Lawyer

How to be a Snail: a Kid’s Perspective – Lauren N. Simmons

How The Rhino Got His Spots – Marta Cutler

Jaguar’s Spotty Dotty Pattern – Jill Lambert

How Sydney Snail Lost his Home (and Found Freedom) – Patricia Nozell

How Roberta The Rhino Found Her Temper – by Colleen Murphy

Snail Finds A Home – Penny Taub

How the Animals Got Their Voices – Sarah Meade

How The Barn Owl Found His Home – Stephanie Maksymiw

How Whale Found His Home  – Jenna Elyse Johnson

How Jaguar Found His Spots – Mary Zychowicz

How Ladybugs Got Their Name – Bev Schellenberg

How Owls Got Their Hoo – Ashley Sierra

How Butterflies Got Their Patterns – Julie Kurtz

How the Ladybug Got Its Spots – Julie Kurtz

How the Snail Lost its Speed – Ben Jeder

How Sully Snail Lost His Speed – Michelle S. Kennedy

Hedgehog Needs A Hobby – Krithika Santhanam

Why The Ladybug Kept Her Spots – Elizabeth Muster

How The Snail Found Her Speed – Isabel C. Rodriguez

How Snail Lost His Speed – Sara Petersohn

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

⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique from 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 😊

⭐️ Mary Munson and Kate Talbot are offering a “Love Bundle”. They are the author and illustrator of LOVE WILL TURN YOU AROUND. Mary will sign the book and send swag (US only), and Kate will offer a critique (picture book manuscript OR art, winner’s choice!)

⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique OR Ask-Me-Anything Chat OR a signed copy of SCIENCE, MATTER AND THE BASEBALL PARK (winner’s choice!) from author Catherine Ciocchi. Catherine is a multi-published author and a teacher with a knack for STEM-themed rhyming texts. Her books include SCIENCE, MATTER AND THE BASEBALL PARK (Gnome Road Publishing, March 28, 2023) and THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND (Arbordale Publishing, May 2015)

⭐️ a 20 minute Zoom or phone Ask Me Anything with Jilanne Hoffman, author of 2 board books, THE HONEY BEAR HIVE (Mudpuppy January 2023), HAPPY CAMPER (Mudpuppy January 2022), and the forthcoming picture book A RIVER OF DUST

⭐️ Copy Editing/Proofreading Of Up To 5 Picture Book Texts (All Types and Lengths) from Elizabeth Meyer zu Heringdorf, professional technical writer and copy editor.

Elizabeth Meyer zu Heringdorf

⭐️ a first read-through recording package from children’s author and poet Sarah Meade, contributor to HOP TO IT: POEMS TO GET YOU MOVING (Pomelo Books, 2020!) where she will read aloud and record up to five PB manuscripts for one author (1,000 words or less each, fiction or nonfiction, rhyming or non-rhyming) so you can hear how your stories sound to someone who is unfamiliar with them on a first read-through! Very helpful and emlightening!

⭐️ Ask Infowoman: A Library Consult Regardless of where you are in your writing career – brand new or seasoned author – Kathy Halsey has a wealth of information to help you! From insight into what books school librarians need/want in their collections (which can help you target your writing for success) to helping you create an engaging school visit and all kinds of things between…and beyond… check out her website to see what this fantastic prize can offer you!

Kathy Halsey currently serves on the State Library of Ohio’s “Choose to Read Ohio” program and writes curricular toolkits for SLO’s award-winning children’s books. She is a former K-12 school librarian, seventh grade English teacher, and bookseller for a children’s independent bookstore. Her first work for hire board book releases fall, 2023. 

2019 PBChat Mentorship
SCBWI Ohio Central-South Co-Assistant Regional Advisor
Former Community Manager, Storyteller Academy
Ohio Educational Library Media Association Past President

⭐️ a signed copy of ANIMALS IN SURPRISING SHADES: POEMS ABOUT EARTH’S COLORFUL CREATURES (Gnome Road Publishing, March 28, 2023)from author Susan Johnston Taylor! This book is great for classrooms and recommended by SLJ!

⭐️ a copy of Becky Scharnhorst‘s brand new picture book – just coming out tomorrow! – HOW TO GET YOUR OCTOPUS TO SCHOOL (Flamingo Books, May 16, 2023)

⭐️ A copy of Mary Kole’s Writing Irresistible Kidlit: The Ultimate Guide to Crafting Fiction for Young Adult and Middle Grade Writers

⭐️ A copy of Making A Living Writing Books For Kids by Laura Purdie Salas

⭐️ Making Picture Book Magic Self Study Class (any month)

⭐️ Magnetic PoetryLittle Box of Happiness

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

164 thoughts on “2023 Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Challenge Week #2!

  1. Elizabeth Meyer Zu Heringdorf says:

    How the Jaguar Got His Wings
    by Elizabeth Meyer zu Heringdorf
    118 words
    jaguar, got, wings

    There once was a jaguar
    Who wanted some wings.
    To fly through the air
    And see all kinds of things.
    Then he rescued a fairy
    Stuck fast in a ditch.
    Her wand was beside it,
    All covered with pitch.
    She cleaned herself up
    And granted him flight.
    He flew all around,
    Through the day and the night.
    Then he looked at the fairy.
    “And now that I’m back,
    Your wings look so crunchy,
    You’d make a nice snack.”
    He pounced on the fairy,
    Who swished her wand quick.
    His wings disappeared,
    With the flick of the stick.
    But some pixie dust flew
    In the mouth of the fairy,
    And from that moment on
    She growled and was scary!

  2. Katie McEnaney says:

    How the Owl Lost Her Voice

    B: Katie McEnaney
    116 words
    owl, lost, voice

    Long ago when the world was young, Owl was a chatterbox.
    “Did you hear Deer polishes his antlers?
    And Squirrel dyes her fur?”

