February 14, 2012

Happy Valentines Day! - The Contest Finalists!

So I had this brilliant idea.

Have a Valentines Contest, I thought to myself.  It'll be fun.  People are pretty busy with all their various pursuits.  You'll probably only get about 3 entries - if you're lucky to get that many - so say you'll pick 3 finalists and you're golden!

(Note to self - have you noticed that your brilliant ideas don't always work out as planned?)



My plan seems to have gone awry.

Did I mention there were 30 entries???  That's THIRTY!

And they were SO GOOD!

So I have done the best I can.  I have narrowed it to 6.  And a couple honorable mentions.  And a separate division for under 10.  And now it's up to you, my dear readers, to read the 6 finalists and vote for your favorite by noon on Thursday.  We will see who comes out on top!

But before I unveil the top 6, I just want to say that I'm thrilled we got so many entries, and I was so impressed by the quality of everyone's stories and poems!  What a talented bunch you all are!  I had so much fun hopping from blog to blog and reading your wonderful work!  It was dreadful having to pluck you off, one by one!  I had to get very nit-picky and really focus on the contest guidelines - appropriateness/appeal for children being the deciding factor in several cases of brilliant writing that didn't make the final cut.  So you all deserve a huge pat on the back and many boxes of Valentine chocolates :)  Give yourselves a round of applause!

Now.  Here are our finalists, posted by entry only, no names.  Please have a look and then vote for your favorite!

#1 Love Has No Point

Bill P. Porcupine had a  love. Not just any love, mind you, it was the greatest love of all, but it was also a secret love.
“Oh, how I love her!” Bill sighed to himself.
Every day when Bill walked home from school he stopped by the gift shop where she worked. He tried to impress her by making his quills stand on end so he would look bigger, but she never noticed him. He’d then go home and cry.
“Boo hoo,” Bill sobbed.
“What’s the matter Bill?” asked his Mom.
“I’m in love mom, but she doesn’t know I exist,” said Bill.
“There, there,  it’ll be OK,” his mom said gently.
“She is so beautifully round. Her skin is smooth and rosy. When she moves, she floats like her feet never touch the ground,” Bill whimpered.
“I think you should just tell her,” Bill’s mom suggested.
The next day, Bill marched to the gift shop with one thing on his mind. He shoved the shop door open, walked straight up to her, threw his arms open to hug her and said, “I love…”
She was gone, except for the bits of pink rubber stuck to Bill.

#2  Oops! Excuse Me!

On her way to school, Porcupine was certain nobody would be her Valentine.  She waddled along, head down, when -- oomph!


“Oops, excuse me,” said Porcupine. “Ugh!  What smells?”

“Me. Sorry. Happens when I'm startled.”

“Oh no!  You’re that stinky skunk!  Now you’ve made me stinky.”

“You’re that prickly porcupine!  You gave me an owie.”

Porcupine sighed. “Who would ever be our Valentines?”

As they dillydallied toward school, Skunk stopped to sniff flowers.  Porcupine stuck a puffy one on a quill behind her ear. 

They exchanged looks. 

Porcupine grabbed one for each quill.  Skunk scooted around on them, scenting his bottom. 

Porcupine giggled. “You look funny!”

“So do you.”  They both collapsed in laughter.

 “ACHOO!” said Porcupine.  Quills popped out.  “ACHOO!” said Skunk.  Stink squirted. 

They exchanged glances, and then, started shoving flowers into their noses. 


“No more,” said Skunk, exhausted.

“Enough! “ agreed Porcupine.  “You know, I like you just the way you are.”

Skunk said, “Same here.  Will you be my valentine?”

“Will you be mine?” asked Porcupine.

The new friends scampered off to school.

Of course, it wasn’t perfect.

“Oops, excuse me!”  Giggle.

“Oops, excuse me!”  Giggle, giggle.

But it was close.

#3  Scully And Penny: Love Stinks!

“I’ll never find love,” worried Scully the Skunk.
He was a looker–but this skunk-hunk stunk!
Yet he was determined, that whiff-and-sniff guy
“I might as well ask the next girl who comes by…..”
So when Polly the Poodle wagged by looking fine,
He forced back some fumes and asked, “Will you be mine?!!”
“Oh Scully, my nose…it is sharp as a nail!
It just wouldn’t work with your stinky-stink tail.”
“You’re probably right” – Scully Skunk gave her that.
And as soon as he spoke, he spotted a cat.
It was Kitty LaPretty; she stretched out her spine.
He squeezed back some stench and asked, “Will you be mine?”
“Oh Scully, my nose…it is keen as my ears,
“I just couldn’t stand smelling skunk-funk for years.”
“You’re probably right” – not the first time he’d heard,
Then all of a sudden, down fluttered a bird.
It was Penny the Parrot, bird-beauty divine,
He sucked in his stink and asked, “Will you be mine?”
“Well, of course, handsome Scully—been hoping you’d ask.”
“I’ve searched for so long – finding love’s a real task.
“And please don’t you worry, this will work out well…
My peepers see more than my sniffer can smell.”

