Thanks to #SusanLeonardHill and her picture book pushing promotions, I have another story to share. I also have to thank two more writer friendly avenues. Tara Lazar’s #Storystorm in January is where I came up with the idea. Picture book writing enthusiasts are encouraged to come up with a creative storm of ideas for 30 new picture book ideas to work on for the next year. Then I entered my first year of #12X12PB with Julie Hedlund to write 12 picture books in 12 months! Currently, I am on track with two, to add to my existing ten favorite picture book manuscripts that I should really send out.
I decided to continue some of the characters in my already existing manuscripts. Although, I had to cut a couple characters so I could fit the word count. My previously written Christmas story is The Holiday Hedgehog. I used the same cute animal characters from this story to write a Valentine story using the contest guidelines to share a character being brave and under 214 words.
Actually, when I first read the rules, I thought it had to be 214 words. Do you get it? 2 = February and the 14th day. I thought this was so fun, I wrote my story and pared down to the exact word count. My first draft had 411 words. Then my second draft was 320 words. My third draft was 220 words getting so close! Finally, I played with words and thoughts until I reached 214 words exactly!
Miss Hedgehog’s Valentine Mission
By Amy LaMae Brewer
“It’s Valentine’s Day, hooray!” shouted Miss Hedgehog.
“Hmpphhhh…,” grumped Badger, “Why bother? What’s so great about love?”
“It shares happiness and…”
“Don’t need it,” interrupted Badger turning back into his burrow.
“Oh dear,” whispered Miss Hedgehog, “This will be a challenge.”
She took out her box of last spring’s pressed flowers to make valentines. After hanging them up to dry she made a batch of lemon cookies. Then she went to look for friends to help.
“Hello, Little Mouse, do you have an idea to cheer Badger? He’s always so grumpy
after his winter slumber.”
Then she went to see the Otter Family.
“Hello Miss Hedgehog, what can we do for you?”
“We need to cheer up Badger.”
“No way,” said the biggest brother, “He’s mean!”
“Yeah,” said the middle brother, “He has long claws!”
They all met at Badger’s steps.
“Who will knock?”
“I will,” the littlest brother said being brave. He went down the steps. They all waited.
“I don’t need a valentine,” said Badger peeking out. Little otter stretched out his hand.
Badger sighed and took it.
“Valentines are for happiness and… friendships!” said Miss Hedgehog.
“Everyone needs a friend,” said the littlest otter.
Badger began to grin from his big slumber.
“Happy Valentine’s Day!” They cheered.
I absolutely love hedgehogs! This way cute but not cuddly little critter is what I wanted to have for a classroom pet when I first became a teacher. Although, teaching in Hawaii, they have very strict animal laws. No hedgehogs allowed. But, when I found time to write, I was never discouraged from writing about how cute and kind I thought they were. Recently, I’ve been seeing hedgehogs everywhere and I am hoping the time is right for my stories to find their way to publication.