    If there were unkind words to be said,
    Owl knew them AND spread them.

    Something had to be done.

    The animals met under the blazing noon sun while Owl slumbered.

    “Owl’s words are hurtful!” piped Plover.
    “Owl’s words are worrisome!” squeaked Squirrel.

    “Owl’s words only have power if we choose to listen,” tutted Tortoise.

    They stopped in their tracks.
    Could they overlook Owl’s offenses?

    When Owl flew overhead, sharing her mean comments, no one responded.

    That is why, today, Owl calls only, “Who? Who?”
    Who will listen to Owl?
    Not you, I hope.

  3. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    How the Owl Lost his Voice
    by Elyse Trevers

    Wilfred the Owl talked a lot.
    He butted in and interrupted.
    He’d even give the punchline before the joke teller got to it.
    He loved gossip and loved to spread it
    which annoyed his friends.

    But one day Maddie was telling Freddie a story when Wilfred arrived late.
    He only heard bits and pieces and it sounded juicy.
    He had no idea who they they were talking about.

    Who is it?
    Who did that!?
    Who said that?
    Who? Who? Who?
    He screamed so loudly that his voice creaked, cracked and finally stopped altogether,
    and all he could say was ‘who.’

  4. kellyclasenwriter says:

    How the Rattlesnake Got Her Voice
    by Kelly Clasen
    102 words
    (rattlesnake, got, voice)

    Once, many moons ago,
    a snake crept silently
    into a sun-drenched clearing
    pulsating with the music
    of a perfect summer day.

    She swayed to the rhythm
    of cottonwoods rustling,
    an arroyo burbling,
    chipmunks chittering,
    and pronghorns stomping.

    And suddenly the snake
    felt weary—so weary—
    of silent slithering.

    She shook with longing
    to join the symphony,
    to make her own music—
    and to her surprise,
    her body answered.

    A rattle, quiet at first,
    bolder by the second,
    hummed from her tail,
    a quick, staccato beat
    bringing the symphony
    to a full crescendo!

    And that is how the rattler
    found her powerful voice.

  5. seahorsecoffeeelektra79018 says:

    I Am Rafi
    by Dianne Borowski

    I am Rafi. I am a red diamondback rattlesnake. I like to swim.I like to curl up in cozy corners to stay warm. I live in a rhumba with other red diamondback rattlesnakes. Sometimes I get angry. Then I will shake my rattle and I will hiss. You must not get too close to me. I bite.
    When I lose my temper I will fight and bite. I hunt for food at night. I am happy when it’s quiet and warm. I help humans because I eat insects and small animals which are harmful to crops. If you ever see me be quiet and move away. You will learn more about me in school. Now I am going to take a nap.

  6. Tomi Rockey Rues says:

    How The Rattlesnake Got His Name
    by Tomi Rues
    122 words
    Rattlesnake, got, name

    Many moons ago
    there was a new mom named Rabiah
    who was worn to a frazzle.

    She tried,
    and tried,
    and tried,
    but couldn’t get her baby
    Raisa to sleep.

    Her baby would not sleep
    for anything.

    Rabiah would sing to her,
    Rabiah would rock her,
    Rabiah would put her on her
    own back and take her on short rides.

    Raisa didn’t like to sleep.

    One night in desperation
    she reached out to her husband, Rahil
    for help.

    He always twitched when he got nervous,
    and he was really nervous.

    The more Raisa cried,
    the more he twitched.
    And, the more he twitched
    the rattling sound comforted her.

    Soon she was sound asleep.

    And from that day forth, Rahil
    was called rattlesnake.

  7. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    By Leslie Degnan
    WC: 97
    (whale, lost, voice)

    Long ago, Whale could talk.
    He talked & talked, spreading untrue tales.

    He defamed the Dolphin, offended the Octopus, libeled the Lamprey.
    One deep, down day, Whale met Squid.

    Hungry Whale pursued Squid,
    Who sprayed toxic ink into the eyes of Whale.

    “Help me Squid. I am blind.”
    “I can help, but you must choose a sense to lose.”

    “To survive I must see and smell and hear.”
    “Then you shall lose your lying voice.”

    Whale never again preyed upon others with his words.
    To this day, you can hear his wordless, mournful song beneath the sea.

  8. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    by B. Holland Paley
    124 words
    snail, found, home


    There once was a sea snail named Gail.
    A kid put her into his pail.
    She tried to fight him; she couldn’t bite him.
    ‘Cause, sea snails are toothless and frail.

    She made friends with the young thief who took her.
    And asked if he, please, wouldn’t cook her.
    She said she was sad, clearly missing her dad,
    Would he please get her home before supper?

    The boy took her back to the ocean,
    And watched as she started to motion.
    Her slime made a trail, to the reef from the pail,
    Gail looked back at the boy, with devotion.

    Mom made algae with seaweed-spaghetti,
    Petit escargot on the jetty,
    Gail, happy at home,
    Swore never to roam,
    They cheered with bright sea glass-confetti!

  9. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    butterfly / found / wings

    Bubbles could not wait to see the world.
    She longed for the day she could leave her chrysalis behind.
    She was ready to find her wings.
    At last, the day arrived. She lay quietly, waiting for her wings to dry.
    Mama said, “Bubbles, watch me. Butterflies can’t flap our wings up
    and down like a bird.”
    Mama demonstrated. She contracted her body to make a slanted figure eight
    pattern with her wings. The motion pushed air under her wings causing her to fly into the
    “Now it’s your turn.”
    Bubbles followed Mama’s instructions.
    Up-up-up she flew gracefully around the garden.