#4 Underwater Bliss

A shark saw his mark when he spied a wee fish,
‘I’ll have her for my dinner. She’ll make a tasty dish.’
But as the shark gave chase, the stronger his emotion
Changed from one of hunger, to love and pure devotion.
‘Look at how she swims. She darts with style and grace.’
Each swish of her tail, made his ol’ heart race.
‘Your eyes are round and beautiful, your scales are just divine.
I promise not to eat you, if you promise to be mine.’
The fish, who’d tired of swimming, succumbed to his charm.
And as the shark promised, she never came to harm.
But she’s ever so careful when she gives her love a kiss,
Lest those razor sharp teeth of his accidentally miss.

#5  Frankenstein Valentine

Won’t you be my Valentine?
And say, “I love you, Frankenstein?”
Love my ragged, jagged hair?
Love my bloodshot, frightening stare?

Won’t you be my Valentine?
And say, “I love you, Frankenstein?”
Love my grisly, garish grin?
Love my lumpy, warty skin?

Won’t you be my Valentine?
And say, “I love you, Frankenstein?”
Love my stitched-up, crooked scar?
Love my brain from Victor’s jar?

Won’t you be my Valentine?
And say, “I love you, Frankenstein?”
Love my garbled, boorish talk?
Love my lumbering, stilted walk?

Yes, it’s your chance, my Valentine
to be my Mrs. Frankenstein.

You say that you will NOT be my mine?
Will NOT love this Frankenstein?
Then…just forget this love-fest scene
I’m heading back to Halloween!

#6  Whom Do I Love?

Whom do I love?
Quizzed the cloud-covered moon.
I love the dish that ran off with the spoon.

Whom do I love?
Posed the run-away dish.
I love the silvery stream-swimming fish.

Whom do I love?
Slurped the shimmering trout.
I love the rock-hopping toad that jumped out.

Whom do I love?
Croaked the hip-hopping toad.
I love the waddling duck on the road.

Whom do I love?
Quacked the web-footed duck.
I love the pig on the rusty farm truck.

Whom do I love?
Oinked the curly-tailed pig.
I love the floppy-eared dog that can dig.

Whom do I love?
Barked the diggity-dog.
I love the bee in the hollowed-out log.

Whom do I love?
Buzzed the bumblely-bee.
I love the mouse that lives under the tree.

Whom do I love?
Squeaked the scurrying mouse.
I love the curly-haired boy in that house.

Whom do I love?
Asked the sweet little lad.
I love my momma and I love my dad.

The poll is below.  Please vote for your choice of winner!

The poll closes at noon EST on Thursday February 16 so I can announce the winner Friday!

I'd also like to give Honorable Mention to Heather for Daisy Loves Fred, and Eric for Puffy Pancho and Pretty Paulita: The Perfect Penguin Pair.

And a tie in the (hastily added) junior division (under 10 years old) between Isabella for Puppy & Kitten Love and Gabby for How Miss Mouse Became A Door Mouse will result in a prize each which I have yet to determine :)

Congratulations to everyone for excellent entries!  Now go ahead and vote!  We will all be waiting anxiously for your choice of winner!  Thank you all for sharing your wonderful writing!


  1. Excellent choices, Susanna! You done good - I thought all of these were so charming! Wish I could vote more than once, but I've made my choice. Congrats to ALL the finalists, especially to the under 10s who did such a wonderful job. :)

  2. Thanks, Renee! It was VERY hard. And I would have liked for everyone to win - there were so many amazing entries! I'm going to be very interested to see who the readers choose as winner!

  3. Wow Susanna! You had a TOUGH job! I was honestly blown away by the level of talent in this group. So many very clever entries! Congrats to all who entered... :)

  4. I know! It was a VERY HARD choice! There were 2 in particular that I agonized over because they were so well written, but in the end I felt they weren't quite child-like enough... but I hate cutting anyone out of the finals, especially if they wrote really well!!!