  10. Ryann Jones says:

    How Dung Beetle Lost His Dinner
    By Ryann Jones
    73 words
    dung beetle, lost, dinner

    On top of a tree stump
    All covered in bees
    I lost my poor dungball
    When somebody sneezed.

    It rolled off the tree stump
    And onto the ground
    And then my poor dungball
    Rolled round and around.

    It rolled over ant hills
    And through spider’s silk
    And then my poor dungball
    Was flung into milk!

    The milk can was carried
    Right into the house
    Where I watched my dungball
    Be eaten by Mouse!

  11. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    How Snail Lost His Speed
    Kelly Kates
    WC: 101

    Woosh! Snail raced around the corner, leaving a mucus spray.
    He slid in front of Spider to the front of the lunch line.
    “Snooze, you lose!”

    At recess, he skimmed in front of Ladybug waiting for the swing.
    “Slurp my slime!”, Snail jeered, swinging up high.

    “Out of the way, slowpokes,” Snail squirmed into the bathroom stall, leaving the centipedes crossing their legs.

    Everyone was fuming.

    “I have something that can help,” said salamander.

    The next morning, Snail woke to find he couldn’t move. His slick mucous trail was now sticky . . . like glue!

    From then on, Snail was always the slowest.


    Did you know that giant salamanders secrete a goo that can even be used to seal wounds?

  12. Debbie Merlo Arnn says:

    How the Butterfly Got Its Name
    By Debbie J. Arnn
    butterfly, got, name

    The creature emerges from the cocoon
    New body and new name.
    Here are some facts about butterflies.
    Perhaps they’ll bring trivia fame.

    An easy way to explain their name
    Could be ‘cause lots are yellow
    Butter-colored butterflies—
    Too simple for this fellow.

    In middle-ages, it was thought
    That they steal milk and butter.
    An interesting concept and maybe it’s true
    Such dairy might cause them to flutter.

    Another idea how it got its name
    One says it comes from its frass—
    An official name for butterfly poo.
    Seen any in the grass?
    (it’s yellow)

    Some say the insect’s original name
    Was actually flutterby.
    As cute as that sounds, it’s simply not true.
    Just a cute way to say butterfly.

    Things I learned about butterflies
    From doing a Google search.
    You can learn more about them
    From purchasing my merch.
    (just kidding—I don’t have any.)

  13. Tiffany Hanson says:

    How The Snail Got Her Wings
    By Tiffany Hanson
    82 Words
    Snail, Got, Wings

    Most snails are slow,
    Most snails are sleepy,
    Some snails live underground where it’s creepy.

    But one snail was different.

    She looked to the birds,
    She looked to the sky,
    She looked at their wings and thought, “I’ll give that a try!”

    She made her own wings,
    Out of grass, leaves, and twigs,
    And soared high in the sky looking for new digs.

    Her wings took her high,
    Her wings took her low,
    Her wings took her wherever she wanted to go.

  14. Ellie Langford says:

    The Ugly Caterpillar
    By Ellie Langford
    Butterfly, found, color

    “Yuck! Mom. There’s an ugly blob of bird poop on this leaf.” Amelia loved helping Mom keep the butterfly garden beautiful. “I’ll break the leaf off and put it in the trash.
    “No, wait! I want to look at it,” said Mom.
    “Look at it? … It’s ugly, Mom!”
    Mom walked over to look at what Amelia found. She smiled and gently poked it.
    “Mom, it moved; it’s alive!” exclaimed Amelia. “Be careful. Two scary red horns just came out.”
    “What looks like horns is a body part called osmeterium. It’s a part of the caterpillar’s defense.”
    “Caterpillar? … Really? … Oh, it smells bad,” complained Amelia.
    “That smell’s coming from those “horns”, said Mom. The smell is another way the caterpillar defends itself. The smell discourages wasps, ants and other predators from eating it.”
    “Amelia, do you remember all three amazing ways this caterpillar protects itself?”
    “Yes. It looks like bird poop, has scary red “horns”, and stinks. Besides that, it’s ugly. Do we have to let it stay in our beautiful garden?”
    “This caterpillar will get more colors before it forms a chrysalis. When it comes out of the chrysalis, it will be a lovely giant swallowtail butterfly.”
    “A pretty giant swallowtail! I can hardly believe it,” said Amelia. “The giant swallowtail is the biggest butterfly in North America. It’s over six inches wide. … We can’t let anything hurt this caterpillar!”
    “We’ll do our best,” said Mom. “And so will our “bird poop’ visitor.

  15. seschipper says:

    How the Rhinoceros “Found” His Temper
    By Susan E. Schipper
    WC 137
    Rhinoceros, Found, Temper

    Growl, scream, grunt! Ronnie Rhino would often lose his temper.

    “All I want to do is roll around in the mud,” Ronnie growled as some of his buffalo friends asked Ronnie to play.

    Ronnie Rhino attempted to cross the river trumpeting loudly!
    “Ugh! My feet are stuck in the mud!” groaned Ronnie. This resulted in Ronnie Rhino’s losing his temper once again.

    As he trudged to the opposite side of the river, Ronnie heard a strange sound, HISS, HISS! Cautiously, he looked around. “HISS, HISS, over here,” whispered Randi rattlesnake.

    “Just watch!” Randi began a pattern of Yoga poses, including of course, Snake Pose! Ronnie Rhino was mesmerized. He learned to take breathes. He practiced many other poses too!

    Ronnie, with the help of his new best friend, found patience and a better TEMPER than losing it! Namaste!

  16. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    How the Rhinoceros Got His Temper
    by Elizabeth Thoms Charles
    75 words
    rhinoceros, got, temper

    Rhinoceros ambled through the savanna, nibbling grasses.
    Animals gave Rhinoceros space.
    Birds would land on Rhinoceros. He shook his body and the birds flew away.
    A swarm of mosquitos descended on Rhinoceros.
    He shook. He stomped. He bellowed.
    Mosquitos bit him, everywhere, ears, eyes, nose.
    Rhinoceros called to the little birds, “Please come back.”
    They returned and ate the nasty bugs.
    Comforted, Rhinoceros encouraged the birds
    And stomped angrily for any other creature, especially mosquitos.

  17. Haley Hendrickson says:

    How the Ladybug got its Dots
    By Haley Hendrickson
    117 words
    Ladybug, Got, Pattern

    Lady Bug didn’t always have black dots. In fact, she used to get mistaken for a big bully called Red Lily, who was not at all nice to her fellow garden critters. Lady was tired of her friends running away just because she looked similar to the pesky Red. It was time for a makeover! Green was definitely not her color, and stripes were not flattering at all. Feeling disappointed, and rather lonely, Lady scurried back to her yellow petaled home. As she flew under the freshly painted garden gate, a few drips landed on her back. Lady smiled to herself. The black dots were perfect. And that’s how the ladybug got its dots!

  18. juliehauswirth says:

    How the Ladybug got her Wings
    by Julie Hauswirth
    108 Words
    Ladybug, Got, Wings

    Ladybug was proud of her beautiful shell.
    She loved to circle the puddles in the garden, admiring her ruby red reflection.

    Crow noticed that Ladybug took her time.
    He perched nearby and waited.
    When Ladybug paused to take a drink,
    Crow took his chance.

    He dove and snatched Ladybug,
    but her shell was slick with dew, and Crow lost his grip.
    Ladybug fell on her back with a CRACK.
    Unable to see her bright red shell, Crow flew away with an empty belly.

    For a moment, Ladybug’s heart was broken in two
    just like her beautiful shell.

    Until out from beneath the brokenness
    emerged two delicate, intricate

  19. savoringeverymoment says:

    YIKES–I sped WAY past the word limit!

    How Sloth Lost Her Speed
    by Sara Kruger
    word count: 218

    Did you know that sloths were fast a long, long time ago?
    They hoofed it here and bolted there—the sloth was never slow.
    One sloth was admired for her speed—and much discussed.
    For every creature big and small was covered in her dust!
    Two tree frogs suffered asthma, and each cloud caused quite a fit.
    “We need relief—and fast!” They pleaded: “Please slow down a bit!”
    Sloth was very sorry but declared the ask too great.
    “I take a mid-day nap; so I must rush or I’ll be late!”
    Then a tiny creature she had never seen before
    Demanded her attention while he counted up to four.
    “I hear that you’re unwilling to consider this request.
    For that you will be destined to chase after only rest.
    Find a comfy branch and settle in, for it’s now written:
    All you have to do is eat and sleep and have more kittens.”
    At once Sloth tried to run away but found her paws were fused.
    The monkeys whispered breathlessly. (The tree frogs looked amused.)
    As the creature walked away he called out, “Find a bough!”
    Sloth discovered climbing trees was all she was allowed.
    Today poor sloths still cause discussion but it’s not for speed.
    Everyone is stunned to learn just how much sleep they need!

  20. Linda Schueler says:

    Ladybug finds her temper
    100 words
    Linda Schueler
    ladybug, found, temper

    Once Ladybug was all red.
    Ladybug loved to share, but Ladybug was too nice. Her friends didn’t share back.
    She was sad that her friends didn’t share. Ladybug stopped playing with them.
    Ladybug missed her friends so much she turned all black! She missed her red colour too.
    She flew to her friends and yelled, “I share, but you don’t share with me!”
    “Sorry, Ladybug. You’re right, but you don’t have to yell. Just ask.”
    Ladybug had found her temper, but she didn’t need to use it.
    She turned red again, but with black spots to remind her to ask.

  21. lynjekowsky says:

    By Lyn Jekowsky
    WC: 74
    (snail, found, home)

    There once was a sea snail named Sammy,
    a homeless jiggly stump.
    He tumbled with the tides in ocean shallows
    his exposed skin scraping on barnacles.
    Sammy lived in fear of becoming
    seagull’s tasty treat.

    One day he was dropped in a bucket
    full of shells of all shapes and sizes.
    Sammy found a tiny spiral shell
    with an opening just his size!
    He squeezed inside. Sammy had found a home.
    He called it snail shell.

  22. mariearden says:

    How Crow Lost its Song

    Marie Prins

    crow, lost, song

    Spring was late and food was scarce.
    Crow searched for a bit of corn
    a crust of bread, a forgotten seed.
    Sparrow too was hungry as he had flown
    all night from the south. But more than
    food he longed to find his mate.
    He flew from bush to bush peeking
    under branches, hoping to find her.
    Instead he discovered a cache of pine nuts
    forgotten by the squirrels.
    From high above, Crow spotted it too.
    “It’s mine!” he squawked. “I saw it first!”
    Sparrow nibbled one and asked Crow,
    “What will you trade for a meal?”
    Crow’s stomach ached from emptiness.
    He hopped from foot to foot, bobbed his head,
    and said, “I’ll sell my song for seeds.”
    Sparrow scratched the pine nuts towards Crow.
    Then he quickly added Crow’s trill to his own three notes.
    From that time on, Crow only Caw, Cawed from the treetops
    while Song Sparrow sang a sweet tune for his mate.

    wc – 155

  23. Angel Gantnier says:

    How Snail Got His Temper
    by Angel Gantnier
    88 words
    snail, got, temper

    Snail glided along the ground.
    A few minutes later, he stopped and smelled the roses.
    Snail took a deep breath and smiled.

    Snail was a happy snail.

    The next day, Snail glided along the ground.
    A few minutes later, a shadow loomed over him.
    Snail stopped in his tracks.
    A giant foot!
    A giant almost stepped on me!
    Snail took a deep breath and frowned.