  5. Great group of finalists! Thanks again for hosting the challenge. It was a lot of fun!

  6. Thanks so much for entering, Eric! I really enjoyed your story!

  7. Some great entries! I picked my winner. Congrats to all!

  8. I don't know how you chose!!!!! I was blown away as I read the entries. I checked your blog several times each day for new entries and then rushed over to read them...each time I was amazed at the creativity. Once again, your contest has added an extra flare to a holiday. Thanks for hosting :•)

  9. How cool is it that other kids entered?!? These were all really fun to read! I'm SO happy you liked mine! I voted for my favorite! :)

  10. I think you're competitions are become renowned, Susanna. You do a great job. While I was as always VERY impressed with the entries, I really did have a favorite that ended up as one of your six!

    Well done everyone, especially to Isabella, Gabby and Erik... for their formidable talent!

  11. Thanks for entering! :) I know, the quality is amazing, and the choice is tough!!! I felt bad for one person who I realized last night had never linked her entry - I read it, but I don't think too many others did :(

  12. Choosing finalists is my least favorite part of the process! I love reading everyone's terrific entries, but I hate having to select people out! I have a favorite, but I'm not voting :) And yes, I agree, those youngsters are giving the grown-ups a run for our money :)

  13. I can't believe you didn't vote for yourself! What a fair player :) I loved your entry - very original!!!

  14. I love the finalists! You had a difficult job. I still have a few to read from the list. I had to stay up making Valentine's Cupcakes, instead of reading Valentine's stories.

  15. Voted! Thanks so much for this awesome contest Susanna they were so fun to read and some of the best rhyme I've ever read. Still got more to read too.

  16. Susanna, I think you have the beginning of a lovely holiday anthology with all these terrific contest entries! I'm happy that I was able to vote for one of my most favorite entries. Happy Valentine's Day!

  17. Thanks for entering, Catherine! I felt bad because I didn't realize until last night that your entry never made the link list! :( A few people have said they're still reading entries, so I'm going to go back and see if I can add it!!!

  18. You picked a few of my favorites as finalists, it was so hard to choose just one! I did and reading all of the entries was such fun yesterday. Thank you for the honorable mention, it was a wonderful treat this morning.

  19. Ack! I tried to add a photo to the left of my name and ended up sticking it under the comment. Foiled by technology once again.

  20. It was well deserved! I really liked your entry. I could just see how bored that poor dog was with the cat's choice of activity! Thanks so much for your entry and for voting - it was a tough choice!

  21. See now, I wouldn't even know how to try to do that :)

    Heather Newman wrote, in response to Heather Newman:

    Ack! I tried to add a photo to the left of my name and ended up sticking it under the comment. Foiled by technology once again.

    Link to comment

  22. I know - I was thinking that! We could compile a publication of all these awesome entries in all the contests, and everyone could give copies to their friends and relations :)

  23. Oooh! I totally want a cupcake! That's a healthy breakfast, right? :)

  24. What fun. These are all wonderful tales of unlikely love. It was hard to choose one. Happy Valentine's Day to all.

  25. Congrats and good luck to all the finalist. Thanks for the fun contest Susanna.

  26. I didn't envy your job of choosing. So many fun entries! You did a great job picking for the final round. I've voted and now can't wait to see the results.

  27. What a good idea giving us a poll to help you with choosing the winners. There were so many good ones weren't there? I am proud to be part of this group. :)

  28. Thanks so much for joining in, Jennifer!!!

  29. Susanna, I thought all the entries were so amazing. I was wowed by all of them, especially the kids' ones. I'm so glad I got to be a part of this. Thank you for hosting such a fun event.

    I honestly thought when I posted my story that I was publicly humiliating myself (as you said in your last post), but everyone has been so nice and supportive -- I don't think I would've known if I humiliated myself or not. :-)

  30. Thanks for voting! And for the record, I loved your entry - it was very clever and well written!

  31. Congrads to Heather, Eric, Isabella, Gabby, and all of the contestants. I just ran out of time. I was almost finished with mine. *sob*

    I voted! Susanna, you rock. <3

  32. Susanna,
    1. So sorry...I've been writing "Susannah" not "Susanna"!
    2. So happy...the contest was such fun...the writing of it...and the reading of all of the talented entries!
    3. So elated...I got up this Valentine's Day morning to read to comments on my post from people saying, "Congratulations"...and I wondered what that was all about...I'm thrilled that you chose my little poem as a finalist. :)
    4. So grateful...that your PPBF has connected me with this amazing community of dedicated writers and all-around lovely people!
    5. So conflicted...which entry to vote for, now that is the question...five to chose them all...will think about it at work and vote tonight!
    So...thank you, Susanna. :)

  33. It's my sneaky way of making you guys decide :) And you should be proud!! You wrote a great entry and were right in there with the contenders!