    Snail was not a happy snail.

    Snail is small.
    Snail is slow.
    No one sees Snail.
    And that’s how Snail got his temper.

    • Tiffany Hanson says:

      I the rhythm you establish in this story especially the contrast between Snail was a happy snail and Snail was not a happy snail.

  24. brilawyer says:

    How Rhino Lost His Wings (…And Got His Horns)
    by Bri Lawyer
    rhino, lost, wings

    No matter how hard Rhino flapped his wings, he could not fly.

    “You’re too heavy!” Ostrich said. “How about a trade? Your wings for my horns.”
    Rhino didn’t want to give up his wings, but if he couldn’t use them, he might as well give them to someone not as heavy who could.

    So Rhino and Ostrich traded.

    “Wow! Horns are fantastic! I can dig for water, break off tree branches, and protect myself from enemies with these!” Rhino couldn’t be happier.

    Ostrich couldn’t wait to try out her new wings. She climbed to the top of a large rock formation and jumped. She flapped and flapped…

    And fell.

    “You’re too heavy too. But sorry, no trade backs!” Rhino said enjoying his new horns.

  25. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    How to be a Snail: a Kid’s Perspective
    By Lauren N. Simmons
    171 words

    Hi! My name is Yalitza Gonzalez! I am a snail. I bet you have no idea how speedy I am! We snails always try to hide that from people, so we only go fast and have our races at night, when you sleep. The snail is really a very polite species. Would you like to hear the story of why we go slow during the day?

    Our good friends, the turtles, felt sad that they could not keep up with us. So we had a meeting in our snail community. “We can learn to go their speed,” our leaders said.

    It was not easy for any of us at first. We had to go to school to learn to be slow. We also learned to use our inside voices. Screaming is only to be done inside our shells. Oh, and we mastered the class “How to Control a Slimy Trail.”

    Most turtles sleep at night, so we can go fast then. That is the story of how snails found their speed!

  26. Marta Cutler says:

    How The Rhino Got His Spots
    By Marta Cutler
    Rhinoceros / Got / Pattern

    (118 words)

    Rhino was wandering the jungle when he came across the most beautiful bush he’d ever seen. Each leaf glowed a different color.
    “Yummy!” said Rhino.
    “Ssstay away,” said Cobra.
    “Why?” asked Rhino.
    “Dangerousss,” said Cobra.
    “One teensy bite can’t hurt,” said Rhino.
    “Sssuit yourssself,” said Cobra.
    Rhino took a nibble. The bush tasted like a rainbow. He gobbled it up, roots and all.
    Suddenly, his horn erupted in spots, each one a different color.
    They spread to Rhino’s feet, then his belly.
    Soon, he was covered in colorful polka-dots.
    “Ssssooo pretty,” said Cobra.
    “So awful!” Rhino wailed.
    He ran into the jungle and was never seen again.
    And that is how the rare Rhinoceros Polkadotteros came to be.

  27. Jill Lambert says:

    Jaguar’s Spotty Dotty Pattern
    By Jill Lambert
    jaguar/got/pattern (250 words)

    Jaguar strolled through the lush rainforest. His prey scampered away before he could catch them for breakfast. Amid all that green, his golden coat was too easy to be seen. Jaguar was starving! What to do?
    “I’ll ask wise Capuchin for advice.”

    On the banks of the Great River, Capuchin knelt to wash up for breakfast.
    “Oh,Wise One, please help me,” begged Jaguar.
    “What is it?” Capuchin answered.
    “I no longer blend into the forest and my breakfasts keep getting away.”
    Capuchin screeched, “Your coat needs some camouflage.”
    “Fix it, if you please.”
    “As you wish. Do you prefer, dots or spots?”
    “What’s the difference?”
    “Spots are easier to spot. They are bigger. Dots are smaller.”
    “Well bigger is better, so give me spots!”
    “Very well, Jaguar.”
    Capuchin snatched a large fern frond and shook rain drops all over Jaguar’s back and down his sides.

    Jaguar looked at his reflection in a puddle near the river.
    “Now I’m a mess!”
    “You’ll get used to it.”
    “No, I won’t. I want dots instead!”
    “As you wish.”
    Capuchin brushed away the spots, then dipped it in the river and tapped dots all over Jaguar’s back and sides.
    Jaguar growled, “Dots look ridiculous!”
    Capuchin sighed, “Okay, I’ll give you both.”
    He recited, “Dots and spots, dots and spots,” until Jaguar’s coat was blanketed with them. Jaguar tried to protest, but Capuchin turned and marched off into the rainforest. Ever since he started sporting his spotty dotty pattern, Jaguar has had a full belly.

  28. ptnozell says:

    How Sydney Snail Lost his Home (and Found Freedom)
    by Patricia Nozell
    (100 words)

    Sydney Snail’s shell shimmered like the sea at sunset. Everyone called Sydney one lucky snail. But he wasn’t always so sure.

    On sunny days, Sydney felt like a hot tamale. On rainy days, Sydney felt like a stewed prune. On many days, Sydney was so wound up that he could barely breathe.

    When his Slug cousins glided through crevices and created glistening trails, Sydney longed to join. But his shell got stuck.

    “Shake the shell,” they suggested.

    “Could he? Should he?” Sydney wondered. With a deep breath, he unwound, wiggling free.

    To this day, Sydney feels like one lucky slug.

  29. Colleen Owen Murphy says:


    by Colleen Murphy

    147 words
    rhinoceros, found, temper

    Until that day
    her crash would say
    Roberta stood alone.
    A gentle soul
    more in control
    than any rhino known.

    Not one before
    had heard her roar
    nor seen her charge a foe.
    She’d act with grace
    in Trouble’s face.
    Her choice: forgive-and-go.

    There came a first
    when winds reversed.
    Roberta caught a scent–
    the human kind
    which brought to mind
    a perilous Event.

    The rhinos mourned
    a cow dehorned
    for naught but Status gained.
    The crash’s cost?
    A mother lost.
    Her orphaned calf remained.

    Roberta’s sense
    declared Defense
    and flipped a switch inside.
    “No other man
    will harm our clan.
    Revenge!” Roberta cried.

    With raging speed
    she did the deed
    enduring no contrition.
    When in the Right,
    one has to fight
    in spite of disposition.

    Roberta’s still
    considered chill
    compared to those around.
    But you can bet
    if there’s a threat,
    her temper will be found.

  30. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    By Penny Taub
    It was Snail’s first morning.
    When she saw a tall green spring.
    Snail opened her eyes wide, stretched her long neck, and nibbled.
    It tasted delicious.
    Snail crawled until she saw a big hat.
    She wiggled and jiggled under the hat.
    It was warm and cozy. And dark.
    Soon water dripped down from the hat.
    It became soggy and muddy. And cold.
    Snail wiggled and jigged away from the hat.
    She huffed and puffed, climbing up a large hill.
    At the top, Snail tucked her head inside her shell. Dry and cozy.
    Snail closed her eyes and took a nap.

  31. Sarah Meade says:

    How the Animals Got Their Voices
    By Sarah Meade
    105 words

    All the animals stood silently in line
    waiting, waiting, waiting

    Cat pranced inside.
    Everyone waited, anticipated . . .
    Then . . .
    Cat came out with a perfect purr.
    Purrrrrr, purrrrr, purrrrr.

    Dog danced inside.
    Everyone waited, anticipated . . .
    Then . . .
    Dog came out with a beautiful bark.
    Woof, woofity, woof!

    Bird flew inside.
    Everyone waited, anticipated . . .
    Then . . .
    Bird came out with the sweetest tweet.
    Tweety, tweet-tweet!

    Snake slithered inside.
    Everyone waited, anticipated . . .
    Then . . .
    Snake came out with a whistling hiss.

    Lion prowled inside.
    Everyone waited, anticipated . . .
    Then . . .
    Lion came out with a . . . horrible ROAR!


    But all the animals had fled!

    P.S. Susanna, I’m happy to offer a prize of a first read-through recording submission package where I read aloud and record up to five PB manuscripts for one author (1,000 words or less each, fiction or nonfiction, rhyming or non-rhyming). Thanks for hosting this fun challenge!

  32. stephaniemstories says:

    How The Barn Owl Found His Home
    by Stephanie Maksymiw
    133 words
    owl, found, home

    Owl loved to learn.
    He was one smart bird.
    Too smart.

    He liked to yell out the answer before anyone else could.

    “What’s 2 + 2?”

    “What does blue and yellow make?”

    “Who was the first US President?”

    One day, teacher told Owl he had learned all she could teach him.

    With diploma in hand, Owl flew out of the school and noticed someone needed help.

    “What’s wrong mice?”
    “We have 10 pieces of cheese to split between 20 mice. It can’t be done!”

    “Actually it can!” explained Owl.
    Owl split each piece of cheese in two to make 20 pieces.

    “How did you do that?”
    “Easy, it’s mathematics!”
    “Will you teach us?”
    “Of course!”

    Owl followed the mice back to their barn. And that’s how barn own found his home.

  33. jennaejo says:

    Written By 
    Jenna Elyse Johnson
    99 words
    whale, found, home

    Sitting behind his kennel door,
    watching with hopeful eyes,
    Whale couldn’t wait to meet his new family.
    nobody ever picked Whale.
    “Can you sit?”
    “How about down?”
    Whale blew bubbles in his water.
    Whale knew this one!
    “Yikes! He’s not the pup for us.”
    Family after family, it all went the same.
    Whale just wasn’t like other dogs.
    And he got lonelier and lonelier.
    “Woah, look how big this dog is Papa!”
    Whale did all his usual tricks…
    And this time, it was the perfect fit.
    “Let’s go home, Whale!”

  34. Mary A Zychowicz says:

    How Jaguar Found His Spots
    By Mary Zychowicz
    151 Words

    One day Jaguar noticed his reflection in the water. His spots were gone!
    He was so sad he wandered around aimlessly. He came across a shop that said Opossums. Comfort food! He entered but didn’t see or smell any evidence of an impending feast.
    “May I help you?” asked a woman at a desk.
    I saw your sign outside and came in to order some Opossum.
    “Oh dear,” said the woman. “Can you read this sign?” She held up a paper with some marks on it.
    “Is that the menu?” asked Jaguar.
    “Wait here,” she said. When she returned she said “Try these”, placing a pair of glasses on Jaguar.
    Suddenly everything was clear. That sign didn’t say opossum; it said, optometrist. Then Jaguar saw his reflection in the mirror! His spots were there. They had been all along. He just needed glasses.
    What a relief! Now, to go find some lunch.

  35. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    How Ladybugs Got Their Name
    by Bev Schellenberg

    There once was a farmer who lived in a dell
    She grew rows of wheat and her methods worked well.
    One morning she stepped out to examine her plants
    But all she could find were bugs doing a dance.
    She talked to the neighbours one after another.
    “The bugs will destroy everything,” they moaned to each other.
    So bowing their heads they prayed loud with raised arms
    And begged Virgin Mary to save all their farms.
    The beetles descended from heaven above,
    Their backs with black spots and the colour of love.
    The chomped up the aphids, saving most of the plants
    And after that miracle the farmers all danced.
    “The beetles of our Lady,” they called them that day,
    Which shortened to “ladybugs,” which is what we still say.