  34. I told you everyone was nice! :) And I thought your entry was terrific - funny, unlikely, and very child-oriented! Great job!

  35. 1. No problem - everyone gets it wrong :)
    2. Glad you had fun!
    3. You deserve it - I really like your entry and can picture it as a picture book!
    4. Glad you're meeting all these great people - they're the best!
    5. You know, you're allowed to vote for yourself - it's perfect;y acceptable and no one will know :)
    You're welcome! :)

  36. Oh, so sad! I was surprised not to get one from you! But no worries - we'll have other contests! The next one will probably be April and have something to do with birthdays in case you want to get started now :)

  37. Congratulations to all of the finalists! Such a clever bunch. I can't rhyme to save my life, so I am majorly impressed with the quality of rhyme around these parts. Great job, everyone, and thanks again to Susanna for hosting!

  38. Oh don't worry, a lot seemed to find me anyway :)

  39. Well, it wouldn't be a contest without all these awesome entries, so thanks to all of you for putting your work out there so bravely!!!

  40. Thank goodness! But I did add you on this morning just in case there were any latecomers :)

    Catherine Johnson (unregistered) wrote, in response to Susanna Leonard Hill:

    Oh don't worry, a lot seemed to find me anyway :)

    Link to comment

  41. All of these were such fun & lovely reads to warm up a snowy Valentine's Day! Thanks for coordinating this, Susanna!

  42. So much fun! Thanks Susanna.
    Happy Valentine's day :)

  43. Glad you enjoyed it! Have a happy Valentines Day, too, filled with chocolate :)

  44. Susanna, what great entries! I read most of the ones that were up by Sunday evening and was 1) impressed by the entries (they were all so much better than what I was working through) and 2) not envious of your job in reading and picking the top entries. Choosing my fave was not easy, but alas, I did vote.

  45. Thanks for entering, reading, and voting, Tracy! It is always a tough choice - that's the part I don't like! I love reading all the entries - everyone is so talented and creative!

  46. Great entires -- it was hard to select! That's so cool 30 people responded. Read and commented on most. Even though I didn't enter, I hope it was okay to vote.

  47. Of COURSE it is OK to vote!!! We depend on all the readers to vote! Reading is just as important as writing (otherwise who would we be writing for :)) Thanks, Pat!

  48. So I voted and just can't help realizing how difficult this process was for you. These 6 were fantastic with plot and rhyme and selecting just one was a hard time. But I did it. Yay!!

  49. Wow that was hard to choose. They're all so good. :D

    Congrats to all who entered and to the top six!

  50. It must have been hair-pulling difficult to figure out which to choose. They are all very creative. Porcupines and skunks seem to be popular animal choices.
    Congrats to everyone who entered. Good Luck!

  51. Thanks!
    Well, I actually thought that the one I voted for WAS better than mine! :)

  52. You all did such a wonderful job!

  53. It was a tough call - and I have an easier time finding reasons to keep things in the running than take them out! If only everyone could win :)

  54. It was so hard! It gives me a little appreciation for editors!

  55. These were cute! What fun!

  56. I actually think #3 and #5 are tied. Don't know which way to vote.

  57. You host the best contests, Susanna! Loved reading the entries and being able to vote in this one. Congrats to all the finalists...and to everyone who put the time, effort, and bravery into entering!

  58. I'm so glad you think so, Kerry thank you! And I applaud all the entrants - it's hard to put your work out there!!!

  59. Wow that was tough! There were two I particularly liked & found it hard to separate them, but eventually I chose a favorite. :-)

  60. I don't envy you for having to pick a winner, as they were all very good! I ended up choosing the one that struck my funnybone! Best of luck to the finalists!

  61. I know - there are so many good ones, and the voting is tight!

  62. As judge in charge, I have enough trouble narrowing it down to 3 (as you can tell by the fact that I always seem to end up with 6!) so thank goodness I don't have to vote at this stage! :)

  63. This was fun and such stiff competition. Like Margaret said.... I wasn't sure if I was humiliating myself but everyone was very kind in their comments. Thanks for allowing me to enter Susanna. Congrats to all the winners announced so far.

  64. Thanks for entering! It wouldn't be much fun without all you brave souls putting your magnificent work out there for all of us to enjoy!


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