  36. Ashley Sierra (@AshleySierra06) says:

    How Owls Got Their Hoo
    by Ashley Sierra
    109 words
    owl, got, voice 


    Mama Owl’s eyes widened.

    “Listen, Daddy Owl! I think the owlets are trying to speak.”

    “I can’t wait to hear their first . . . coooo,” Daddy Owl said. “Coo! Coo! Coo! You can dooo it!”

    “Coo,” said Bella. 

    “Coo,”  said Beau. 

    “Hoo,” said the littlest, Brie.

    “Hoo?” Mama and Daddy asked, confused.

    “Say ‘coo, coo, coo’,” her parents said. “You can dooo it!”

    “Hoo. Hoo. Hoo. Hooooo!” Brie hooted. 

    Mama looked at Daddy. 
    Daddy looked at Brie. 
    Brie smiled confidently.

    “Hoooooo does have a nice sound to it,” Mama said.

    “WHO am I to disagree?” Papa chuckled. 

    “Hoo!” said Brie. 
    “Hoo!” said Bella and Beau.
     “Hooooo!” said Mama and Daddy.

  37. kurtzmom548513 says:

    How Butterflies Got Their Patterns
    By Julie Kurtz
    130 words
    Butterfly got pattern

    There once was a painter who painted gorgeous pictures of lines and shapes in beautiful colors. Everyone in the kingdom raved over his work. The king heard about him and summoned the painter to his castle. He commanded him to paint a picture of the king. The painter tried and tried but could only paint lines and shapes. The king banished him to the wilderness forever. Luckily the painter had smuggled his paints along but no paper. He searched for something to paint on with no luck. Then one morning he woke up and the air was filled with beautiful white winged insects. Would you paint us? So the painter filled their wings with beautiful patterns of lines and shapes and colors. That is how our butterflies came to be!

  38. kurtzmom548513 says:

    Did a second one for this week! Loving this challenge!
    How the Ladybug Got Its Spots
    By Julie Kurtz
    172 Words
    Ladybug got pattern (spots)

    Liza was a red bug who loved her shiny body too much! She admired her reflection everywhere she could and bragged to everyone she saw.
    “Don’t you wish your body was like this instead of such a dull color?”
    All of the other animals got sick of hearing this and avoided her.
    “They are just jealous.” and she wandered deeper into the woods.
    Soon she could not find her way back home and knew no one would be looking for her.
    All of a sudden a huge crow dived straight towards Liza and she felt a huge thump and landed so hard underneath an abandoned old car that she blacked out.
    When she came to, she was splattered with black spots of oil and smelled awful.
    Standing over her was a skunk.
    “What happened to me?”
    “A crow was ready to gobble you up so I body slammed you under the car.”
    “I have nothing to brag about anymore.”
    “Yes, but now attackers will avoid you instead of your friends.”

  39. Ben Jeder says:

    This one was brainstorm fuel, so it got away from me a bit… couldn’t stop writing

    How the Snail Lost its Speed
    By Ben Jeder
    221 words
    Snail, Lost, Speed

    Snail awoke one day feeling strange.
    She felt too fast.
    She preferred to dawdle. Now she dashed.

    Her perfect morning was when breakfast crept into lunch.
    But by noon, she had cleared the dishes and completed her chores.
    An uneasiness rushed through her.

    “I’ve lost my speed,” cried Snail.
    “You seem speedy to me,” assured Cricket.
    “No, my slowness. It’s gone!”

    Snail planned to loaf about after lunch, then meander to the market.
    By mid-afternoon, she had already returned home and restocked the pantry.

    “I’m hours ahead of schedule,” groaned Snail.
    “Someone’s productive,” said Cricket.
    “How can anyone live like this?!”

    By dinner, Snail was exhausted.
    She couldn’t slow down. She zipped, whizzed, and flew.
    She let out a slow sigh that sounded more like a brisk huff.

    Snail missed her unhurried life.
    She loved her thoughtful crawl, appreciating every small moment.
    Zooming about, Snail feared she’d never be capable of embracing the beauty of the world.

    The clock showed it was bedtime. Then an idea dawned on her.
    A quick turn back of the clock’s hands. A swift trip to the kitchen.

    “Good morning, Cricket,” said Snail, holding a plate of pancakes. “Want breakfast?”
    Cricket yawned and peered outside at the starry sky. Then he glanced at the clock that now showed 8 a.m.

    “Isn’t it nighttime?” Cricket asked.

  40. Michelle S Kennedy says:

    By Michelle S. Kennedy

    Sully the snail had not ever been slow.
    He left dust in his trailmarks wherever he’d go!
    ‘Til one day, bewildered, a lightning-bolt SHOCK.
    It took him forever to get past his block…

    No matter how hard that poor Sully then tried,
    he couldn’t go fast…his swift glide lost its stride!
    Even the other snails zipped by him fast.
    And Sully was left all alone as they passed.

    He thought and thought, and he tried every trick.
    But nothing would work; He was no longer quick.
    He gave up the rat-race and sat in his grief,
    but mourning was short—he exhaled in relief.

    He went for a stroll and soon found his new pace,
    enjoying his movement in effortless grace.
    He looked at the world all around him that bloomed—
    spotting the things that he’d missed when he zoomed.

    So, if you see Sully the Snail trailing near
    Stop and revere him and give him a cheer.
    The lesson to learn here that we should all heed:
    There’s beauty in going a slow-moving speed.

  41. Jill Lambert says:

    What a beautiful theme in such a sweet package! Love the name Sully and especially the line: “He gave up the rat-race and sat in his grief.” This is awesome, Michelle!

  42. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Hedgehog Needs A Hobby
    By Krithika Santhanam
    108 Words

    Hedgehog needs a hobby.
    He knows this because Bear, Duck, Turtle, and Alligator all have one.
    Hedgehog doesn’t know much about hobbies . . . except that they take up a lot of Bear, Duck, Turtle, and Alligator’s time
    He decides to go to the store. Because that’s where his mom always goes when she needs something.
    He walks up and down every aisle. He checks every shelf. But he doesn’t see a hobby anywhere.
    So, he decides to ask the store owner for help.
    “Excuse me, Mr. Hemptree . . . can you tell me where I can find a hobby?”
    Mr. Hemptree chuckles, then smiles, and points to the building next door.
    Hedgehog walks out of the store and into the building, where he sees a room with a wall made of mirrors . . .
    and a line of animals moving their feet to the beat.

  43. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Why the Ladybug Kept Her Spots By Elizabeth Muster

    As the sun rose, so did Lady Bug. Like every morning, the first thing Lady Bug did was look into the mirror.

    “Oh, no!” she cried. “Oh, my!”

    “What is all the buzz?” yawned Lord Bug.

    “I have a spot!”

    “A spot?”

    “Yes, look. A spot!” Lady Bug spread out her left wing, showing her husband a black dot at the center of her otherwise solid red wing.

    “I can hardly see it, my dear.” Lord Bug rolled over, hoping for a little more sleep. But it was not meant to be.

    “I cannot have a spot!” cried Lady Bug. “What will the other ladies of Kingdom Animalia say?”

    “The leopards have spots, and I don’t hear them complain,” Lord Bug rationalized.

    “But they’re felines!” exclaimed Lady Bug. “I am an insect. A royal insect from a long line of sacred beetles. Out, out darn spot!” Lady Bug covered the spot with a glob of red makeup.

    “There,” she sighed, drawing close to the mirror for final inspection. “I suppose that will do. I’m headed out to the garden.”

    Lady Bug flittered, fluttered, and flew among the geraniums until she felt a drop of rain. And then another. And another.

    She sputtered through the air, dodging drops until she landed on the red carpet of the castle entrance.

    When a large leather shoe thumped beside her, Lady Bug jumped.

    “Oh, no!” the boy cried. “Oh, my! I almost didn’t see you there. If it weren’t for your black spots, you surely would have blended right in.”

    “Spots!” Lady Bug tittered. “ I only have one.” But sure enough – there was a spot on each wing now.

    The prince lifted Lady Bug in his palm so they were eye to eye. “It would have been very bad luck to squash a ladybug.”

    Lady Bug dipped her antennae in agreement.

    “Your spots saved your life,” said the prince.

    Lady Bug bowed again to the prince and then lit off. Never again would she cover up her spots.

    When Lady Bug’s children were born with spots, she told them this story. And they told their children…and they told their children…until all the ladybugs of the Kingdom Animalia had spots.

  44. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    How the Snail Found Her Speed
    Author/Illustrator: Isabel C Rodriguez
    WC: 100

    The trek before me is very long
    And my glide is very slow
    The foot beneath my spiral home
    Leaves sticky traces where I go.
    I wish to go a lot much faster
    I wish that I could feel the glow
    Beneath my two sensory antennae
    From sweat that my anatomy
    Most certainly will show.
    Shazam! Is that my help for which I plead?
    A new and green and slippery weed!
    I bet if I could climb on it
    I’ll surely get more speed!
    Oh, joy is me!
    I’ll zoom in space
    And might just win
    This year’s Snail Race!

  45. sarapetersohn says:

    How Snail Lost His Speed
    By Sara Petersohn
    239 words
    Snail, lost, speed

    Before Snail had a shell,
    he was fast.
    Faster than coyote, or horse, or cheetah.
    Faster than anyone.

    Snail liked being fast.
    He liked winning races,
    and earning trophies
    and blue ribbons.

    He began to think
    he was extra-important.
    More important
    than anyone.

    One day, the Queen came to town.
    Snail wanted to show her how important he was.
    So he challenged Sloth to a race.
    Sloth, being extra-slow, would make Snail look especially fast.

    Sloth knew he couldn’t win.
    But he was a laid-back guy,
    and a good sport,
    so he agreed.

    When the race began,
    Snail shot ahead of Sloth.
    Then he looked over his shoulder.
    “Slow-poke!” Snail shouted at Sloth.

    Because Snail was looking back,
    he didn’t see the sign ahead that said,
    “Wet Cement – KEEP OFF!”
    And just like that, snail was stuck.

    He pushed and pulled,
    but he couldn’t escape.
    He wiggled and he waggled,
    but he couldn’t break free.

    After a while, Sloth caught up.
    he wrapped his paw around Snail
    and pulled him back to the trail.

    Snail was coated in cement.
    It had grown hard.
    He was spiraled inside.
    Only his head and foot poked out.

    Sloth set off to finish the race.
    But Snail, carrying his new shell,
    could inch along only

    Slower than sloth.
    Slower than anyone.
    Sloth crossed the finish line
    in first place.

    That is how Sloth
    won a race,
    and Snail
    lost his speed.

  46. Elizabeth Volkmann says:

    How Snail Got Its Home
    Beth Volkmann
    113 words
    snail, got home

    Long ago when slugs slid contentedly within the shady confines of forests, a more-than-curious young slug slipped beyond the borders of ferns and pines. Under the light of the sun and the glow of the moon, the young slug collected shiny stones and pearly pebbles, placing each one carefully upon her back. When tired from her travels and far from home, the slug rested. Years passed and all the while the stones and pebbles shifted. They shaped themselves into the swirl of a shell and transformed the sleeping slug into a splendid snail. With a home-away-from-home upon her back, the snail set sail to discover the big wide world we all call home.

    (This was tough for my nonfiction-self to ‘allow’.
    Slugs actually evolved from snails – not the other way around!
    But I’m letting it s-l-i-d-e in the spirit of the fun of the contest!!) 🙂

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